While Ethereum’s global Blockchain community was meeting in Bangkok during the Asia-Pacific Ethereum Community Meetup, the company’s founder, Vitalik Buterin decided to take on an even bigger social problem: fake news and the world of false information.
The founder of the biggest global Blockchain revealed his plans for the ambitious project which aimed at tackling the falsification of information and unwanted internet spam.
Paying for the Right to Pester
During his speech, Buterin started out by diagnosing the realm of social media networks and the internet. For Buterin, the public cryptographic keys that are used for the internet are secure enough to protect it from government censorship, but today, if “the internet cannot easily be censored, it can be completely manipulated.”
Theses keys that he spoke of are the encrypted algorithms that have been used since 1996 to protect the exchange of information on the internet.
Buterin also paid tribute to Cynthia Dwork and Moni Naor, who back in 1992 were already talking about making the internet safer by using a penal system to fight against unwanted, falsified information. However, their initiatives never fully took root since digital money did not exist back then and could not be linked to a specific email address.
The creation and implementation of such a penal system would require that email provider embed a system of demerit points into their services and that all users start out with the same amount. Also, the system would require that users do not report spam or false information in bad faith.
However, in terms of privacy, it would not be efficient to entrust the arbitration of the messages into the hands of men. Instead, it would be necessary to confide the parsing of information to DAO or Data Access Object.
An Automated Collection Agency
Once the question of mediation has been taken care of, we are left wondering how those who contravene the rules will be penalized. Buterin proposes the use of a system known as TrustDavis which uses six degrees of separation and the third-party knowledge of an internet user to withdraw penalties from their accounts at any time.
Therefore, the system would use the sender and receiver’s connections to mediate the information and would then, charge the perpetrator for the infraction.
In the future, Ethereum’s founder would like to see this system extended into social network to help in the fight against the spread of false information.
By using examples specific to his own experience, as well as those of Elon Musk, Buterin showed that the system could not properly function by relying on the likes and dislikes of internet users. With Twitter as an example, he showed that a system of mediation ran by humans would be highly inefficient. Instead, he prefers the use of a source code known as a DAO (Data Access Object).
Ethereum’s founder would like to see bad behavior not only cost a user money, but also restrict their activities on a network, at least until they manage to settle their balance.
In the meantime, initiatives like this are becoming increasingly important as fake news continues to propagate itself around the internet more and more every day.