Can we build an on-ramp into blockchain that doesn't need a third-party to validate a user's identity?
We like to think of blockchain engineers as highway builders. We spend a lot of time worrying about the stability and scalability of our highway, and also how fast you’ll be able to go (send money), and what kind of vehicles (smart contracts) you’ll be able to drive. Unfortunately, we often forget about “on-ramps”, or ways to actually get on our highway. We forget how to get average people outside of tech to actually join our network.
Often, I speak with dApp owners who are only concerned with raising funds to cover technical costs. Generally, they want to operate their currency like a company, specifically by holding a pre-sale (or “ICO”) of an initial percentage of their currency, similar to seeking venture capital when starting a business. But currencies aren’t stocks. You can’t create a currency with an unbalanced initial distribution of wealth and expect people to want to join later on. Your goal should be to first build something desirable. Then, you should put your currency in the hands of as many people as possible. A highway is useless without drivers, and drivers can’t drive without gas.
In the U.S., the best way to get your hands on any cryptocurrency is to link your bank account to Coinbase, and wait 5 days for a bank transfer to convert your dollars to bitcoin. For the tech-averse or financially-privy, exposing personal details about one’s bank account to a third-party is a significant deterrent to adoption. Not only that, for a community that prides itself on limiting third-party risk, it’s somewhat unusual (and risky) to have one company tracking the financial records of nearly every professional crypto user involved.
There are other ways to obtain cryptocurrency aside from buying through Coinbase, but frankly they’re even more cumbersome. One way is by mining, but again this is not for the tech-averse. Another, newer way to earn currency is through a coin’s budget system. Typically every month, coins with a budget system will make a billboard list of tasks, such as coding or online marketing, that need to be accomplished by the end of the month. Users can sign-up to complete these tasks and if succesful, they receive cryptocurrency as a reward. In a future iteration of Project Oblio, every privileged person will be assigned one monthly task to accomplish.
On Project Oblio, one of the primary ways to receive value is by providing data from consumer EEG devices and/or Vybuds. The biometric aspect of this type of data ensures that the data is authentic, i.e., that it hasn’t just been copied and pasted from a previous submission. This data has practical use cases within its features, including neuromarketing and mental self-improvement.
Project Oblio is really a decentralized, crowd-sourced neuroscience experiment. Using data taken while performing tasks during EEG or tACS-like sessions, we can evaluate the effects of leading neuroscientific techniques on improving memory, depression, and other mental ailments. Additionally, data that is recorded while watching TV shows, movies, or advertisements can be used to evaluate a user’s interest in cultural content or a product. This means musicians, filmmakers, and advertisers can have an objective metric over how much a user enjoyed their content. While review sites like IGN, IMDB, and Amazon often have third-party markets selling positive reviews, Project Oblio intends to have every review backed by spiritually-derived data. An experiment like this is the next obvious step for decentralized systems, because incentives for data can both improve a network’s quality while also laying out on-ramps for the average user.
When people want to join the “Information Superhighway” (better known as the internet), all they need is an internet-connected tablet, phone, computer, Alexa, or thousands of other devices made by thousands of manufacturers. When people want to join Project Oblio, they will need a consumer EEG or a pair of SpiritPhones, which can themselves be used for tons of other things outside the network as well. It might be the missing ingredient for a currency-like system to have an engine running off products that perform useful work for a user outside the actual currency system, so that a user can not only earn value with significant potential, but also better themselves. That is, for a currency to become popular, it should have goals of improving something other than the thickness of its initial investors’ wallets. It should have tenants that extend beyond the realm of corporate ideals.