Sybil-Resilience and Proof-of-Personhood are essential:
- In the age of AI we need to know if we interact with humans or machines.
- The vision of a truly decentralized web needs to solve the inclusion problem in a sybil-resilient way to do so.
- Proof of Personhood opens up the governance design space to introduce more balanced processes, which improves resilience of Polkadot (i.e. quadratic voting).
- Effectively preventing various frauds by sockpuppets boosts the utility and value of online platforms like Polkadot
- possibly enhancing the scalability of Polkadot by making validator selection more effective for lower number of validators (see this argument)
- enhance privacy in mixnets (see Sybil-attacks on tor network)
However, Sybil-resilience is one of the most challenging problems of web3. It is not yet obvious, which solution will work best. Therefore, this bounty shall follow a pluralistic approach and fund various promising approaches to solve the problem.
The following values shall focus the selection of funded projects:
- Permissionlessness: No reliance on central authority attestations (excluding KYC)
- Inclusivity: Minimize captital and infrastructure requirements to participate (no direct or indirect PoS)
- Privacy: The solutions shall aim to be privacy-preserving by design
- Digital Alias Fluidity: It should always be possible to drop an alias and obtain a new one without linkability between the two (Effectively excluding biometric approaches)
Polkadot shall become the leading platform for decentralized sybil-resilience.
While Ethereum has a few approaches (i.e. GitcoinPassport, CirclesUBI, BrightId), I believe Polkadot’s technical advantages (like decentralized decoupling of gas fees and effective sharding) can make Polkadot the leading platform for inclusive protocols and tools for sybil-resilience.
By funding different teams pursuing various approaches, a plurality of FOSS tools and sybil-resilience mechanisms shall be designed, developed, deployed and evaluated, catering to the needs of the Dotsama ecosystem and indeed the entire Internet. Expect to see the fruits of this bounty to be concretely applied to
- “AI free” Web3 social media platforms
- Bot-free reviews / webs-of-trust
- UBI projects
- mixnet privacy enhancements
- efficiency enhancements of Polkadot’s validator selection process for parachain validation
- more variety in onchain governance voting systems e.g. quadratic voting or 1p1v to strengthen democracy, participation and community empowerment and, more generally, the feeling to be enfranchised on onchain governance.
Expect nothing less than mass adoption of Polkadot due to added real-world utility.
So far, Polkadot Treasury has followed a bottom-up approach where individual teams propose spending and defend their own cause each for themselves. As a consequence, the selection of funded projects is rather opportunistic than strategic. Similar to Towards a Treasury Budget, I propose a top-down approach: If we agree that sybil-resilience is a strategic goal for DotSama, we should define a budget as a fraction of treasury influx. The more one DOT can buy, the higher the budget will be for this bounty, the faster can we reach our goals.
If each project struggles for themselves to get approved by OpenGov, a lot of energy is wasted on all sides and there’s no planning security. Even if the project delivers good work, there is no guarantee to get funded, even retroactively. On the other hand, even if the treasury has decent funding, the current process won’t systematically allocate funds to the important topics of our time.
This bounty is a statement that the network wants the problem tackled and is prepared to allocate reasonable funding to get work done.
I propose to dedicate a 1% of treasury influx to the sybil-resilience topic.
Polkadot OpenGov currently only allows individual spending of a fixed amount. Streaming influx to various topics is not (yet?) possible. We can, however, calculate the expected influx over a fixed timeframe and set the bounty amount accordingly. In order to provide some planning security for strategic development, we propose to set the timeframe to at least one year. Fluctuations of DOT buying power will still require cautious planning.
So, I propose a bounty over 1% of the treasury influx over one year. After one year, the bounty shall be dissolved, remainders returned to the treasury and a fresh bounty shall be set up. This allows to adjust amounts, curators and scope and it also incentivizes curators to really spend available funds during one year.
Proof-of-personhood approaches all come with their tradeoffs. There can be no solution which is maximally scalable, decentralized and sybil-resilient at the same time.
This bounty shall explore the design space of decentralized approaches
- within DOtsama
- Encointer: the OG in Sybil resilience for Polkadot. based on concurrent in-person pseudonym parties
- Prosopo: based on reverse turing tests: Proof of Captcha
- Jur: DAOs. may directly benefit and could be an interesting testing ground
- substrate mixnets
- outside Dotsama (but might be motivated to integrate or even move)
- BrightId (currently linking to Ethereum addresses, but could be integrated in principle). based on social graph
- CirclesUBI based on social graph backed by trust in personal currency
- IDENA based on globally concurrent reverse turing tests
- ProofOfHumanity: based on optimistic peer-validated biometry
- Trustlines mutual credit system
- who else?
- various proof-of-personhood protocols
- privacy-enhancing technology in the scope of above protocols
frontends and use cases:
- wallet teams
- Dapp developers
- bridging sybil-resilience tools to chains, dapps, smart contracts
- quadratic voting for onchain governance
- social media sybil-resilience
- data analytics of experiments and field trials
- security analysis of various approaches
- economics and tokenomics analysis
- political philosophy on personhood-based governance
The set of curators should be diverse and made up of people who care about the topic and are determined to invest time and effort to evaluate child-bounty proposals.