By Glen Weyl
Original title: decentralized Society: finding web3' s soul
Compiled by: south wind, unitimes
Glen Weyl is a researcher at Microsoft's CTO office and co-author of radical markets. This article is adapted from "decentralized Society: finding the soul of Web3", which is a paper jointly written by Glen Weyl, puja Ahluwalia ohlhaver, strategist of flashbots, and vitalik buterin, co-founder of Ethereum.
Web3 shocked the world by creating a parallel financial system with unprecedented flexibility and creativity in less than a decade. Cryptography and economic primitives, i.e. building blocks, such as public key cryptography, smart contract, proof of workload (POW) and proof of equity (POS), have formed a complex and open financial transaction ecosystem.
However, the economic value that financial transactions rely on is generated by people and their relationships. Because Web3 lacks the primitive to express this social identity, Web3 has fundamentally relied on the very centralized web2 structure it wants to surpass, so it replicates the limitations of web2.
For example, the lack of Web3's native identity and reputation forces NFT artists to often rely on centralized platforms, such as opensea and twitter, to promise scarcity and initial sources, and prevent the form of incomplete mortgage loans. Daos (distributed autonomous organizations) that try to go beyond simple token voting usually rely on web2 infrastructure (such as social media accounts) to resist witch attacks (i.e. one or more entities pretend to be many entities). Many Web3 participants rely on hosted wallets managed by centralized institutions such as coinbase. Decentralized key management systems are not friendly to any user except the most sophisticated.
In our paper, we will show that even small and gradual steps using Web3 primitives to represent social identity can solve these problems and bring the ecosystem closer to the regenerative market and its interpersonal relationship foundation in the native Web3 environment.
More hopefully, we emphasize that Web3's original social identity with rich social composability can make great progress on broader long-term issues such as wealth concentration and governance vulnerability to financial attacks in Web3, and stimulate the Cambrian explosion of innovative political, economic and social applications. We call these use cases and the richer multi ecosystem they support "decentralized society" (desoc).
Our key primitive is the account (wallet), which holds a publicly visible, non transferable (but possibly revoked by the issuer) token. We chose this set of attributes not because they are obviously the most ideal feature set, but because they are easy to implement in the current environment and allow important functions to be implemented.
We call this account "soul" and the token held by the account "soul bound token" (SBT). We are willing to use token as a subset of the proof of privacy, which is very limited in terms of technology. Programmable privacy STB is the next step we will discuss below.
Imagine a world where most participants have "souls" (i.e. accounts), which store SBTS (soul bound tokens) corresponding to a series of affiliations, memberships and certificates. For example, a person's "soul" (account) may store SBT (soul bound token) representing the hash value of education certificate, the company he has worked for, and the works of art or books he has written. The simplest form of these SBTS is the ability to "self certify", just as we share our information in our resumes. But when the SBT held by one "soul" (account) can be issued by other "souls", the real power of this mechanism appears. These other "souls" are the opponents of these relationships. The "soul" of these opponents may be individuals, companies or institutions.
For example, a university can be a "soul" and issue SBT to graduates. A stadium can also be a "soul" that distributes SBT to baseball die hard fans of the Dodgers.
Please note that "soul" does not need to be associated with a legal name, nor does it require any protocol level attempt to ensure that "everyone has a soul". A "soul" can be a persistent pseudonym that holds SBTS that cannot be easily associated. Nor do we assume that the "soul" is not transferable between humans. Instead, we try to illustrate how these attributes can naturally appear from the design itself where needed.
Perhaps the greatest financial value directly based on reputation is credit and unsecured loans.
At present, the Web3 ecosystem cannot even replicate the original form of unsecured loans, because all assets are transferable and marketable - so they are only in the form of collateral. Traditional financial ecosystems support many forms of unsecured loans, but these loans are usually regulated by centralized credit scoring mechanisms - on the grounds that less reputable borrowers have little incentive to share information about their credibility.
But such a credit score has many defects. At best, they increase and decrease credibility related factors transparently and bias those who do not accumulate enough data, mainly ethnic minorities and the poor. In the worst case, they may give birth to a "black mirror" opaque "social credit" system, which will contribute to social results and exacerbate discrimination.
SBT (soul binding token) ecosystem can open an anti censorship, bottom-up alternative to top-down business and "social" credit system. SBT, which represents education certificates, previous work experience and lease contracts, can be used as a long-term record related to credit, enabling the "soul" (account) to obtain loans through meaningful reputation, thus avoiding collateral requirements. Loans and lines of credit can be represented as non transferable but revocable SBT, so that loan lines can be embedded in the SBT of a "soul" (account) - as a (non forfeitable) reputation collateral - until they are repaid and then destroyed (or, better, replaced by "repayment certificate" to increase the credit history of "soul"). Like a note on a credit record.
SBT provides useful security attributes: the attribute of non transferability prevents the transfer or hiding of outstanding loans, and SBT's rich ecosystem ensures that borrowers trying to avoid loans (possibly by creating a new "soul") will not have SBT to meaningfully mortgage their reputation.
The convenience of using SBT to calculate public debt will lead to an open-source lending market. A new correlation between SBT and repayment risk will emerge, resulting in better lending algorithms to predict credit reliability, thereby reducing the role of centralized and opaque credit scoring infrastructure. Even better, lending may occur in social relations, creating new forms of community lending.
In particular, SBT can provide the basis for a "group lending" approach similar to that pioneered by Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank, in which members of a social network agree to support each other's debt. Because a "soul" SBT represents the membership of a social group, participants can easily find other "souls", which may be valuable co participants in group lending projects. Commercial loan is a repayment mode of "borrowing and forgetting", while community loan may adopt the way of "borrowing and helping", combining working capital and human capital to obtain a higher rate of return.
The non transferability of SBT - such as a one-time Education Certificate - raises an important question: how can you not lose your "soul"? Today's recovery methods, such as multi signature recovery or mnemonics, have different tradeoffs in terms of psychological load, convenience and security. Social recovery is a new choice, which depends on a person's trust relationship. SBT allows a similar but broader paradigm: community recovery, in which the "soul" is the cross voting of its social networks.
Social recovery is a good starting point to ensure security, but there are some defects in security and availability. Users manage a group of "guardians" and give them the power (based on an absolute majority) to change the wallet key. These guardians can be a mix of individuals, institutions or other wallets. The problem is that users must strike a balance between wanting to have a considerable number of guardians and preventing guardians from coming from scattered social circles to avoid collusion. In addition, guardians may die, relationships deteriorate or people simply lose contact, which requires frequent and laborious renewal of guardians. Although social recovery avoids a single point of failure, successful social recovery depends on planning and maintaining a trust relationship with most guardians.
A more powerful solution is to link the recovery of the "soul" (account) with the membership of its community. Instead of planning a guardian, it uses the widest possible real-time relationship to achieve security. Recall that SBTS represent membership in different communities, some of which - such as employers, clubs, universities, or churches - may be essentially more off chain communities, while others - such as participation in agreement governance or Dao - may be more on chain communities. In the community restoration model, restoring the private key of a "soul" requires the consent of most (random subset) members of the community in which the "soul" resides. Like social recovery, we assume that individuals can obtain secure and broader offline communication channels than the blockchain itself, where they can "authenticate" (through dialogue and secret sharing). We can usually regard this relationship tokenized by SBT as a way to obtain these communication channels.
Source: decentralized Society: finding the soul of web 3, by Glen Weyl, puja Ahluwalia ohlhaver and vitalik buterin.
Maintaining and restoring the password ownership of "soul" (account) requires the consent of the community network where the soul resides. By embedding security in social networking, community recovery can prevent "souls" from being stolen (or sold). A "soul" can always regenerate its secret key through community recovery. Therefore, any attempt to sell "soul" will lack credibility, because the seller also needs to prove that he has sold a relationship that can be used for recovery.
When most of the data is not social (for example, it is not necessarily valuable among groups), or only when it is more valuable among individuals. However, advocates of "autonomous identity" tend to treat data as private property: the data about this interaction is mine, so I should be able to choose when to disclose it to whom. But in terms of simple private property, people have little understanding of the data economy. Even in simple two-way relationships, such as extramarital affairs, the right to disclose information is usually symmetrical and usually requires the permission and consent of both parties. The scandal at Cambridge analytics is mainly about the company divulging their social graph attributes and information about their friends without people's consent.
Rather than treating privacy as a transferable property right, a more promising approach is to treat privacy as a set of programmable, loosely coupled rights that allow access to, change or profit from information. Each SBT - whether it represents a subordination, a membership, a certificate, or access to a device - also has an implicit programmable property right that defines access to the underlying information that constitutes the SBT: including holders, agreements between them, shared property or assets, obligations to third parties, and so on. Some SBT publishers and communities will choose to make the SBT fully public, just like the SBT that displays information in a public resume. In the atomic sense of verifiable credentials, some SBTS will be private. Most SBTS will be somewhere in between, disclosing some information, maintaining the privacy of some information, and sharing some information to designated subsets.
SBT makes privacy a programmable and composable property right that can be mapped to a complex set of expectations and protocols we have today. Even better, SBT also helps us imagine new configurations, because there are countless ways to combine privacy (as a property right to information access) into a subtle group of access rights.
For example, SBT allows holders to use specific privacy protection technologies to run computing on data stores that may be owned and managed by a group of "souls". Some SBTS may even grant access to data in a way that can be calculated across data stores, but the content can only be verified by the permissions of third parties. This may be useful for SBT that instantiates and represents the "continuous voting" mechanism. In this mechanism, the voting mechanism needs to count the votes from each "soul", but the votes should not be traceable to anyone to prevent bribery.
SBT can manage a healthier form of "attention economy" so that "soul" can filter spam from outside its social map and improve communication from real communities. This will be a huge improvement to today's communication platform, which lacks user control or governance, and auctions users' attention to the highest advertising bidder, or even a robot. Listeners can know more clearly who they are listening to, and they can better honor works that inspire insight.
Such an economic model can optimize positive and collaborative and valuable contributions.
Einstein said at the disarmament conference in 1932 that "human organizational ability" failed to keep pace with "technological progress", which "put the razor in the hands of a three-year-old child". In a world where his observation seems more prescient than ever before, learning how to plan a future based on trust (rather than replacing trust) seems to be a required course for human survival on this planet.