One of the greatest things about the web or sns for many is not just the fact that you can gain knowledge, buy stuff that you can't get at the local store, or the fact that you can communicate across the globe, but it is the ability to do so while remaining somewhat anonymous.
Sure, there are things that require your personal information, like the address of the place you want your amazon order to arrive at, or payment information. But that doesn’t mean you want everyone to know that you are known as the “Devilbunny69” on your favorite online games, or are known as “Trollipop” who claims to be “The worst Instagram troll on the west coast".
In reality, it is not that everyone wants to hide their activities so that they can commit a crime, or bring out their hidden personality so they can go around slandering people, bitch all they want, or commit character assassination without having to take any responsibility. The reason is simple: they want to enjoy privacy.
Most people simply want to enjoy the world and what the web offers without having to worry about people hunting them down for “disliking a post”, having your home swatted while you are live-streaming due to some 14-year-old who thought it may be funny, having their co-workers laugh at you because of the manga you ordered online or the porn you took a peek at, becoming the targets of crime or scam just because you looked like an easy target online, or in the worst case, becoming the targets of a hate crime just because of your color or belief, or just for being.
On the flip side, there is a growing social concern about the ability of people, or organizations that hide behind the mask of anonymity just so they can do whatever they want, without ever having to take any responsibility. People have to assume that 99% of the people they meet online are scammers, and those who they hope aren't, are probably scammers impersonating real people. They also know that 99% of the news or posts online is probably fake news, propaganda fed by “interested parties” (or their opponents), or clickbait set by scammers or profiteers.
The Federal Trade Commission of the USA received 2.9 million fraud reports from consumers in 2021, and consumers reported losing more than $6.1 billion to fraud in 2021, an increase of more than 70 percent over the previous year. More than $2.3 billion of losses reported were due to imposter scams—up from $1.2 billion in 2020, while online shopping accounted for about $392 million in reported losses from consumers—up from $246 million in 2020.
This is one of the reasons why there have been countless debates at all levels of society about how to balance privacy and accountability. In general, society as a whole seems to be ok with allowing people to be pseudonymous on the surface, but depending on the type or level of service, demand a higher level of accountability through certification, official documentation, or tying your existing services with a device (such as your mobile phone) which would have required official documentation.
Naturally, there are often loopholes, and there are major hurdles and costs associated with the protection of the gathered personal information.
And to make matters worse, there is a general distrust towards the corporations gathering personal information, even if it is for “security reasons” due to the fact that the corporations are known for selling the gathered data for profit. Although they say your privacy is protected, everybody knows that they have to make a choice. Be exploited by criminals, or be exploited by corporations.
Even if we look at the issue on a smaller scale, such as social media, a multitude of issues derives from the issue of privacy vs. accountability. Such as… how many real users did Twitter have anyway? Or... So, the Russian government was said to be able to “hack” or “influence” the 2016 US presidential election by creating an army of fake accounts and organizations that spewed fake “facts” left, right, and center on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, but there really is no way to stop fake accounts or bots to balance “free speech” and “accountability” right? People still sell and buy “likes” “comments” or “followers” generated by bot farms on YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter, right?
So, what is Humanode doing about it?
On a much smaller scale. For many blockchain projects, dealing with Sybil attacks has become a nightmare, and it is almost impossible to hold an actual AMA session with actual human beings. AirDrops? Whitelisting? Can you even keep fake accounts and bots out of them? Trying to keep scammers out of your community chat is like trying to win an Academy award for your 6-sec performance on TikTok. It is impossible!
So, being fed up with this, the Humanode team decided to use our layer 1 Auditable Pseudonymous Cryptobiometric identity technology that was developed for Humanode, to see if we could do some spring cleaning.
The key here is that it is 1. Auditable, meaning it can be held accountable, it is 2. Pseudonymous, meaning it is private, and you can use your Devilbunny69 identity without having people know that you are a 13-year-old from Timbuktu whose real name is Baron Trump, 3. It is Cryptobiometric, meaning that the only data gathered is, if the scanned face is unique (meaning that a duplicate face can’t be in the system. i.e. checking if you are in the system or not), and if you are alive (as in if you are a living human being vs. a photo, deep fake, mask, stolen data) or not.
In simple terms, we have a user, or users-to-be, bioauthenticate themselves by scanning their face via our app. If you are a unique user who is alive, you can “authenticate” your account (for whatever service it is applicable for) as an account that has an actual user behind it.
The Humanode team, and system, do not care who you are or what you do. We are absolutely not interested in your private information, nor will we be storing your personal information, and we don’t even know anything concerning your account. All our enclaved server knows is if the account has been authenticated or not.
Introducing Bot Basher
As the first target of the app, the Humanode team decided to choose Discord. Why? Because we are tired of having to deal with bots, fake accounts, and Sybil attacks on OUR discord server. I mean seriously. Humanode is a bio-authentication protocol. Why do we have to suffer from Sybil attacks in our community? Why should our community have to suffer the consequences of not being able to enjoy possible community activities due to bots or users trying to hog rewards with multiple accounts?
This is how it works. A user can choose one account that they want to bio-authenticate. Currently, the price set for Bio-Authenticating an account is $1 US per year. Once a user Bio-Authenticates his or her account, that account will be recognized as a “Bio-Authenticated Account”, allowing the servers to assign a role that will allow the user to join channels or activities that are limited to such accounts. Oh, and just in case you don’t know, all profits from this service are equally shared by all Humanode Validators.
All the Discord servers get to know from this process is that there is an actual user behind that account, and it is a unique account. Why? Because unless you are really two-faced, you only have one face, and when your account is tied to the cryptographic keys generated from the 3D mapping of your face scan, it is not possible to tie your face to another account.
The good news is that you only need to do this once. All Discord servers that utilize the Humanode Bot Basher will recognize your account as one that has been Authenticated, so you only really need to do it once a year.
So, why would anybody want to do this?
There are benefits for both the users (well, for most non scammer users) and the projects that run the servers.
As a user, you will be able to differentiate yourself from bots and be assured that the other people in the “authenticated user only” channels are real people who don’t roam around with 20 different accounts (at least in these channels). If there is a vote in these channels, or perhaps an airdrop, whitelisting, or a giveaway, you will have equal opportunity as everyone else in the channel. No more fighting against members with 50 accounts and 200 bots. There is also a better chance of users being more careful about what they do or say. After all, if they get banned from that channel, it is impossible for them to just drop that account and log in under another identity.
As an operator of a server, the benefits are just as great if not greater.
I mean… How many admins have experienced Sybil attacks? Let’s say you wanted to do a contest, and have everyone vote on the winner, only to have 50000 bots vote for the guy who put in the least effort, and have him run away with the $100 prize? How did you deal with Sybil attacks for whitelisting or airdrops?
What about that guy that keeps coming back like a zombie? You had to develop extra steps to protect your server and community from that user’s spam, rants, and scams! You have had him banned a million times, but damn, he just created a new account!
You would love to have actual AMA’s with the community, but 99% of the people who attend them are bots who spam questions that have nothing to do with your project trying to “farm” all of the rewards! After a few of those sessions, absolutely no one treats AMA sessions seriously.
But more importantly, the VC group that is thinking of investing in you wants to know how many “actual users” are in your community, and you have no idea because there is absolutely no way of knowing!
Just by adding a private and secure method of authenticating that your users are real human beings, new possibilities, and business opportunities become available.
As an example… If you are part of an emerging blockchain project, you are bombarded with messages about “having an AMA with our community for $400 to $3000 depending on the package!”. They claim that they have over 160,000 users, although only about 2,000 to 5,000 may be online at any given moment. You do an AMA, and you cry, because you paid $600, out of the 700 people that were supposedly attending, only 2 showed any kind of reaction, and the 3,000 questions posted could be boiled down to a template of 8 questions that have absolutely nothing to do with what you talked about.
Sure, if you are the one who started the scammy AMA service, everything is all right as long as there is a newbie to fall into your trap. Life couldn’t be better, while it lasts.
But what if you were business-minded, and sensed that the current AMA market is shrinking due to people realizing that there is no merit in throwing money down the toilet?
What if you just happened to realize that there is an actual need for a platform that could bring projects and potential users/investors together for a true AMA session based on actual verified human beings? What if you could market your platform based on the number of verified unique users?
After all, you know that being able to market actual live verified unique users has much more value to your customers. Perhaps you may even be able to set up a premium stage for select users interested in specific topics, and do live voting and Q&A without having to worry about spam? Wouldn’t you be able to set the standard by offering a new business model for AMA sessions to introduce new and innovative products and projects to your community?
As someone from an emerging blockchain project, an actual platform with actual users to talk to would be something that we could consider participating in, as it has actual value.
Sybil-resistant voting is also something that can change how communities work. Say the consensus model is based on PoS or PoW and you know exactly whose votes are needed to pass a resolution, or know that a select group of people will always vote a specific way, but are wondering what the actual community feels about the proposal. After all, in reality, 98% of the people participating in the project may feel neglected because the 2% of the people who hold 70% of the voting power never listen, and they are losing interest in the project. If those 2% just happen to be the founders or VCs, or powerful mining groups, they may just want to, even just for a reference, hear if their actions are in line with what the community wants or needs. Because, hey, with all said and done, the opinion of the “powerless” 98% may determine the fate of the project, thus how much you could earn or lose.
What it all boils down to is the fact that people want to be heard. They want to know their voice matters, even if they don’t have the power to directly determine the outcome of the vote.
Some communities like to encourage their community members or users to participate in discussions or activities or want to reward them for their faithfulness. What if those projects can compensate actual users, rather than bots? Wouldn’t you think actual human beings would be interested in participating if they thought they would have a chance and didn’t need to compete with Bot armies?
Some servers could have channels for those who are bio-authenticated, and those who are not (for privacy concerns or whatever). Some servers may have it that only channels that involve voting or whitelisting require bio-authentication. Then again, some may just have one room open for non-authenticated users, requiring all actual users to be bio-authenticated. Naturally, there will be servers that don’t care or do not see any benefits in doing so.
Whatever choices the servers make, it is totally up to them. But as Humanode, we believe it is a necessary step for better community interaction.
After implementing the Bot Basher for Discord, the next step will be Telegram. After that, it all depends on what the market wants.
Personally speaking though, the Billions of $ Twitter lost due to not knowing, or not wanting to know how many actual users they had? They could have charged their users $1 per account to have them be “bio-authorised” accounts, and could have instantly figured out how many users they actually have, without sacrificing the privacy of their users, and without having to spend even more money in trying to fight Sybil attacks from users, hackers, scammers, governments, and specific interest groups. Unless that is, they just want to scam investors and users until they get caught.
For more information about humanode, visit: https://humanode.io