A Bot Tax: Scaling For the Average User

Real, human users should be able to transact for free. Unlike EOS, which rate-limits transactions at the smart-contract level, Project Oblio aims to rate-limit transactions at the user-level.

Every cryptocurrency to date has, at some point, garnished claims about the internet-of-things, machine-to-machine payments, and easy-to-use APIS for sending stores of wealth. Often, it only takes one or two lines of code to send a transaction, resulting in large amounts of automated payments between exchanges, wallets, and advanced users. However, these kinds of payments are actually a bigger problem for cryptocurrencies than one would initially expect. Because these transactions are taxed at the same rate as the occasional transaction made by a “new” or casual user, they end up clogging the network, causing increased fees, tremendous block sizes, and relatively simple and inexpensive attack vectors, such as DDOS. For this reason, you’ll often see bitcoin developers talking about “anti-spam” measures to limit these excessive automated payments from disturbing the user experiencs of a newcomer. A bad user experience is a barrier to adoption, and this barrier to adoption is bad for everyone, as it ultimately harms the returns of the businesses using the network so much.


Through its one-human-one-vote protocol, Project Oblio aims to allow for reduced fees to those members who are well-identified by the network, through a “Karma” metric. More specifically, transactions are prioritized when a user is “liveness detected” – proven to be actually there, needing a transaction to be sent as quickly as possible. Although machine-to-machine payments are necessary for network function, they greatly stress the decentralized network protocol. Prioritizing transactions in this manner can allow for a better end-user experience, while still allowing businesses and other machine-to-machine payers to function. Ultimately, it encourages real user adoption.


Because so few transactions sent on networks like these are initiated by humans, it is unlikely that fees for bots will be greater than that of competing networks. As such, the bot tax is really better thought of as reduced fees for live humans, rather than any deterrent against machine-to-machine payments.


Of course there are a lot of reasons to have machine-to-machine payments, but there are better reasons to create a garden of the internet which is provably human. Namely, real discussions, real voting, and real applications for BMIs.


Most scaling protocols to date have focused on payment channels, which are themselves a great idea, and will one day be implemented on Project Oblio. But payment channels won’t be useful for one-time payments and other types of transactions an end-user may wish to make. Really, to create a decentralized network that is used by the masses, it is much more important to first solve the issue of one-human-one-vote, so that we can, among many other things, favor real-world users over anonymous bots.

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