One of the main distinguishing features among permissionless cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, is the way they enable open participation in the consensus mechanism while ensuring resistance against Sybil attacks. Bitcoin and many of its offspring use Proof-of-Work (PoW) mechanisms to obtain the above properties and allow pseudonymous, untrusted, external actors to securely extend the blockchain. However, PoW requires costly special-purpose hardware and consumes massive amounts of electricity. This has led to a re-centralization since only a few privileged entities who have access to the necessary resources are capable to mine, whereas regular users who can not afford such hardware and its maintenance are excluded. Consequently, the control over the entire system rests in the hands of a small number of elite users, for example as in Bitcoin, which is an undemocratic approach.
Proof-of-Stake (PoS), where participants use their assets (coins) to create (mint) new assets, is another approach that promises similar properties as PoW but consumes far less energy. However, PoS is essentially nothing but a shareholder corporation where the rich again have an advantage as they possess more assets and thus are able to mint new coins faster than less-privileged participants. As a consequence, the (already) rich become even richer; again, an undemocratic approach.
Our goal is to create a cryptocurrency that provides not only resistance against Sybil attacks, but, in contrast to the above approaches, also ensures a fair and widely accessible wealth creation process. We leverage Personhood Parties to move from Bitcoin’s ultimately unsuccessful “one CPU one vote” decentralization principle to a minting mechanism that embodies a “one Personhood badge one vote" principle. It provides a fair decentralized wealth creation mechanism tied to actual people, ensuring that every participant has the same chance of being chosen to create new assets, and essentially implements an instance of basic income.
The processes of gathering, filtering, curating, and disseminating the information needed for a well-informed democratic society is greatly improved by enforcing that participants in this process are all real people, ensuring that no internal or external actors can obtain and wield democratically disproportionate influence on the perceptions, decisions and collective actions of any community. Proof-of-Personhood can help online forums win their endless whack-a-mole war against trolls reappearing under false names, and make social media news feeds resistant to bot-fueled propaganda campaigns pushing disruption and fake news. We are looking for business partners to explore relevant use cases.
Democratic decisions governing a community’s operation and evolution are made through deliberation and decision processes ensuring that no one is disenfranchised from the right to participate – including those who for innumerable reasons may have limited time or ability to participate. Our technologies enable secured and egalitarian solutions powered by the "one-person-one-vote" principle. We have developed an e-voting system used for EPFL internal elections and want to further leverage Proof-of-Personhood to enable securely voting, polling of opinions, or online and democratic deliberating.
On December 5th, Lefteris presented "CALYPSO: Sharing of Private Data over Blockchains" at Bitcoin Wednesday in Amsterdam. He discussed the two main CALYPSO concepts: on-chain secrets and skipchain-based identity and access management.Read More
Lefteris, Philipp and Linus presented their work related to PERSONHOOD.ONLINE at the recent Master Blockchain Workshop in Amsterdam on November 17-18 2018, where a a thorough look at layer I scaling solutions for blockchains was provided by multiple experts.Read More
After years of research on scalable blockchain systems and Proof-of-Personhood mechanisms we are proud to launch the PERSONHOOD.ONLINE website to highlight developments by EPFL DEDIS around the theme of a more human-centric digital society.Read More