sat down to write a normal blogpost and a baby protocol came out

Posted on July 26, 2017. Filed under: Uncategorized |

If you have been following the blockchain world over the past few years, you’ll notice that some of the best protocol designs to date have involved computational work. Whether the protocol defines the behavior of computers as it relates to file storage, processing power, or otherwise…these systems tend to outline economic incentives that govern how a network of computers (and their owners) will behave and work. Part of the reason why these early labor systems tend to center around the labor of computers and not people, is because machine work is easier to authenticate…and the authentication of work is important when distributing economics between labor and capital in a trustless system. I’ve invested in a number of projects with this shape, but my interest as it relates to the future of blockchain based systems is much much broader…I find myself gravitating toward systems that try to govern the behavior of human nodes as opposed to machine nodes…and when dealing in that realm…there are some promising solutions and mechanics to govern offline/human work that are starting to emerge.

Two potentially fundamental mechanics that I see popping up across fledgling protocols are stake and oracles. The designs around these two elements vary quite a bit from project to project with little if any standardization. In my exploration of these two mechanics, I made a baby protocol design attempting to govern trustless transactions around physical contract jobs (think construction, home repair, etc), and attempted to replace the role of General Contractor (she who organizes and engages subcontractors, ensures quality of work, and btw takes a healthy cut for doing so) with a blockchain based protocol governed by the coin GCC…there’s a second tier of coin in the system that rides on top of GCC that addresses the concept of credentials and skilled labor (SCC) and together these two coins live in a system that maybe would allow a home owner and subcontractor to transact directly with each other while cutting out the middle man general contractor. In theory, one of the promises of the blockchain is to take the margin captured by middle men or top down organizations like a general contracting business, and to redistribute it to the edges (customers and labor) in a way that lowers cost for buyers while also improving economics for labor or sellers.

Obviously this design is 1 page and not a 30 page paper. Designing blockchain protocols requires technical architecture design, economic design, and governance design. Special projects emerge when they nail all 3 individually, and also the interaction between these 3 layers. Here I don’t touch the technical layer, I barely touch the governence layer, and I focus on the economic layer.

In order to grok this design I assume familiarity with the below two concepts:

1) stake: economic value posted as collateral that is programmatically subject to forfiture upon bad action
2) oracles: actors in a system that serve to report on or provide off chain information as an input to on chain functions within a blockchain based system

General Contractor Coin

High level architecture

  • 2 tiers of coin
    • general contractor coin (GCC) is the low level protocol coin that governs the good faith completion of work and payment for services in physical contractor based transactions.
    • skilled subcontractor coin (SCC) is the skill specific coin that can be exchanged 1 for 1 with GCC, but holds a specific credential that signifies ability to take on jobs that require that skill.
      • example of an SCC coin might be “electrical work coin” or “floor guy coin”
  • Likely only GCC floats and connects to public exchange. SCC must be converted into GCC before moving to FIAT. GCC’s value is driven by customer demand for contract projects requiring any and all SCC skills, and jobs are paid in GCC.
  • As long as contractor holds a single SCC coin for a given skill, they may stake completely in SCC or by combining SCC with GCC against the value of a job, so long as the SCC is always at stake for a job that requires it.

EXAMPLE USE CASE AND BABY PROTOCOL DESIGN: Construction job between home owner and flooring specialist…

  • homeowner posts request for floor repair with payment for job denominated in GCC and specifies job is open to contractors holding the SCC “floor guy” coin.
  • not all contractors can take job
  • in order for a contractor to take job he must hold “floor guy” coin
  • floor guy must receive floor guy coin by having skills/training evaluated offline (or by undergoing training and receiving coin upon completion of training)
    • can likely decentralize acreditation by empowering any holder of floor guy coin to credential another. acreditation becomes a job in the system same as doing the actual flooring work to earn coin.
    • To credential others, accreditor must post floor guy coin as stake…if someone you credential loses credential as result of challenge/oracle process described below, he who accredited the violator loses partial stake…2 strikes you lose full stake and are out as accreditor.
    • Similarly training plus accreditation can be higher paid job/role in system. same requirements of credentialed stake to train as to accredit.
  • once contractor posts floor guy coin as stake, job is matched, homeowner payment and contractor stake held in smart contract that’s created to govern work
  • work is done offline
  • both floor guy and home owner must sign transaction when job is completed to release stake and payment from smart contract
  • if home owner challenges adequate completion, smart contract creates new oracle job, borrows funds held in contract to pay oracle/inspector, and broadcasts existence of available oracle/inspection job to network w requirement that contractor that take job hold the SCC coin “floor guy” in order to accept.
  • oracle/inspector job only available to holder of “floor guy coin.” He must post stake in “floorguy coin” in order to take oracle job
  • home owner must post additional stake to challenge work and both homeowner’s and contractor’s stake pays oracle/inspector for time/visit
  • oracle visits job site to determine outcome of challenge.
  • oracle decision final. if work is adequate, payment released to floor guy. also, home owner’s additional stake covers full cost of oracle payment, contractor’s “floor guy coin” returned to him.
  • if flooring work inadequate, contractor stake covers full oracle payment. Contractor either chooses to post additional stake to make initial job stake whole post-oracle payment and completes work to satisfaction of homeowner/oracle or forfeits his “floor guy coin” to homeowner and receives no payment for services.
  • if contractor cedes his SCC “floor guy coin” to homeowner, he can never acquire “floor guy coin” again through accreditation system.

So yea, I know there are MANY opportunities to make this design more elegant, and i’m sure there are vulnerabilities in this sketch that can be exploited and need to be solved for, but I’m excited to meet with folks who are working on stake based trust models in traditional classifieds verticals…cool explorations of oracle process and offline work authentication, and in general people who are attempting to design systems that govern human behavior, not just machine behavior, via creative economic thinking via coins. I have found it more rewarding to engage with early creators when their systems and papers are very much in draft form with lot’s of placeholders and unsolved components. If you’re working on something cool, i’m jordan.cooper@gmail.com

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One Response to “sat down to write a normal blogpost and a baby protocol came out”

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Hi, Jordan,

interesting thoughts that track something I’ve been noodling through in a different market. Your take on what I’ve been calling a “reputation” coin that is itself externally verified is nice and the 3rd party coin that is invoked in a dispute between parties is sweet!

But, the mechanism from coins to fiat is still a sticky bit for a general commerce model.

Thanks for the article!


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    About

    I’m a NYC based investor and entrepreneur. I think there is one metric that can be used to measure the value of a human life and that’s impact. How did you change things? How many people did you touch? How different is the world because you lived in it and how positive was the change that you affected? (p.s. i don’t use spell check…deal with it) You can email me at Jordan.Cooper@gmail.com

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