​vitalik and other latest papers: Decentralized society finds the soul of Web3 (Part 2)

“The Tao is the secret of all things, the treasure of good people, and the protection of bad people”

– “Lao Tzu” Chapter 62


“Decentralized Society: Finding the Soul of Web3” is the latest paper by Vitalik et al. This paper describes how to achieve a richer and more diverse ecosystem through soul-bound tokens, namely “Decentralized Society (DeSoc) and Critical Decomposable Property Rights and Enhanced Governance Mechanisms in a Decentralized Society”. Therefore, the DAOrayaki community translated this article and organized multiple Podcasts for in-depth analysis. Because the full text is too long, we will distribute it in three parts: first, middle and second.

§7 Challenges in implementation

Privacy concerns are a key challenge for DeSoc. On the one hand, too many public SBTs may reveal too much about the soul, which makes them passive and “socially controlled”. On the other hand, too many purely private SBTs will also lead to the issue of correlation discount between private communication channels and the level of social governance and coordination, which reflects the importance of incentive compatibility issues. Also closely related to the issue of privacy is the issue of deception: souls may communicate through private or other auxiliary channels, thereby distorting their communal solidarity. It is impossible for us to know all the possibilities and answers along the way, so we need to deeply explore the nature of these difficulties and chart a promising path for the future.

7.1 Private Souls

The system of the blockchain is public by default, and any relationship recorded on the chain is immediately visible not only to the participants, but also to anyone in the world. Having multiple aliases preserves some privacy: a family soul, a health soul, a professional soul, and a political soul, each corresponding to different SBTs. But if these pseudonyms are superficial, outsiders can easily connect these souls, and the consequences of this behavior are serious. So, the “naive” act of simply putting all SBTs on-chain could result in a large amount of personal information being exposed across a multitude of applications if steps are not taken to protect privacy.

To address the problem of over-disclosure, there are many solutions with varying degrees of technical sophistication and functionality. The easiest way is to store data off-chain through SBT, leaving only the hash value of the on-chain data.

​vitalik and other latest papers: Decentralized society finds the soul of Web3 (Part 2)

On-chain data (fully public) Off-chain data On-chain hash (owner can choose when to show it)

How to store off-chain data is up to individuals to choose, and viable solutions include (i) their own devices, (ii) trusted cloud services, and (iii) decentralized networks such as the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS). Storing data off-chain allows us to have the right to write SBT data in the smart contract, while having the separate right to read that data. Bob can choose to display the contents of any of his SBTs (or other data stored there) only if he wants to. This is a big improvement, and because most data only needs to be processed by a small number of people, it further increases the scalability of the technology. But to fully realize features such as protecting multiple privacy (Annotation: refers to various types of privacy or (and) a collection of privacy), it is necessary to dig deeper into the relationship in more detail. Fortunately, many encryption techniques can help us at this point.

There is now a powerful set of buildable modules that support a new way of partially displaying data information, which is called “Zero Knowledge Proofs”, a branch of cryptography. While zero-knowledge proofs are commonly used today for the privacy protection of asset transfers, they also allow people to prove arbitrary statements without revealing any information other than the statement itself. For example, in a world where government documents and other proof information can be cryptographically proven, someone could prove a statement like “I’m a Canadian citizen, 18+, have a college degree in economics, have over 50,000 Twitter followers, and someone No account has been registered in this system yet.”

Zero-knowledge proofs can be computed on SBTs to prove characteristics about a soul (such as that it has certain members). This technique can be further extended by introducing multi-party computation techniques (such as garbled circuit computation), which make the proof process two-way double private: the verifiers do not reveal who they are, and the verifiers do not reveal their verification mechanisms. In this process, both parties calculate together, and only the information is output.

Another technique is to designate validator proofs. In general, “data” is unreliable: if I send you a movie, I can’t technically prevent you from recording it and sending it to a third party. Methods like digital rights management (DRM) are limited and often costly to users. But the “evidence” is sound in some way, if Amma wants to prove to Bob some property X of her SBTs, she can make a zero-knowledge proof of the following statement: “I hold SBTs that satisfy property X, or I Possesses the access key to Bob’s soul.” Bob is persuaded by this statement: Amma must actually hold SBTs satisfying property X because he knows he has not made a proof, but if bob passes the proof to Cuifen, Cuifen does not Will be persuaded: Because as far as he knows, bob can prove it through his own soul access key. At this point the proof can be further strengthened using verifiable delay functions (VDFs): Amma can show a proof that can only be made now with the required SBTs, but someone else will have to wait 5 minutes later. This means that access to trusted proofs of the data is possible, although there is no choice over the different types of raw data itself (possibly copied and pasted). Just as traceability in blockchain transactions can prevent someone from copying and pasting valuable NFTs (and the original sender of a sybil attack), SBTs can provide traceability in propagation, which can at least reduce uncertainty of provenance. The value of the data (copy-paste).

These off-chain data and zero-knowledge technologies are compatible with negative reputation (embodied by SBTs), and they will still be shown even if the holder does not want them to be seen. Negative reputation includes credit history, outstanding loan data, negative reviews and complaints from business partners, as well as the degree of harmony with relevant social relationships as evidenced by SBTs. The combination of blockchain and related cryptography could lead to a potential solution: smart contracts could force souls to incorporate negative SBTs into a data structure such as a Merkle tree stored off-chain, any zero-knowledge proofs or All garbled circuit calculations need to introduce this information, otherwise, there will be a visible “gap” in the data provided and the verifier will be identified. The Unirep protocol is an example.

The point of these examples is not to illustrate how cryptography can be used to solve all the privacy and data permission issues of SBTs. Rather, it outlines a few examples to demonstrate the power of these technologies. An important future research direction is to determine the boundaries between different types of data permissions, and the specific combination of technologies best suited to achieve the desired permission level. Another question is what type of compound property regime is required for data governance, and how to separate usage rights (“usus”), build rights (“abusus”), and benefit rights (“fructus”).

7.2 Cheating Souls

If SBTs are the social basis for coordinating composite property, networked goods, and intellect, there is concern that souls may enter communities through subterfuge or deception to gain governance or property rights licensed by SBTs. For example, if many application directions rely on SBTs that can represent conference attendance, then there may be situations where these SBTs are used in exchange for bribes. If enough people are bribed, humans (and bots) generate a false social picture divided by (false) SBTs. Just as DAOs can be bribed, so can souls and the on-chain voting mechanism they use. Conversely, if SBTs are used to impair collaboration, the impact of SBTs can be mitigated. Why should we believe that the SBTs that souls have are actually living up to their social commitments, rather than simply telling them how to play the “game”?

One view is that there is a “balance” between the different motivations for deception. Souls self-assess and categorize the networks they find important, much like how Harberger taxes work by balancing the incentives to overvalue and undervalue assets to arrive at near-accurate market valuations. Souls will want to have more SBTs in order to gain influence in their communities, on the other hand they will avoid SBTs in communities they don’t care about and thus score lower on relevant metrics, which in turn enhances their wider presence. influence in network governance.

But it would be naive to think that the two motives of gaining power and gaining influence always cancel each other out (or nearly cancel each other out). There may be many communities using systems other than SBTs to restrict access and governance. Alternatively, the community may issue private SBTs (contrary to our assumption of publicity) to shore up governance power, while inducing community members to keep the existence of these private SBTs secret in broader decision-making.

“Game” is an important problem, and solving this problem is one of the future research priorities. In fact, this is one of the main reasons why it is very difficult to open-source existing algorithms that provide prioritization or sorting. To reduce and deter SBT “game”, we provide several norms and directions:

  1. The ecology of SBTs can start from “dense” social channels, where SBTs validate off-chain community membership through strong social bonds and interactions with each other. This makes it easier for the community to identify, filter and revoke SBTs from impostors (or bots). We often find such “dense” channels in churches, workplaces, schools, gathering groups, and organizations in civil society, which will serve as “police games” in more “sparse” social channels (e.g. through bots, bribery, etc.) , impersonation) to provide a social basis that is more resistant to Sybil attacks.
  2. Nested communities require SBTs to impose “context” on their “downward” potential collusion vectors. For example, if a state is holding a fundraising or voting round, the state may require every participating citizen to also hold SBTs for designated counties and cities.
  3. The openness and cryptographic provability of the SBT ecosystem can be used to actively detect collusive patterns and punish unreliable malicious behavior (perhaps lowering the voting weight of colluding souls, or forcing souls to accept SBT—in this case, negative reputation). For example, if one soul proves that another soul is a robot, the case can go deep and publicly verify the results, resulting in a large number of negative reputation proofs for that soul. Similar use cases have arisen in the GitCoin QF ecosystem, which uses a series of indicators or signals to detect “collusive groups”.
  4. Zero-knowledge proof techniques such as MACI can cryptographically prevent certain proofs made by the soul from being provable. This discourages the sale of proofs because the bribe-giver cannot tell whether the bribe-taker has fulfilled the deal. There has been a lot of research on this technology, and eventually any non-financialized social mechanism could benefit from similar ideas.
  5. We can encourage whistleblowing, which destabilizes large-scale “collaboration”. It is not the detection and punishment of incorrect or abusive behavior, the detection and punishment of abusive collusion patterns. Excessive use of this technique is risky because of the potential for false bribery, but it is still essentially a viable tool.
  6. We can use peer-prediction mechanisms to encourage truthful reporting in all cases (unless collusion is severe). Attendees can prove each other’s presence, rather than the meeting, which also means that the number of participants that need to be bribed is very large and costly. Rewards don’t have to be financial, they can also be SBTs, and rewards are more positive for real community members than attackers.
  7. If some souls have a common interest, we can use a correlation coefficient that measures the correlation. For example, use correlation techniques in quadratic financing to quantify the correlation between two participants to determine their degree of intersection. If two players have many common interests, their incentive to reveal this fact to the quadratic funding mechanism (there are many common interests) will certainly decrease with the correlation discount, but it will never become zero or negative .


While the range of proposed identity frameworks is nearly limitless, there are four prominent and similar paradigms in web3 that are worth comparing: the dominant “legacy” authentication system, the pseudonym economy, proof of personality, and verifiable credentials. Each paradigm highlights the important contributions and challenges to future development of the social proof paradigms we advocate, and we use these limitations as a springboard for exploring future directions. In conclusion, we also explain why we believe soul and soul-bound tokens that represent social identity are a more promising direction for privacy regimes.

8.1 Legacy

Legacy authentication systems rely on documents or ID cards issued by third parties (governments, universities, employers, etc.), and the provenance is also determined through third parties. While there is something to be understood about legacy systems, these systems are very inefficient and lack composability for fast, efficient coordination. Furthermore, these systems lack a social relational context, making the soul dependent on a centralized third party to confirm membership in the community, rather than being embedded in the community. For example, most government-issued ID cards are ultimately traced back to birth certificates issued by doctors and family members, who are the ultimate source of truth, but this also ignores many of the equally meaningful social ties that bind together , which provides a strong verification. In fact, when centers of concentration of power need to seek strong identities (such as obtaining security clearances from the government), they rarely rely on these documents, turning instead to the “social relations” approach. As a result, such legacy identity systems tend to concentrate power on issuers and those who can perform “due diligence” to obtain stronger proofs, who in turn become rigid and unreliable bureaucracies. A key goal of DeSoc is to ensure that government ID security requirements are met and exceeded, allowing horizontal networks to provide greater security to all users through a range of social bases.

8.2 Pseudonymous Economy

Balaji Srinivasan, who coined and popularized the term “pseudoname economy,” broadly popularized a social vision based on combining reputation systems with zero-knowledge proof mechanisms to protect privacy. His early emphasis on using pseudonyms was to avoid social mobs from damaging and destroying a person’s reputation and social relations. It envisions people accumulating transferable zero-knowledge proofs in their own wallets and evading reputational attacks by splitting the proofs into new wallets or multiple wallets, which may not be traceable. When picking proofs to transfer, there is a trade-off to the degree of pseudonymity required for the new account, which requires a choice between being more anonymous (transferring less proofs) or being distributed across social networks (transferring more proofs).

The practical difference between the typical pseudonymous economy proposal and DeSoc is that we do not emphasize the division of identities as the primary way to be immune to a culture of “accusation”. Some degree of segmentation (e.g. different souls between family, work, politics, etc.) can be beneficial, but in general, relying on a new identity as the main way to defend against attack has a lot of drawbacks, it makes loans and provenance Reputation staking becomes difficult, and it is poorly composable with governance mechanisms that attempt to correct correlation or sybil attacks.

Instead of allowing the victim to re-emerge in the attack under a new (if diminished) identity, DeSoc allows other methods, such as socializing the attacker. “Allegations” often arise because when a person (or bot) has little social connection with the victim, statements and actions are dissociative and slanderous messages spread through non-relational networks. In the same way that SBT provides attribution to prevent counterfeiting, SBT traces the attribution of “slanderous behavior” on social relations. “Defamatory conduct” is essentially a product of appearances outside the victim community (as reflected by shared SBT members), or lack of SBT proof from the victim community (which casts doubt on the veracity of the conduct). SBT also enables victims to mount defensive responses to counteract strikes orchestrated and propagated from their web of trust (represented here by the model of co-holding SBT). By maintaining social relationships, people can maintain trust even when they face the threat of “accuses” and hold attackers accountable. Improving provenance can improve the social basis of truth.

8.3 Proof of Personality (PoP)

The Proof-of-Personality Protocol (PoP) aims to provide tokens of personal uniqueness to prevent Sybil attacks and allow non-financialized applications. To do this, they rely on methods such as global analysis of social graphs, biometrics, synchronized global key players, or some combination of these. However, since the PoP protocol seeks to represent individual identities (to achieve global uniqueness), rather than mapping relationships and solidarity social relationships, the core of the PoP protocol is to treat everyone equally, and most of the application directions we are interested in (such as reputation staking) , are all about people and go beyond being a “different” person to be a “unique” person.

Furthermore, PoP protocols are not immune to Sybil attacks. PoP systems are susceptible to Sybil attacks in almost all near-term foreseeable applications, albeit at a slightly higher cost. Unless the majority of people on the planet have signed up for a PoP service and participated in a specific verification activity, attackers can always recruit people who haven’t participated (or are not interested) to act as “witches”. While not all bots are hired, there is little difference, except that there may be some added fees.

Many PoP protocols are designed to build the foundations for a universal basic income or global democracy, and while we do not have the same ambitions, these protocols prompt us to think about how to gradually build and coordinate multiple network products. Unlike the binary, individualistic and global nature of PoP, we aim to build a rich, layered and interconnected foundation for bottom-up reputation, property and governance, and allow participation in communities and networks of all sizes .

8.4 Verifiable credentials

Verifiable Credentials (VCs) are a W3C standard where credentials (or certifications) can be shared at the holder’s discretion with zero knowledge. VCs highlight the main limitations of our baseline privacy paradigm and motivate us to further explore the privacy aspects described above. VCs and SBTs can be seen as natural complementary elements until SBTs have the ability to narrow the scope of openness: in particular, SBTs are initially public, so they are not suitable for sensitive information such as government-issued identification, while the implementation of VCs has always been In grappling with a recovery paradigm, this may be addressed by community resilience. In the short term, the combination of the two methods works better than either method alone. But VCs have a key limitation: at least in general, VCs do not support most of the application directions we enumerate because of their unilateral privacy.

Unilateral zero-knowledge sharing is not compatible with our use case and does not meet our normative definition of privacy. Most of our application directions rely on some level of publicity, but with zero-knowledge sharing, there is no way for a soul to know that another soul has SBT unless it is shared with each other. This makes reputational pledges, credible promises, witch-resistant governance, and simple lease contracts (such as apartment rentals) impossible to obtain visible additional promises or proof of title. More deeply, we doubt that unilateral shareability is the correct privacy paradigm, as one party in a multiparty relationship rarely has the right to unilaterally disclose the relationship without the consent of the other, just as unilaterally negotiable private property is not. Like a perfect property system, simple unilateral shareability is not a perfect privacy system. If two parties jointly own an asset and choose to represent their relationship through VCs, this credential does not allow for mutual consent and mutual permission. This involves more complex compound properties and complex organizational forms and permissions issues, which are a feature of DeSoc.


The path from the current web3 ecosystem to the enhanced sociality of SBTs faces a typical cold start challenge. On the one hand, SBTs are non-transferable, and on the other hand, the current form of wallets may not be the ultimate destination for SBTs because they lack community resilience mechanisms. But in order for community resilience wallets to work, they need to provide different SBTs in a decentralized community to be safe. SBTs First or Community Resilience First? Who are the early adoption communities? How do SBTs on different chains interoperate? Rather than aspire to know all the possibilities and answers, we outline possibilities for readers to explore further in the current web3 (or even web2) architecture.

9.1 Initial SBTs (Proto SBTs)

While SBTs are non-transferable, SBTs may have another property that will highlight their role in development: revocability. SBT can first become a revocable, transferable token before it grows to be non-transferable. Tokens are revocable if the issuer can burn them and reissue them to a new wallet. For example, when the key is lost or compromised and the issuer is interested in making sure the token is not being monetized and sold to a party. (In other words, burning and reissuing tokens would make sense when tokens signify true community membership.) Employers, churches, meetup groups, off-chain interactive clubs with multiple contacts are all burning and reissuing tokens. A great place for coins because they have a relationship with someone and can easily check for impostors via phone calls, video conferences, or simple face-to-face meetings. And a single interaction, such as the way to attend a concert or a conference, has a weaker community connection and is not suitable.

Revocable and transferable are the initial properties of the initial SBT before the soul was born. These tokens buy time for wallets to breed secure community resilience mechanisms and for individuals to accumulate initial SBT (which can eventually be burned and reissued as non-transferable SBT). In this approach, the question is no longer “SBTs first or community resilience first?” Instead, SBTs and community resilience mechanisms work together to give birth to a soul.

9.2 Community Recovery Wallets

While today’s wallets lack community resilience, they have their own pros and cons as SBT’s home or “breeding ground”. The beauty of Proof-of-Personality (PoP) protocols is that there are already attempts to build social dispute resolution mechanisms that are the foundation of community resilience. Additionally, many DAOs use POPs to facilitate governance, making them the natural first issuers of SBTs. However, despite PoPs ahead, PoP protocols have yet to gain the widespread trust to store valuable token assets, which escrow wallets do.

Custody wallets (heavier centralization) have therefore become the dependencies of immature users. Such custodial wallets can build tools for the retail community to issue revocable tokens that can then be converted (or reissued) into SBTs, or even more “enterprise” issuers that lack the relevant expertise ( Many of them seek to build a base of loyal customers in web3). Once the community resilience mechanism is formalized and tested, these custodial wallets can be decentralized into community resilience, while the custodians continue to provide other valuable services (such as community management, SBTs issuance, etc.) in DeSoc.

For more in-depth web3 users, decentralized non-custodial wallets (or non-custodial community resilience wallets like Argent and Loopring) are a natural starting point to bootstrap the community recovery mechanism. The advantage of a non-custodial wallet is that it is native web3 open source, and the mechanism can be pre-announced and gradually experimented, allowing a subset of willing, mature users to participate in the experimentation of incentive mechanisms and hybrid mechanisms (such as multi-signature). All of these approaches: POP, custodial and non-custodial, play an important role in testing and onboarding users with different levels of maturity and risk tolerance.

9.3 Proto-Souls

Codes of conduct can also guide the existence of the soul. As we rethink tokens and wallets, we can also restructure certain classes of NFTs and tokens that highlight membership. In particular, we could introduce a norm not to transfer NFTs and POAPs issued by reputable institutions that respect conference attendance, work experience or educational credentials. The transfer of such membership tokens (if traded in value) may reduce the reputation of the wallet and may prevent the issuer from further issuing membership or POAP tokens to the wallet. In a non-custodial ecosystem, a large number of users gain considerable financial reputation and hold shares in their wallets, which can serve as indirect collateral against their expectation of non-transferability abuse.

While all of these pathways have their own challenges, we hope that, through a methodically diverse set of small steps, we increase our chances of converging to a quasi-equilibrium state in the medium term.

§10 Conclusion

While we have high hopes for what DeSoc can achieve, the above are just the first steps. There is more than one road to DeSoc, including many non-blockchain-based frameworks such as Spritely, ACDC, and Backchannel, which rely on data storage tied to a local machine rather than a distributed ledger. These frameworks may ultimately enable greater trust across social distancing, as they can leverage the transitivity of trust relationships (such as trusted introductions) rather than relying on SBTs issued by well-known, authoritative institutions (such as universities or DAOs). Furthermore, the applications we describe above are just the beginning of DeSoc’s reinforcement and do not involve virtual worlds: their “physics”, society, and their complex relationship to the real world. All of this suggests that the lofty ideals we’ve depicted above may just be the “rudiments” of DeSoc’s final form.

However, there are still many challenges and problems to be solved along this path. The above blueprint is still relatively abstract and theoretical, and needs to be constantly tried and improved. How do DAOs balance soul patterns and correlations in SBTs to prevent Sybil attacks and ensure decentralization while maintaining openness? How does Incentive Compatibility earn SBTs for Relevance Discount Schemes? How much conflict does privacy have with related discounts and other DeSoc mechanism designs? How do we measure inequality in a social (open), yet appropriately private, way? How should legacy systems work in community resilience mechanisms? Is it redlined, or even included in the protocol, to avoid a dystopian situation? Or should the best scenario be created? These issues are only part of a research and development process that may last for several years in the future, and they will evolve with the ecological development of DeSoc.

However, DeSoc’s potential is worth the price of these challenges, and it may be necessary to ensure our survival. Albert Einstein said at the Geneva conference in 1932 that “the organizational capacity of man” has not yet kept pace with “technical development”, which is the equivalent of having “a 3-year-old child with a razor.” His ideas are so prescient that learning how to program the future of society, rather than rhetoric based on “trust,” seems to be a required course for humans to survive on this planet.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/vitalik-and-other-latest-papers-decentralized-society-finds-the-soul-of-web3-part-2-2/
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