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.

The people of /WallStreetBets vs. Wall Street

The backstory

On the morning of Jan. 28, Robinhood sent an email to its user base restricting stock purchases from several companies such as GameStop, AMC and Nokia, citing “market volatility” as the reason. The Reddit community /WallStreetBets felt otherwise, that the move protected hedge funds and institutional investors, rather than the everyday person trading on the app.

Our take

The online community has made it clear that people demand ownership of their voice and their data. We decided to build a blockchain-based review platform in response to this controversial event. What has transpired over the last month has revealed an opportunity for a blockchain-based solution to ensure that reviews belong to the people, not big tech companies.
We decided to therefore tackle the two sides of the problem of posting trust-worthy reviews: identity-verification and record-permanence.

Decentralization for the win

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

🐶 True Review is a censorship-resistant review platform. It lets people own their reviews, and share them without fear of censorship. We believe that reviews are meant to support better decision-making and transparency, so long as you can prove that the reviewer is a real person.

From identity, to storage, to gamification

We thought through these sponsor integrations to come up with those that worked best to accomplish our goals for 🐶 True Review:

  • 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

We were dazzled at ETHDenver last year with the maturity of ecosystem tools, and this year did not fail to impress us. We could not have stitched together a solution quite like True Review without these players.

Challenges

One of the most challenging parts of the project was nailing down decentralized, user-owned data the right way. We considered 3 layers of decentralized data in the ecosystem:

  1. 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
  2. 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
  • 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:

Nico Valencia, Katy Jeremko, Chieri Wada, & Julian Ramlal.

The Future of this Project

Web2 solutions offer review systems today — we could start with partnering to provide the right APIs and blockchain-based solutions from the bounty sponsors and consult them on moving into web3.

Awards

Our hard work paid off with much appreciated community support for the project. At the end of the competition, 2C received over a dozen awards, including 1st Place Overall. Check out our submission on Devfolio.

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

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