The coming digital anarchy


The coming digital anarchy…Article from ‘The Telegraph’

Daniel Larimer of Bitshares:

In his version of the future, identity and reputation will be the new currency. Laws and contracts will be laid down in code and, if broken, reparations will be sought mathematically rather than through law enforcement agencies, courts and prisons.

Those who cannot make good will be victim to “coordinated shunning” by the rest of the network – the whole of society. They will not be able to interact financially or in any other system running on the blockchain.

They will be in an “economic prison”. This will extend beyond being unable to make money transfers, because the blockchain will be in control of voting, commerce and communications. Being banished from this system would make life all but impossible

Thanks Dan…what a wonderful world.


Currency distribution based on reputation is a much better method than early adopters getting the most profit. That would be the world i rather live in; good deeds getting paid, bad deeds getting shunned.

Still would be difficult to implement because I can think of many ways to game the reputation system. Still its inevitable economic evolution.


Sounds like this would be hell for the minority or the social dissenters?

Just skimming the article now and if the reputation is based on digital contracts I think this is cool. Something along the lines of what I was eluding to with my post on escrows :wink:

Sounds like this would be hell for the minority or the social dissenters?

Perhaps it would be hell for people who like to break contracts. Perhaps they would count as a minority (hopefully they would be in the minority). But there’s nothing to suggest that social dissenters would find the system hellish. If people are not forced to use the system, then I can’t see why markets wouldn’t adjust to address these concerns.If, however, force was employed to prevent alternative systems from operating (as enforced monopolies/patents etc do today), then I can easily see how this could be problematic.

But I think the ones who would find it hellish would be victims in the same sense as rapists, child molestors and murderers find our current laws against their chosen vocation ‘hellish’.


Very interesting guy, he has known of MaidSafe for over 4 years and been watching things progress. I Am sure things will happen there :smile:


I’m not against that idea because I have a good reputation right now but tracking reputation is very hard. Also reputations can be destroyed very easily as well.

I think the idea should be more well thought out. I actually prefer a system where an element of chance is always built into the system so that the winners aren’t selected by human beings but by a fair algorithm. Imagine playing dice and knowing the people with the best reputation are going to be given better odds?

Everyone should have the same odds as long as they follow the rules and the only way to improve your odds is to play a variety of different games until you play a game with rules which favor your style of play. Everyone can win at something but no one should win at everything.

I think for contracts you can use reputation and it can work. It works when people have similar values. The problem is you don’t know a person’s values in advance and you cannot track everything a person has done with others. In a small community we know who is what and how people are. When it scales then we don’t know anymore who is doing what and cannot track reputation.

The challenge for Dan is to come up with a system for tracking reputation. To do this he has to solve the unique human problem we all have discussed here. That is the holy grail because if you solve that then you can do reputation, you can now distribute to all the best people according to reputation if you choose, or give people points for being honest/honorable.

So in the long term if we can solve that holy grail problem not only could Daniel end up being right but it could solve so many problems in the world simultaneously. If we could look at each other’s profiles pseudo-anonymously and know who has a perfect 100% honest track record in business and who is a scammer then we would never distribute shares or opportunity to the known scammers. This would open up opportunity for people who are poor yet honest.


At least physical exile hasn’t worked very well in the past. States realized on soil imprisonment or capital punishment was preferable as exile produced the most effective opponents of states. Exile could produce the most motivated opponents of systems and code. System architects might not want systems rigged against the type of processes that produced them.

Also, personal reputation implies positive identification of persons vice plausible identification. Isn’t it enough to simply delist concerns or entities that censor or attempt to censor end user action or freedom? Personal reputation is trading in enclosure vice preserving open access.

Another issue is with contract, aside from the simple conditional or transactional as in a “Smart Contract”. Even as a last resort why make promises we can’t be sure we can keep? Why “trade liberty for security,” when for doing so we may “deserve” neither but also get neither. Contract is enclosure. Think of NDAs. Think of doing business with a contract laden entity. Many have tried to get a rid of contract (including the communists) but haven’t found an acceptable substitute for what is almost an attempt to make law between parties. Open systems may be the replacement because the only commitment is to openness.

Aside from openness and not violating it there aren’t any promises or strings.
The vending machine model is a practical example. If I put a quarter in the vending machine its a contract of sorts. I may not get what I bargained for. I may at first be upset and even want to strike the machine but anger will generally fall short of not wanting vending machines around. There is a kind of slippage, or good enough or fault tolerance that can replace contract and maybe that is kind of contract implied here but I think the word is dangerous. Some may say 97% isn’t good enough for mission critical but does anyone think contract is all that stable of a mechanism anymore? Was it ever? Is buyer beware plus contract enough? It won’t replace testing, verification and study.

Contract in the context of Maidsafe still sounds like formal agreements vice promises with appeal to the legal community for remedies. Is that a good idea? Appeal to the legal community? The appeal of the notion of contract is understandable. Contracts are formal promises meant to make the world more predictable and put some measure of trust in place of risk. But can they really deliver what they promise. They are more like agreements now. They can reduce risk but the odds of victory in contract cases is something like a coin toss %50. In old style contract each side bargained as hard as they could without regard for the other side so as to make a more objective basis for parties attempting to judge contract disputes when looking back at the original intents. Now there are ideas of fairness and having to consider the other side when bargaining and those are getting built into the contract and ideas of fairness over ride the original intents. Contracts need safety valves for both sides now so one isn’t sharp dealing or a party found to be in an unconscionable situation. With a %50 chance of being made whole or getting the other side to perform, the mechanism doesn’t necessarily deliver what it promises. Freedom of contract, or freedom from contract- why get involved in that tradition of enclosure? Its got some record keeping value but it seems too rigid.