We have created a Basic Income cryptocurrency that works

Fabiana Cecin
Apr 26 · 5 min read

Now I’m wondering what’s next.

The Olive currency (website) is already ticking and generating itself into user’s hands.

Olive works like Acorn, but it requires users to identify themselves: publish their name and a photo (selfie). That means that, on average, it pays one unit of itself every day to a person that exists. So, in general, you will not be able to register two accounts and get two basic income streams. And that means the currency is valuable.

Olive is a real crypto-currency that can capture significant trade value.

Olive has four users right now. That’s not much, but it’s sufficient for it to help me see its future. I can see pieces of how it works and why it works. I expect it to mature for about a year, when I will set the smart contract to “immutable” and it will be declared a “real cryptocurrency” (i.e. you can trade it for real).

There are some key avenues of development in Olive that are apparent:

  • User onboarding: there are many ways to implement user registration services. They can use KYC or not, or they can be crowdsourced or not;
  • Identify bad actors: there must be entities that monitor the network for bad accounts and that flags those accounts;
  • Remove bad actors: there can be other entities that receive funding from users, and those entities use those funds to vote down, i.e. reduce the reputation score of bad accounts so they can’t endorse/register other accounts or even claim their UBIs;
  • Insure good actors: there can be entities that offer insurance to users against down-voting. Perhaps you can pay 1% of your Crypto-UBI to an insurance fund that will make sure your score stays above 10, so you don’t have to worry about it.

There are many more things that can be done in education/training, user interfaces and mobile apps, trading, funding of UBI pilots, trading/fiat and all other things that any cryptocurency needs. But the list above is of unique core concerns for Olive. The infrastructure directly above the core smart contract, which by itself is a very primitive system, in the computing sense.

The smart contract is the “core” of the system. If that “consensus” core makes sense and is sufficient to allow the implementation of everything else that Olive needs as clients of that core in a second layer, then we’re in very good territory. We will know in about a year whether this core was sufficient, or at least whether any extensions it needed were applied and proved sufficient.

The infrastructure, second-layer services are strongly related. To offer insurance, you need to identify (i.e. onboard) the users you’re insuring, otherwise you could be insuring bad actors against the very measures that were designed to purge those bad actors. The identification of bad actors is related to user onboarding: the users you have identified are, at the very least, not fake accounts. Insurance of good actors and removal of bad actors are related, since both rely on a token fund supplied by the users or customers of the system.

Although the network has only four users right now, it is already clear to me that onboarding in general will be crowd-sourced. Since users can easily add their friends and family, they will do so. Olive identity signups (to receive the UBI) will become extremely popular and Olive may become the “crypto” of choice: it has significant trade value, it is fast (Telos/EOSIO), and you don’t have to purchase it. So I don’t have to personally worry about onboarding and growth right now. It will happen.

As for insuring good actors are not targeted, that’s something that’s not absolutely essential, especially while the network is still young. If you have added your friends and family, and everyone is properly earning their UBIs, people can pool their UBIs and convert them into a positive score for any users in their friends and family circle that need it. That’s no different than how people and community will take care of each other in a world with UBI. That is, if someone needs money, that someone gets money from the people that care about them, because those people are not permanently underwater, which is how capitalism works.

Which leaves us wondering what a bad actor is, how to detect it, and once we detect it, what to do about it. From detection to action (i.e. down-voting), it is clear that detection is the core concern. Once there are competent technical sources for account blacklists, users can organize to shut down those accounts. As Twitter pile-ons have shown us, all you need is some leadership pointing out what needs to be destroyed, and it will.

And that is the core essential difficulty of an open reputation network like the Olive network. Knowing what a bad actor is, what are the types of bad actors, and assigning one or more scores of likelihood for each one of those vectors of badness. Here are some of the types of bad actors:

  • Fake accounts — people who don’t exist;
  • Fake accounts — stolen identities;
  • Fake accounts of any kind, but thousands of them receiving UBI and signing up thousands more (i.e. a Sybil attack);
  • Malformed proofs-of-personhood (no name, no photo or bad photo);
  • Accounts which change their identity multiple times to random people with random photos;
  • Real accounts run by clueless, naive users who add other people without regard for whether they are well-intentioned users or not (or even real users, real people that are presenting their real identity);
  • People who lost access to their account and decided to create a duplicate account;
  • Trolls who “decide to make a White Hat statement” or “Prove that this is a Shit-Scam-Coin” or that “UBI Doesn’t Work” or etc.;
  • Many, many more cases.

That is the essential problem and that’s what I should be working on. And that problem is actually a lot of problems:

  • What are the types of prejudicial actors and actions and how to spot them, both in an automated fashion and in an human-assisted fashion;
  • How to communicate an opinion or heuristic when publishing the classification of potentially harmful accounts and actions: how to characterize it and how and what to recommend as community action;
  • What remedies are socially owed and can be deployed for false positives;

What IS Olive? Is it an institution (a “Real Currency” that has to be “Protected As Legal Property”(TM)), or is it a social game, an MMO like World of Warcraft, and sometimes I slay your avatar accidentally (“oops!”)? Or is it both?

Is life — the thing that we “fund” with “real money” — a Real Game that is also a Serious Game?

Technically, Olive is, above all, a simple system. So, what is The Simplest Thing That Could Possibly Work in the case of detecting bad actors?

Fabiana Cecin

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Why is not absolutely everybody talking about Basic Income?