Bringing trust to Bitcoin
It appears Cal Peterson and Thomas Stringer are cooking up a little something interesting.The blurb is light on detail, but awfully specific:
eBay-style reviews for Bitcoin
Read and write reviews of Bitcoin users to help the community judge who is trustworthy
This, presumably, refers to the scheme whereby users on eBay accrue a numerical reputation score as they continue to pull off successful trades, and lose a bit of it when they mess up a transaction.
The Libertarian editor, Stringer, explained “Bitcoin is based on users trust, rather than central authorities, which has made users vulnerable to theft, via market places closing and taking users Bitcoin.” This is certainly the case, since MtGox failed it would be understandable if people were unwilling to deal with Bitcoin; unable to decide who to trust. This is, of course, entirely consistent with the theory of the Micklethwait Alpha, and should not be surprising.
Stringer continued “one of the major advancements of Bitcoin is the ability to have almost no fee transactions. But using the marketplace model has meant that this possibility hasn’t been fully utilised by vendors.” it is true that big name sites such as Silk Road and it’s replacements have dominated the scene by offering a comfortable buying experience and some semblance of order. Stringer believes that by relying on this model, vendors are committing to higher transaction fees than necessary.
“in a competitive industry, a few percent saved on every sale is potentially very valuable, it can build up very quickly. Using our trust rating on their site will mean that users will be able to know which independent sites are legit and which aren’t. Meaning that for those sellers who would prefer to sell via their own site they can do so, without the worry that they are loosing customers who only buy off people with reputation scores they trust (i.e. from people who sell via Ebay or amazon, Etsy etc.”
The product – named Trust Hub
– is not finished, although interested parties can register their interest in it. Plenty of things can go wrong, not least with the scale of the system. A mere 500,000 people use Bitcoin (give or take
a few million), which sounds like a lot (and it is if a good portion use it regularly) but it can get a lot worse than that. If it does take off, it will probably do so quickly and that’s the danger.
Cal Peterson, the techy one, is probably feeling a bit of pressure now to ensure his system not only works for today, but can scale up as Bitcoin grows. I would be very interested to find out how he’s put it together.