Today we are excited to announce Humanity, an experiment in unique identity, governance, and Universal Basic Income. It is available now on the Ethereum mainnet.
tl;dr: Get $1 (1 Dai stablecoin) per month by getting voted into a registry of unique humans. You can apply to the registry here.
On Ethereum, there is currently no standard for unique identity. Your identity on the network is simply an address that is generated from a private key, and you can own multiple accounts by controlling multiple private keys.
While useful for privacy, the ability to own multiple accounts poses a challenge for applications like voting. For example, suppose we want to design a voting smart contract in which each person on Ethereum has one vote (perhaps to gauge community support for a certain EIP). Anyone could easily rig the system by voting with multiple accounts. Using fake accounts to manipulate a network is called a Sybil attack, and is a common problem on distributed networks like Ethereum.
Now imagine we had a reliable list of unique humans on Ethereum. What types of applications could we build? A Sybil-resistant identity system would unlock lots of new opportunities including:
- Democratic voting
- Quadratic voting, as imagined in Radical Markets
- Reputation systems
- Credit, as in unsecured lending
- Distribution of virtual goods, like tokens or usernames
- Entitlement systems, like Universal Basic Income
Maintaining such a list via an incentive game rather than relying on a central authority carries additional benefits of global access, fairness, and lower costs.
Humanity is a game that is designed to incentivize a set of economic actors to maintain a registry of unique human identities without a central authority.
Such a system is unproven, but we are excited to test a live on-chain governance mechanism to hopefully make progress on unique identity as well as in anticipation of using it in our lending protocol.
⚠️ Please be mindful that the Humanity smart contracts are in a pre-alpha state and may contain bugs or faulty incentives that result in loss of funds. This is not an investment opportunity. Please do not participate with the expectation of profit. ⚠️
Humanity leverages existing work on Token Curated Registries, a type of game with the following incentives:
- Applicants demand to be on a list.
- Applicants stake a fee on their candidacy. If the applicant is rejected, they lose their application fee.
- Token voters are incentivized to curate the list honestly in order to generate demand from new applicants.
In Humanity, applicants demand to be included on the registry of unique humans in order to gain access to Sybil-resistant smart contract applications that reference the list.
The registry has a method called
isHuman that any smart contract can query to see whether a given Ethereum address has been confirmed as a unique human.
As a sample application, we deployed a Universal Basic Income smart contract with 2,500 Dai (~$2,500). Early applicants who are successfully voted into the registry can claim 1 Dai per month until the supply runs out!
Humanity uses a straightforward majority rule voting system with two periods.
In the first two-day voting period, voters may vote yes or no on an applicant. If a majority of votes are cast towards yes, the application enters a two-day veto period in which voters may only vote no. This prevents attacks in which late yes votes swing the result. If you get more yes votes than no votes, your Ethereum address is added to the registry of unique humans. The voting process is shown in the flowchart below:
Voters can participate in many proposals simultaneously with the full weight of their votes, but may only withdraw their voting tokens after all the proposals they participated in have expired. Voters do not lose any voting tokens by voting in the minority on any given proposal.
How do voters determine whether an applicant is actually human?
Unfortunately, authenticating a human identity is not a problem that a smart contract can solve. Instead, it is up to the community to come to a consensus on the best approach for identity verification.
As a first approach, we recommend social verification. For this, we encourage the initial batch of applicants to publish a post on your personal Twitter account that includes your Ethereum address as proof of identity.
The verification system can evolve as weaknesses are discovered. In addition to human judgment, voters may also try to analyze social relationships between applicants and members of the registry or employ Sybil detection algorithms like SybilRank to vote on a candidate.
There is a fixed final supply of 100 million voting tokens, which are used to submit and vote on applications.
The overwhelming majority, 75 million (75%), are earned by the first 10,000 humans who get voted into the registry.
An additional 5 million (5%) are held in a faucet that can be “mined” directly into Uniswap, an automated market maker, at a rate of 1 per block (for ~2 years). The remaining voting tokens (20%) are held by the Marble team in a multi-signature wallet, a small portion of which will be provided to individual team members to participate in voting.
Humanity is a live experiment in on-chain governance and unique identity that is open for all to participate. Join the registry to earn $1 (1 Dai) per month in Universal Basic Income (while supplies last), earn Humanity voting tokens (first 10,000 people), and participate in Sybil-resistant smart contract protocols that reference the registry.
Join us on Discord to discuss applying, voting, and building on top of the Humanity registry!