Token Curated Hype
If you’ve been following along with the chaos of blockchain projects in 2018, you’ve probably heard of something called a Token Curated Registry. These smart-contract dwelling lists have been incredibly popular as of late, with a plethora of projects looking to incorporate them into their protocol design (see 0x, Messari, and Ocean). As per usual amongst the blockchain community, there has been a lot of hype around the concept of TCRs, but not a lot of actual data about whether or not they work as well as their proponents claim. To date, we’ve seen two major deployments of TCRs into production: AdChain and FOAM. Unfortunately, these projects seem to be lackluster sources of data due to their nascency. DAppRadar’s report shows that AdChain hasn’t had much activity as of late, and FOAM’s product is still in development. As enthusiasts, we’re once again left in a situation where we have a shiny new toy we want to play with and learn about, but very few implementations with which we can go about doing so.
Instead of waiting around for a more tangible TCR to be deployed, we set out to devise an experiment that would help us learn more about how TCRs work in practice, while also creating something fun for the community to play with. Part of this experiment also deals with retrofitting TCRs to existing and more familiar interfaces in order to see if voter turnout can be improved by simplifying the user experience. Enter TCR Party, a curated list of the top Twitter handles in the crypto community, powered by an existing human-readable interface.
TCR Party, a Twitter Popularity Contest
We’re aiming to tap into the chaos of Crypto-Twitter in an attempt to democratically determine the most popular voices in the community. All members of this exclusive token-curated party will have their tweets automatically retweeted by our bot’s Twitter account, who can be followed by anyone interested in being informed by the top minds in the space.
Since the success of TCRs rely largely on participation, our goal with this experiment is to lower the barrier of entry as far as possible in order to allow anyone and everyone to participate. To do so, we’ve decided to build an interface entirely within Twitter itself– a place where much of the crypto community’s discourse (and trolling) already takes place. That’s right, no dealing with Metamask, no purchasing tokens through sketchy exchanges, and no dealing with transaction fees. Instead, we’ve simplified the interface to occur entirely within mentions and direct messages, allowing users to focus on the exciting part: fighting it out to determine who gets to be in the party. To simplify things further, we’ll be starting out by launching on testnet, allowing us to easily take care of gas fees and, most importantly, give out tokens to all who wish to join in on the fun!
How It Works
Let’s dive in a bit and talk about what this looks like in practice. Our TCR interface consists of two Twitter accounts: @TCRPartyBot, which retweets everything from users present on the TCR, and @TCRPartyVIP, which facilitates participants’ interactions with the TCR. We decided to separate the two out in order to avoid distracting those who only want to consume the result of the list with the noise of its maintenance. For those who are interested in participating on the registry, the VIP bot will be the proxied operator of the system. Most interactions with @TCRPartyVIP will occur via direct message, where we’ve created a simple chatbot (not the awful kind of chatbot, we promise) to facilitate operations such as nomination, challenges, and voting. When the bot sees an important event on-chain, something like a nomination or challenge on the list, it will tweet out a notice to its followers to let everyone know what’s happening.
For those of you who are interested in the technicals, behind the scenes of the party our bot will be automating many of the tedious tasks required for users to participate in the registry’s operation. Wallets will be generated on behalf of users upon registration via a multisig wallet, which will proxy all transactions originating from our bot. PLCR Voting, a process which is particularly complicated for users of TCRs, will have seed generation, commits, and reveals handled entirely by the bot. This previously three-stage process is instead reduced to a single command with our chatbot, reducing friction which could otherwise be a cause for decreased voter turnout.
Token distribution will also play a major part in encouraging participation in the registry– you can’t do anything if you don’t have any tokens to work with. TCR Party Points, the currency powering the festivities, will be distributed to all new users as they sign up. Like other blockchain projects, we’ll be rewarding our early sign-ups with more tokens than the late arrivals. In order to make sure nobody gets left out, we’ll also be setting up a faucet which can be hit once per day (via the bot) in order to restore your ability to participate if you ever run out of TCRP from staking or a lost challenge. We absolutely beg you to keep in mind that these tokens will be hosted on the Ethereum testnet, and won’t have any sort of monetary value.
We recognize that a Twitter-based interface to a TCR comes with the trade-off of increased centralization. To alleviate this, we’re hoping to take steps to increase transparency by releasing the code behind the bot before we launch. Additionally, advanced users will have the option to add their own addresses to their generated multisig wallet, allowing them to “eject” from the bot’s control if they wish. Since the contract will be on a public testnet, The TCR contract will, of course, allow more advanced users to interact with it via third-party interfaces if they’d prefer. We’ll also be writing blog posts in the future discussing the technical implementation of the bot, in addition to any and all results from the experiment when we launch.
This project has been in the works for a few months now and we’re incredibly excited to get it into people’s hands. We’re planning on starting a pre-registration in the next couple of weeks and doing a full launch mid-January. If this post has managed to pique your interest, we’d love it if you could sign up to be notified of when we’re ready to launch. We will never use your email address for any other purpose (we hate newsletter spam as much as you do).
Nothing in this article should be taken as legal or investment advice.
Steve Gattuso is the tech lead of Alpine, a circle of ConsenSys specializing in creating the blueprints for new economies.