Everyone Is Multidimensional
Decentralized Identity Systems with Contextualized Reputation
Info → Value
As you know, every bit of information has identity and meaning. There will always be many definitions of value, yet I believe we can develop shared perspectives on truth. That means your imagination is valuable! What will you share to improve our knowledge of the world?
For this post, my goal is to clarify the value proposition of CRE8 by discussing how contextualized reputation would optimize distribution of voting power.
What is CRE8?
CRE8 is a free and open source protocol built using multidimensional token structure. Our unique reputation system facilitates coordination via transparent collaboration. Everyone is welcome to join and participate! By intentionally recording how you spend time and energy, you can build a contextualized reputation like this:
Above is a map of non-transferable value that I personally generated using CRE8. Looking at the graph, the height of every bar represents how much time I’ve worked on specific projects and tasks with associated tags, which are displayed along the horizontal axis.
Overall, the mission statement of CRE8 is to reduce information asymmetry and facilitate coordination via transparent collaboration.
Building Public Value
Now that I’ve shilled CRE8, let’s dive into the weeds!
Every day, we build complex relationships with the universe, gradually identifying people and our many dimensions: caring for loved ones, going to school, working on projects, completing tasks, attending events, using social media, engaging in political discourse, building solutions, etc. By participating in various dimensions, we build interconnected value systems that offer different kinds of returns on different investments. Together, human beings drive progress through investing our time and energy, resulting in a web of valuable actions, i.e. creativity.
How should we measure collaboration?
What is best for everyone? All of us have a subjective understanding of truth, goodness, beauty, etc. It’s difficult for people to recognize shared goals that exist in a universal context. Separately, individuals often fail to see opportunities for productive compromises. We must discover what everyone believes in order to find common ground. Ideally, humanity is greater than the sum of its parts. Multidimensional token structure (ERC 888) is uniquely capable of gestalt potential: defining complex individuals, every combination and the whole group.
How do we actually make decisions?
Throughout history, people have coordinated around legal, political and ethical systems to form institutions of government based on societal norms. In the past few hundred years, the ideals of democracy and freedom have spread around the world. However, according to this Democracy Index by the Economist Intelligence Unit, the USA has fallen in the global rankings over the past decade, from 18th place in the 2008 Democracy Index, to 25th in 2018. “This primarily reflects a deterioration in the functioning of government category, as political polarization has become more pronounced and public confidence in institutions has weakened.”
Freedom in the World 2018
Democracy faced its most serious crisis in decades in 2017 as its basic tenets-including guarantees of free and fair…
Freedom vs. Democracy
“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!” — Benjamin Franklin
Although often we take it for granted, it’s not easy to understand what is meant by democracy. The word itself comes from Greek origins: demos, “common people,” and kratos, “strength.” Generally speaking, most would point to three main characteristics: legal equality, political freedom and rule of law. However, democracy has evolved over time.
- Introduced by Cleisthenes of Athens, Greece
- 700 B.C. | Sparta introduced range voting to prevent bias voting, buying, or cheating that was predominant in the early democratic elections
- Thank the Romans for gerrymandering…
- 1215 | Magna Carta (writ of habeus corpus / petitions)
- 1707 | First Parliament 1707 (elected by 3% of population)
- May 1776 | Virginia Declaration of Rights
- July 4, 1776 | Declaration of Independence
- 1789 | French Assembly
Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen
Article I: Men are born and remain free and equal in rights. Social distinctions can be founded only on the common utility.
Article II: The goal of any political association is the conservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man. These rights are liberty, property, safety and resistance against oppression.
“Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number… While democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.”
— Alexis de Tocqueville
Conflicting Schools of Thought
Oligarchy ~ one dollar, one vote
influential minority controls the decision-making process, disregarding the needs of most stakeholders
Democracy ~ one person, one vote
Issue: Sybil Attacks
one person controlling many accounts, exerting an unsafe or unfair amount of influence on the voting system
In order to formalize personal identity on-chain, there has to be some way to enforce “one person, one vote.” If that is not feasible, participants will have to elect representatives or distinguish themselves with a reputation system.
“The real difference between democracy and oligarchy is poverty and wealth. Wherever men rule by reason of their wealth, whether they be few or many, that is an oligarchy, and where the poor rule, that is a democracy.”
There is a fundamental problem with democracy. It fails to account for the intensity of minority preferences. Glen Weyl and others have proposed a radical form of democracy, which enables voters to express the intensity of their individual positions.
Here is an example: a hundred people are voting on whether to put more street lights outside a neighborhood. For the 20 people who live near the lights, it can be difficult to sleep because they are so bright, resulting in a perceived value of negative ten (-10) for each of them. For the other 80 neighbors, the additional visibility results in a perceived value of two (+2) for each of them. In a traditional democratic system, the majority could act selfishly and go for the slight benefit, without regard for the aggregate impact: near the lights (-10 x 20) + other (2 x 80) = -40
Still, we need to acknowledge the reason for democracy in the first place: equal representation of our collective interests. Our model is predicated on the notion of inclusivity maximalism — greater accountability leads to better outcomes. Transparency facilitates coordination around shared goals. We’re all in this together!
Can you think of any particular minority groups who might have legitimate qualms with democracy?
Contextualized Value Systems
Perhaps we might agree that every individual has their own understanding of reality. Truth is actually subjective, and perceived value is hard to calculate. Luckily, the nature of multidimensional token structure provides unprecedented flexibility. Rather than modeling systems with IDs referring to collections of attributes, we can use combinatorial associations between dimensions of the universal consciousness. Everyone has many identities. Moment by moment, our thoughts influence our behavior and reputation, actively creating ourselves.
What does all of this mean?
Let’s break it down.
Dimensions are context-specific levels of info and functionality, similar to a blockchain. Data is multidimensional if created with a nested mapping:
Origins of 888
In March 2016, Trevor Overman and I founded the Bidio agency to help video creators get sponsored without compromising the integrity of their work. Soon after developing a video platform and real-time bidding system, we learned about Ethereum and started exploring an idea called “viewToken.” Our goal was to empower creators by helping them sell tokenized viewer actions directly to bidders. This public utility was intended to eliminate unnecessary middlemen by providing full transparency and control.
By design, this protocol creates new tokens based on viewer actions. In other words, the supply of viewToken inflates when people watch videos. If we built this protocol with a one-dimensional structure, that cryptosystem would have been profitably manipulated by self-interested actors watching their own videos. Even worse, more sophisticated fraudsters could easily use non-human traffic to generate “viewTokens.”
Ultimately, the multidimensional structure enabled us to deploy a single contract, which could generate infinite kinds of tokens ~ all using the same protocol.
Realizing the Potential of Multi-Token Structure
Given the limitations of the one-dimensional approach, Trevor engineered a relatively simple solution called 888 or “triple 8.” Using this flexible approach, Bidio designed and built a protocol that continuously minted context-specific tokens representing viewer actions.
Allow me to introduce how multidimensional structure can help token engineers; it’s kind of like object-oriented programming for cryptosystems, i.e. dimension-oriented. If such terminology is gibberish to you, don’t worry. The main thing people need to know about CRE8 is it empowers anyone to share and earn from the information they produce. Our team is building governance protocols with contextualized value mechanisms. Ultimately, forking CRE8 only extends the structure. In other words, many networks can use the same blockchain. This means creators like you have the syntactic freedom to build protocols mapped to their own dimensions.
Human-Validated Proof of Work
We believe our unique reputation system actually makes it the dominant strategy to use one account for all on-chain behavior. I dare you to Sybil attack CRE8! Making a ton of usernames would not increase your influence over any dimension. You have to contribute valid work to gain reputation within a particular governance model.
There might even be some people with a good reason to have separate accounts. Consider this generalized scenario:
Maybe a congresswoman with a reputation for being highly professional would not want risk-averse constituents to know about her extreme sports background. She could easily split her actual reputation by using two accounts. However, whenever she interacts with a certain dimension, she must decide which account to use. This might cause problems if the congresswoman uses both accounts in the same dimension.
With context-specific accountability, reputation systems can effectively mitigate sybil attacks, without introducing plutocracy.
Addressing the Problem of Collusion
“If one tries to preserve the property of a game being identity-free, building a system where identities don’t matter and only coins do, there is an impossible trade-off between either failing to incentivize legitimate public goods or over-subsidizing plutocracy.”
— Vitalik Buterin
If all users of a public, permissionless network have the same number of votes, attackers could easily influence decision-making. The problem is one person might create a large number of accounts (nodes) to get more control of the voting system. As Vitalik noted, any mechanism that can help genuinely under-coordinated parties may result in over-coordination, extracting money from the system.
Now, let’s imagine how a group or individual could infiltrate a project that depends on a reputation-weighted voting system. Perhaps a digital fraudster submits a bogus article to a research journal, then leverages thousands of accounts to validate that content by upvoting. Those votes would not have any weight in that system. Also, each user action is on-chain, so participants in that dimension will be more likely to detect manipulation. In the case of liquid value being transferred, such as a reward for writing the article, fraudulent activity is permanently recorded.
In alignment with Vitalik’s post, CRE8 is building an identity system with reputations that users cannot sell credibly. “Obviously, we can’t prevent people from making a deal ‘you send me $50, I’ll send you my key,’ but what we can try to do is prevent such deals from being credible — make it so that the seller can easily cheat the buyer and give the buyer a key that doesn’t actually work.”
Multidimensional structure is precisely what we need to design contextualized value systems. Because CRE8 users interact with markets from their personal dimensions, everyone has to be more intentional. Otherwise, they risk doing something that could harm their account’s reputation. Thankfully, forgiveness prevails!
In conclusion, I’d like to consider an old idea with new purpose. In 1888, John Dewey wrote an essay called Creative Democracy: The Task Before Us, which stated: “The task of democracy is forever that of creation of a freer and more humane experience in which all share and to which all contribute.” In other words, democracy requires actual work by participants.
Ideally, reputation systems fairly and consistently reflect what is best for everyone. Democracy needs many definitions of success to avoid unnecessary consolidation of power. Otherwise, there is a risk of misrepresentation. Every delegate has unique strengths and weaknesses across their domains of expertise. What if a more tech-savvy committee had been granted authority to publicly interrogate Zuckerberg, in addition to congress? Maybe the issue would be framed as a question of how much transparency, rather than how little privacy…
Social media ought to be governed by the people! We act like closed-source algorithms don’t run our lives already… Everyone should realize the importance of talking about reputation. Using our experimental CRE8 dimension, anyone may take part in a universal protocol with two value mechanisms: time and content. By joining or adding projects/tasks, every participant has an opportunity to share what is meaningful to them. We believe in pluralism because all identities are valuable. Our imagination will determine the future. To govern each context properly, accountable reputation is a useful construct, if multidimensional.