As you may have noticed, the Humanode 101 series is a casual Q & A to assist those who are new to Humanode, Crypto, Blockchain projects, and/or those who at the stage that they have been around the Humanode community for a while, but are too afraid to ask questions.
In our last episode, we talked about how Humanode will change everything, and that the Humanode is a layer one technology, that it is Sybil resistant, is based on an auditable pseudonymous biometric identification (cryptobiometrics), utilizes the Proof of Existence and Proof of Uniqueness, and that it is designed to be fair and just.
Today, we hope to dig a little deeper on some of the topics concerning the one person = one node = one vote principles.
Q. Wait. Before you go any further…. Let me get this straight. With all said and done, and with all the bells and whistles, Humanode is basically just another crypto project with a crypto currency that you buy and sell right?
Well…. It is true that the Humanode has a currency (HMND token) that can be bought and sold once we go public. And yes, we are building a fair and secure decentralized financial platform utilizing our cryptobiometric blockchain protocol. Having said that, if Humanode was only that, I don’t think a single team member here would be as dedicated to this project as they are.
To be honest, what we are building is the infrastructure for a decentralized cryptobiometric platform. With this infrastructure in place, we are building a platform for decentralized finance, a system with a one human one vote DAO (or decentralized governance), a highly secure, private, and Sybil resistant decentralized platform that will allow users to use their biometrics for a number of logins and services, and a platform that other services and projects can build upon. Although this might be too simplistic of an answer, but as an example, the Dolby sound system is just an audio, visual, and voice technology that makes things sound realistic and good, but it is everywhere (TV, Movies, Games, and Music). Without Dolby, we wouldn’t have the sound quality that we enjoy and depend upon. I actually don’t know how many here remember life before Dolby. We believe that Humanode will be that “Dolby” system for biometric identification (no, not audio and visual) in decentralized projects (and even perhaps centralized services) that no one would want to live without.
Oh, and one fact that you may be interested to know, is that the Humanode token is not tied to the governance. This means that how much HMND you own or do not own does not limit your ability to govern. And because the right to launch a human node is not tied to the native token, it allows the implementation of any monetary system without the necessity of conforming to the requirements of capital-based Sybil-defense systems. This means that with human nodes replacing staked assets (such as in PoW or PoS mechanisms), it is now possible to avoid a disproportion of token emission between those who stake, validate, or simply hold the asset.
Q. You keep mentioning Sybil resistance and Sybil defense. I know it is probably something that I should just google, but I’m too lazy. What the hell is it?
To keep it simple, a Sybil defense is there to prevent a Sybil attack. Easy right? Oh, what is a Sybil attack then? Well, a Sybil attack is a type of attack on a computer network service in which an attacker subverts the service's reputation system by creating a large number of pseudonymous identities and uses them to gain a disproportionately large influence. In simple terms, let’s say we are on a social network where I need 100 upvotes to get access to special content. What if I just had 100 extra accounts in my pocket to give me the required upvotes? What if I was selling something on an e-commerce site, and using those extra accounts, or bots, upvoted my crappy product that is basically designed to rip people off? What if I wanted to harass a dissatisfied customer online, pretending to be 1000 different people? What if I was caught, got my account suspended or banned, and I just opened up a new account to start it all over again?
What if I was able to launch 100 human nodes with fake identities, and gain the transaction fees for 100 nodes? What if we were talking about governance, and I wanted to pass a resolution that would benefit me alone, and could utilize thousands of bots or fake accounts to make that happen? What if I wanted to go further and create more than 51% of the nodes with fake identities, and take full control of a network?
Sybil attacks are really powerful when they target public and permissionless systems because in most cases these systems can’t decide upon anything without reaching a consensus. In a nutshell, the system goes where the majority of the validation power leads it to.
This is where a consensus mechanism comes into play (as we discussed in the previous episode). So, in order to defend against Sybil attacks, the Humanode team came up with an idea that combines liveness detection with cryptobiometrics which is private and secure, preventing bots, face masks, photos, video feeds, deep fakes and so on from being able to join or affect the network. Basically, what is important is that there is only 1 person behind that biometric identity, thus you know that the person behind the identity is a real human being, and although they may be pseudonymous, the account is tied to a user that is recognized as that identity by the system (which also means, if he is a malicious actor, he can be blacklisted and/or blocked from the network). This allows us to base our network on a one person, one node, one vote system, and is the key to a fair and truly decentralized platform.
Oh, and for those who really want to ask… the name Sybil in Sybil attacks and defense, comes from the 1973 book called Sybil, by Flora Rheta Schreiber, a case study of a woman diagnosed with multiple personality disorder and her many “identities”. The term “Sybil Attack” was said to be suggested in (or before) 2002 by Brian Zill at Microsoft Research.
Q. Ok, so you are saying that Sybil resistance is the key for fair governance. How does governance work in Humanode?
Governance in the Humanode network is decentralized from genesis and is known as Vortex—the Humanode DAO, a Decentralized Autonomous Organization to propose changes, vote on, and rule over the changes.
As you know by now, one human node has one vote. No matter if you are a founding member of Humanode, the richest man in the Universe, The smartest programmer in the ecosystem, or someone who just loves the idea of the Humanode and wants to be part of it, you all have the same voting power that consists of 1 equally weighted vote each.
To get a little more in-depth, Vortex consists of human nodes, delegators, and governors.
1.Human node—a user who has gone through proper biometric processing and receives network transaction fees but does not participate in governance.
2.Governor—a human node who participates in voting procedures according to governing requirements. If governing requirements are not met, the protocol converts him back to a non-governing human node automatically.
3.Delegator—a governor who decides to delegate his voting power to another governor.
One question you may have is, but how do you keep the Vortex going, considering many do not have in-depth knowledge of the protocol or the network, voter apathy is everywhere, and populism can lead to disasters?
Well, that is why we built a tiered governance system that is based on how long you have governed (proof of time), and how you have contributed (proof of devotion). There are 4 tiers (governor, senator, legate, and consul) , and each tier has requirements, such as how long they have contributed as a governor, or your level of participation in the votes.
The higher the tier, the more topics you can propose. Say, a regular governor may only be able to make proposals concerning products, or designs, or a change in the logo, whereas the highest tier governor (a Consul) would be able to make proposals that affect the core of the system and is able to Veto some proposals that the Consul feels would harm the system (the vetoed proposal goes back to the pool, and can be voted on again. A single proposal can be vetoed up to 2 times, before it can no longer be vetoed).
In a nutshell, we want people who care about the system and have an adequate knowledge of the system to be able make proposals that matter, and be able to deliberate amongst peers who also care about the system.
For this reason, the only major requirement to become a governor is to of course be a human node, but also to have made at least one proposal (or be part of the team that has made the proposal), and have it approved by the Vortex (which will initially consist of the core team and founding members).
One very important fact to be aware of is that just because you become a governor, you do not get any “monetary gains” or “extra perks” other than the fact you get to participate in the governance of the network that you care about (and earn “gains” as a whole community by making it better and increasing its value!). Governors only have the power to make proposals, and vote on the proposals. Other than that, you are absolutely equal to all other nodes. Yes, all nodes are absolutely equal to all other nodes. You own the same amount of rights, and share an equal amount of stake in the network.
Q. But, if I have to have a proposal accepted before I become a governor, how in the world do I make the proposal!?
Well, this one is simple. If you are connected to the Humanode community, you will be able to make the proposals in the community and gain traction that would most likely be picked up by governors, or alternatively, you should be able to identify members of the core team and pitch the proposal to them directly! We will also be developing tools that can be used to make proposals for projects. The key here is to be actively involved! Or, at least active enough to be able to identify those who are working on the various projects and are known to the community.
Q. So, let’s say I have a great idea that gets accepted. You guys make it happen right?
It really depends. Let's say it is an extension to an ongoing project or product. Well, there is a good chance that the team working on it may adopt the proposal and make it happen. This could be anything from wanting a different color scheme to the logo or UI/UX, to wanting new content for the Humanode Media.
If we are talking about integration with existing services that want to use our cryptobiometric protocol, yes we have team members that specialize in that.
However, what we are really looking for are people and teams who have great ideas and will want to build products that will enhance the network, further advance Humanode, and make the user experience better!
And in order to make this happen, we have Formation, which is a grant system that will allow builders to get a proper budget, and recruit team members to build the product that was approved in the Vortex! (We will go a little more in-depth in the next episode of Humanode 101)
Q. So…. How do I become a Humanode?
For the mainnet, we will be starting with a limited number of nodes, and you may find yourself waiting in line until the network expands. Having said that, if you are interested in participating in the testnet, which will get you much more involved in the community, you can download the software here! Install, go through biometric authentication, and launch the node! (information can be found here.)
See you again next week in Humanode 101 Part III!