True Review: Censorship-resistant reviews

🏆 2C won 1st place at ETHDenver 2021, allowing people to submit company and app reviews that cannot be censored by corporations.

Katy Jeremko
Jul 2 · 5 min read

It’s ETHDenver 2021, and we tackled another project — pandemics can’t stop us from hacking! We decided to tackle a controversial topic in the tech space — reviews. We’ve been sitting on this summary for a few months, heads down launching our DAO, so we’re excited to share more about this project.

The people of /WallStreetBets vs. Wall Street

The backstory

In response, users took to Google and Apple to post negative reviews of the app, driving down it’s 5-star rating to a measly 1.1 star review. The fun didn’t stop there, either — Google and Apple came to the rescue by removing over 100,000 of these negative reviews, restoring Robinhood’s app store standing. The /WallStreetBets community demanded an explanation for why their voices were being silenced across the big tech companies. According to Gizmodo, Google claimed that it had taken “coordinated or inorganic reviews’’ down, but did not comment on how it defined an inorganic review.

The backlash continues, with calls to #DeleteRobinhood and a class-action lawsuit stating, “Robinhood’s actions were done purposely and knowingly to manipulate the market for the benefit of people and financial institutions who were not Robinhood’s customers.”

Our take

Decentralization for the win

Reviews belong to the people, so let’s build it that way.

From identity, to storage, to gamification

  • People own their data by backing rich text/image/video reviews with IDX & Ceramic (all stored on IPFS of course!)
  • Real companies are verified through local government APIs (also backed by IDX/Ceramic/IPFS)
  • People can verify their identity through Colorado’s myColorado app (or similar) for optional bot & spam protection
  • People can link their reviews and identity to a decentralized namespace with Unstoppable Domains
  • To make things fun and practical, why not add some gamification using NEAR Protocol NFT rewards and prizes!?

The tech stack

Challenges

  1. Base Layer (Blockchain/Ethereum/etc.) — storing data directly on a fully decentralized blockchain is the purest approach, but can be costly, slow, and difficult to scale
  2. Middle Layer (Filecoin/etc.) — a mix of both worlds (1 & 2), blockchain backed monetization powers a more trusted and permanent storage marketplace, much more scalable than directly on Ethereum, but still has atomic transaction costs
  3. p2p Community (IPFS/Pinata/Ceramic/Textile/TheGraph/etc.) — a community driven ecosystem, mostly leveraging core IPFS technology to provide a network of peers that help store and share data in a more fluid nature

Each layer has its pros and cons for specific use cases. For a review platform:

  • People paying a cost in order to leave a review isn’t realistic
  • People want to interoperate with a variety of wallets, blockchain technology, and social identity verifications
  • People want to own their data, and decide where it is stored

The Presentation

The team that made this happen:

The Future of this Project

We could also provide this solution by starting from scratch, funding the effort as a public goods solution backed by the ETH community, or by local governments.

Awards

  1. 1st Place Overall!
  2. Top 20 — Celebrity Judging Choice Award
  3. 8+ ColoradoJam Bounties
  4. Ceramic Network
  5. NEAR Protocol
  6. IPFS
  7. Unstoppable Domains

Lastly, we were invited to the ETHDenver & Colorado Government sponsored ColoradoJam incubator, and hope to continue working on this project in the future.

Huge thanks to the ETHDenver community for hosting one of the greatest hackathons in the world. We’re excited to return next year for more hacking!

If you’d like to play with True Review, 👉🏼 view the design prototype here.

2C | Two’s Complement

2C is a design and development consultancy.

2C | Two’s Complement

2C brings bold business ideas to life with ingenious dev & design. We match dream projects with dream teams, combining precision engineering with world-class design. Our network of experts collaborate worldwide, using the 2C Indie DAO.

Katy Jeremko

Written by

Designer and entrepreneur, building teams and tools at twoscomplement.io.

2C | Two’s Complement

2C brings bold business ideas to life with ingenious dev & design. We match dream projects with dream teams, combining precision engineering with world-class design. Our network of experts collaborate worldwide, using the 2C Indie DAO.