We believe people equipped with the Truth will improve the worldBecause the Truth Matters
For those of you who are old enough to remember, in the mid-1990’s with the evolution of the internet and a new advertising supported publishing model, many new media executives shouted from the rooftops that they have democratized access to the creation and distribution of content, and that the divide between the professional and amateur journalist has come to an end. This, indeed, did occur.
However, what many (not all) failed to anticipate while in the midst of self gratification and laying claim to a new revolution of publishing was that there may be a need for some sort of global editorial system, built with the same industrial scaling capabilities of the publishing tools themselves. Although some of us realized that click bate could be a moral hazard, we failed to take this seriously.
In hindsight I am not sure how we missed this much needed ethical publishing requirement but we did. Whatever the reason — we clearly missed one of the single greatest hazards which has led us to the creation of fake, biased, politically charged, misleading, negligent and low quality published content.
Not unlike so many great technologies that were created for the purposes of doing good and enabling change, the publishing technologies developed in the 1990s and honed ever since have been hijacked by people, groups, publishers and countries with the single purpose of altering the truth for purposes of generating clicks, destroying personalities, modifying elections, or lying for the sake of self-interest.
We believe a major 21st Century crisis is brewing and it is going to be securing access to truthful content in text, video and photographic form. It is with this belief that we have created PROOF.
Over a long weekend in spring of 2017, the idea of Proof was born. While having very surreal conversations of blockchain technologies and its possibilities, Luigi and Chris envisioned a new type of editorial system, where people (referred to as Voters) are incentivized with tokens to vote on the truthfulness of content. Both founders, spending a majority of their careers studying market behavior as practitioners and academics, recognized over a few weeks that the wisdom of crowds and the shared economy can be used to assist in uncovering truth in content. It was with this initial premise that Proof was born.
After countless hours of debate and while collaborating with smart applied economists, mathematicians and blockchain programmers we designed the initial Proof platform. Proof is, at its most basic core a market based platform using the wisdom of crowds and the shared economy coupled with well designed incentives, applied microeconomic theories and a strong governance system to create a unique, inexpensive and scalable solution to solve society’s problem of fake news and untruthful content.
Proof is an online platform where a community is incentivized to submit, research and vote on the truthfulness of content.
Although Proof is currently in development with version 1 coming to the market in Q4 2018, it is being developed for multiple users (community members) who can engage and receive incentives for their work. We envision three primary community members that will engage on Proof. We anticipate that some of our community members will only want to provide us content that they believe is questionable and are relying on our community to vote on the factual content of the article. We refer to these users as Submitters. The second community member, the Reader, is anticipated to be the person who comes to the platform to experience the community’s proprietary news analytics. The third community member is our Voter, who wants to use their skills, and knowledge to assist in voting on the truthfulness of a content’s facts. Together, these members make up our Proof community and each of the members receive different incentives, some of which are paid in our native token – Proofs.
Although there is very serious technology and applied microeconomic theories underlying the Proof architecture, our value lies with our community. All of our decisions on the platform are tailored to increasing the positive incentives and decreasing the negative incentives for our community members, while at the same time pushing for our members to receive proper reward for their work. It is this philosophy that we believe will ensure that solving the problem of fake news and increasing the quality of content will be met.
Wisdom of the Crowds
For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of the Wisdom of Crowds, hopefully this high level overview will suffice for the time being. As we progress in our development and when appropriate we will provide the science behind our wisdom of crowd voting mechanism, so be on the lookout for that.
Proof relies on the Wisdom of the Crowds to establish truth.
The wisdom of crowds is also referred to as collective intelligence and explains the experience by which, under the appropriate conditions, aggregated individual decisions provide highly reliable judgments which are by almost all measures greater than any one individual over time. This experience has played an important role in economics, where understanding the behavior of crowds is often essential in explaining economic outcomes. Since its early adoption in economics, the wisdom of crowds has shown great success and has been utilized in political science, sociology, psychology, games, and business to solve very simple and complex problems.
One of earliest experiments with the wisdom of crowds, and one very easily understood and fun to read was completed by Sir Francis Galton in the early 20th century. A weight judging competition was held at the West of England Fat Stock and Poultry Exhibition. At this competition, and for a fee competitors purchased the opportunity to guess the weight of an ox, with the anticipation of winnings to the best guessers. The guess of each individual was not shared with the crowd. The fee to participate deterred those less serious and encouraged those who really wanted to win. The competitors included butchers and farmers, and other people who had almost no experience guessing the weight of an ox. The crowd was diverse, made up of all different types of people, with different skills and backgrounds. What Galton discovered from this competition was that the midpoint of all guesses from the crowd (median), what he referred to as a the “voice of the people,” was accurate to within 1% of the ox’s true weight.
This experiment showed that when a diverse community participates in democratic judgment with proper incentives, blind votes and the right governance, the crowd will be more accurate than individuals by themselves.
Let us take you on a thought experiment….Imagine a world in which there was no trust in our news and publishing outlets; a world where everyone was suspicious of content and many people were calling content fake when it was not, or true when it was fake. In this world, an increase in disagreement occurs as people align with their biases and opinions rather than with science and reason. In this world, political elections can be swayed, lives ruined, wealth erased and so many horrific downstream effects. Is this possible?
On the heels of this thought experiment, we have created a new mechanism to restore global trust in publishing with the hopes of decreasing and increasing the incentives for untruthful and truthful reporting, respectively. To achieve this grand vision of Proof, we require an engaged community of readers, submitters and voters. The most incentivized of these three community members is our voter, who can vote on articles, submit articles and read on the platform.
Our community of voters are people of all types who believe they have a special skill or knowledge in a particular subject, and are willing to share their knowledge in exchange for a performance based incentive. Our voters have skills and knowledge in subjects such as roller coaster engineering, cannabis cultivation, and egyptology to more common knowledge in automobile mechanics, literature and politics. Our voters may come from the Ivey Tower, but more likely they will come from various industries and groups where they have amassed substantial domain expertise and are looking to monetize this expertise in a capacity where they can help change the world, while at the same time being rewarded for it.
Although the underlying voting architecture is complex, the mechanism to vote on content is quite simple. First, our voters register with Proof, provide basic information about themselves and help us understand what they want to see and read, and are also verified as real people, and not bots. Upon successful registration, and in order to vote on the platform our voters are required to buy Proofs which are recorded in their Proof wallet. Voters are sent notifications to vote on content or they can quick search on articles to read and validate. Our Voters only objective is to vote on the facts in the content. Voters will vote with Proofs, meaning that they will vote more Proofs when they are confident with the facts they validated and less Proofs when they are not. There is no minimum Proof vote. It is also important to note that our voter’s provide a blind vote, and no one will know the outcome of the vote prior to it closing and the outcome revealed. Upon meeting certain statistical measures, the vote will close, and the group with the majority of the votes wins.
Luigi D’Onorio DeMeo
For the past eight (8) years, I held various positions including my role as a Trader at Citigroup, specializing in equity securities and credit derivatives.
My passion for financial markets led to a deep interest and appreciation into crypto-assets and cryptoeconomic protocols. I view this technology as having the ability to fix what is broke with the internet and building Proof is part of that mission.
As a Co-founder of Proof, my role is to help set the vision and path for the product and to work with the team to build the best community possible. My promise is to never compromise on quality and to always remember why we are building Proof.
Paolo D’Onorio DeMeo
Prior to my role as the Chief Technology Officer at Proof, I was a senior full stack developer having led teams with various flagship projects such as EUDAT, EOSC-hub, Human Brain and SeaDataCloud.
For more than fifteen years, I have built applications in the distributed cloud to ease access and processing of big data. A fan of virtual infrastructure, blockchain systems, containers and micro services, ansible and REST APIs backends, I am always striving to find the zen in coding.
Most recently, I worked on a project building an automated crypto trading algorithm that led to a deeper appreciation for blockchain technology. Ethereum and solidity based smart contracts excite me and it is my belief that there is a potential to change how people interact and think about trust.
As the Director of Marketing at Proof, I will be focusing on engaging and growing our new community members. Prior to my role at Proof, I held various positions in both sales and marketing driving corporate growth, innovation and great relationships.
I believe that the ‘power of positivity’ has proven to be, not only a key to my success, but the driving force behind it. Throughout my career, I am humbled to have received such accolades as Top Sales Producer, True Professional of the Year and Employee of the Year, while also earning the reputation of being a “Straight Shooter” by my friends, peers and colleagues.
Having a genuine interest in the blockchain technology, and my passion for truth, I knew that Proof would be the perfect fit. Since graduating with a Political Science Degree from Montclair State University, I have attended Graduate Courses on Education and have earned my Certified Fraud Examiners Certification.
Christopher W. Young
As co-founder of a startup my role is, well, undefined. My daily task is to help build our Proof community, to understand what excites them about the platform, or what can be enhanced. Some people may call this role, strategic marketing, others may call it strategy. At the core of my responsibility is to understand our users and to work with our product management team to build the best community experience possible. Additionally, part of my role, wearing my economics hat, is to work with our economic advisory team to ensure we have the best voting mechanism possible and to always be in front of the changing science in this area. Prior to Proof I wore many hats, and some I still do so. I am professor of business ethics at Rutgers Business School where I enjoy working with young minds as they think about their careers and choices they make in business. Feel free to look at my LInkedIn profile if you would like to learn more.
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