This Is Where It All Began
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.
This is Proof
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.
The Need for Proof
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. Its with this belief that we have created PROOF.
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.
The 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.