Proof of Thought (PoT): The Holy Grail of Cryptocurrency has arrived

 Also called Proof of Human work (PoHW)

This idea was sparked by the great and succinct riddle that monsterer2 proposed on this BitcoinTalk thread:

"A truly decentralised consensus mechanism is one where humans perform the PoW. The trouble is, finding a problem that only a human can solve that is also easily verifiable by a machine is unsolved.

The person who solves this problem will be very rich indeed. "

Ask and you shall receive.

While I do not expect to get rich ( I have solved many of the worlds biggest problems; but if it doesn't make someone else rich then no one cares) from this idea. Actually I think the opposite, people will hate this idea because they would actually have to work for their money instead of having a computer doing it for them.

I have termed this idea Proof of Human Work (PoHW). I do not claim that no computers or AI will be able to mine this. However I do claim that humans will have a fair shake at least until an algorithm can be developed to solve it (which likely will take a good number of years at the very least since these problems have been known and researchers trying to solve them for decades at least). I think the biggest risk to this proposal is the training of AI to use skills humans have developed to solve these problems.

It would probably find form in "puzzle video games". They can likely be done with paper or pencil but doing it on a computer in a program or app would be the best way to go for mining purposes.

The idea is simply this: Use NP-complete problems as a proof of work. NP complete problems are Non-deterministic polynomial time problems. An NP Hard problem means in essence that they cannot be sped up with computers. The larger the problem, the worse computers (algorithms) are at solving them. Np-complete are a subset of NP-hard problems. What NP-complete means is that a computer can easily verify a proposed solution is correct, but cannot "know how to" solve the problem. This even works if you believe P=NP (which I do), as you can create a new coin using a new NP-complete problem that has not been cracked (or change the algorithm of your coin but I always advise against this where possible).  P=NP hypothesis means that every problem that can be easily verified can eventually be solved quickly too.

Now the problems shouldn't be just NP-complete, all hashing functions are designed to also be NP-complete.  But the problems should also benefit from heuristics.  This means that you can find ways to improve your ability to solve the problem.  You likely won't be able to find any heuristics for SHA256 for example but you can find heuristics for the traveling salesman problem or minesweeper for example.

This is exactly what we want; a problem whose proposed solution can be quickly verified by computer and yet the computer would be "bad" at finding solutions itself. Perfect.

Some example problems to solve could be the traveling salesman problem and/or minesweeper, and/or any other NP-complete problem or combinations of problems. Any implementation and/or mining methods or programs or suggestions can be used. This idea can be used by itself or in conjunction with computer mineable problems like using this idea in conjunction with other PoW algorithms.

For example you could have a 100x100 minesweeper or any size or size dictated by automated difficulty adjustment and the first one to solve it win's the block in mining. A program could disseminate this to people around the world to work on it and could pool the individuals and split the reward or give the individual who wins it first the whole block reward. Also some programs can have collaboration where everyone can work on the same minesweeper problem together. There are many challenges minesweeper would pose (such as needing a trusted 3rd party to create the minefield or obfuscating their ability to see it) in this context which we won't go into, it is just an example of how this human mining could be set up.

Minesweeper is np-complete

Traveling salesman problem

Drawbacks: People have to do work. Slavery could result from this. People may need more food because thinking takes energy.

Benefits: Mining centralization will be a smaller problem. Anyone with a brain and a communication method can contribute and earn money. Even animals like bees may be able to be used to solve these (search: bees traveling salesman). No specialized hardware or even computer is needed. Energy problem will be nonexistent. Just like we don't tell people not to exercise, this will be exercising peoples brains. The whole global network would use negligible extra energy, and even if the people ate more, exercising the brain will make them healthier. It may help reduce the risk of dementia and other degenerative brain diseases. This is our liberation from the coming "tyranny of the algorithm".

Here is another whitepaper that uses the term proof of human work however it uses CAPTCHA's and not NP-complete problems.  I think our idea is better and is more veritably NP Hard.

This topic, using conway's game of life as a PoW problem, fits into this definition I have given of Proof of Thought:

Can also be called Proof of Neural Work or Proof of biological work or proof of thought.


The Mastercoin System: Blockchain based personal IOU accounting

The Mastercoin System: Blockchain based personal IOU accounting.
What do banks do that we can't? Create debt. Oh wait, we can create debt too, it is called an IOU. So why don't we do this? Why do we abdicate our own ability to create debt and instead have banks create debt for us?
Because everyone trusts that the bank will repay debt that they issue. But I don't think this is so true anymore. I would venture to guess more people dread going to the bank than to the dentist or doctor. Banks are showing thier cards in thier fees, how petty and backstabbing they really are while claiming it is free checking or some other BS. This is a symptom of an industry in upheaval, benks can't reliably make money on interest anymore and have to resort to nickel and diming. Or more like jackson and hamiltoning us to death.
There is no reason for friends to use bank issued debt to pay eachother back. Doing this is just bending over for the banks. Friends don't let friends use banks.
So how can we use IOU's in an efficient way? Pen and paper anyone? Apps now exist that allow you to keep track of who owes you what. But what I have seen does not let debt automatically be cancelled when someone owes you and you owe them back. So we need to design a system that can cancel debt automatically. Also a ledger to keep it all in that can be accessed anywhere by anyone on any device and trusted by all parties.
Blockchain anyone?
Here's how it could work.
Everyone gets a private key(s) and each private key is free to create as much debt as they want on the platform, or there could be a debt limit per key. In order to create debt you would need two signatures. A signature from the private key who is creating the debt, and a signature from the private key who is accepting the debt. So say for example Bob owes Sally a jug of maple syrup (maple syrup explained later). Bob creates a debt of 1 in a transaction, signs it, and includes sally's public key. Sally sees this and signs the transaction as well. Now the blockchain miners record this as a completed transaction. The “1” will be stored in the blockchain as bieng owed from Bob to Sally. Call it a “bob to sally coin”. No one else can extinguish this debt with sally except sally (exceptions later). To do this she has to create a “sally to bob coin”. Once bob has paid sally a jug of maple syrup then sally creates a “sally to bob coin” (signed by both parties) which extinguishes the debt. Or Sally could owe bob a jug back for something and she sends Bob a “sally to bob coin”, and this act also extinguishes the current debt. By doing this maple syrup or anything else doesn't have to physically change hands. Just friends paying back a favor.
Miners keep track of all of these transactions and append them to thier ledger for mining the next block. Miners can use any proving system the software allows like Proof of work or proof of stake or other method or combination to win the block reward and append thier transaction ledger onto the blockchain. The block reward can be anything but preferably denominated in jugs of maple syrup (more info on this later), say 10 jugs of maple syrup worth of coins. Now these miners coins are signed by the blockchain itself and the miner. They are a sort of master key that can extinguish any debt on the blockchain. Lets call them Mastercoin's. The way this should be viewed as slight and predictable inflation; debt will be worth a little less because miners can extinguish some of it. This is the cost of using the platform, you are paying this to the miners to keep the ledger for you. The problem here is that no one would want a miner or apparent miner from owing them anything because they would always just be able to extinguish the debt; the friends of miners would bear all of the inflation on the network. Ouch. So how do we get around this and make the miners coins (mastercoins) not wreak havoc to thier close friends? The solution is to allow the mastercoins will continue to work after given, but at a reduced rate. So say a miner has a mastercoin. For example this mastercoin would be able to extinguish say 4.4% of 1 jug (.044 jugs) of maple syrup debt. Now this coin when given will forgive the miner of 4.4% of 1 jug of debt to a friend. Then this friend will be able to use this mastercoin to forgive 4.3% of a jug's worth of debt to thier friend, and on and on. When all is said and done 99% of 1 jug's worth of debt (.99 jugs) would be extinguished from the network from that one mastercoin. So people will actually want to be friends with miners. Why? Because bieng friends with a miner will allow you to pay off your debts for free (well a small fee) for just forgiving the debts that miners have with you.
Why jugs of maple syrup? Because we need a consistent value of each unit of debt. If you say you owe me a car so you owe me “1” then when that person gets a mastercoin they can extinguish that car debt much too easily. We need everyone to value a unit of debt the same, so we need to find an item that is valued similarly no matter what country and currency you use is. Enter maple syrup.
Why maple syrup?
    1. Liter Glass Jug of 100% pure Grade A maple syrup
      1. It is easy to produce without technology, and technology doesn't give such a great advantage. There aren't a lot of disruptive technologies in maple syrup production that would change it's relative value against other things. There are no GMO maple trees. No pesticides or herbicides or fertilizers will give you a significant competitive advantage. It is non-destructively harvested, the trees stay alive. It is possible to be used and traded interchangably with syrups produced in other biomes like Agave Nectar, sugarcane syrup, honey, etc.
      2. It can be verified by simple technology. The simplest technology is taste or density. Or light: http://www.agr.gc.ca/eng/science-and-innovation/research-centres-and-collections/quebec/saint-jean-sur-richelieu-research-and-development-centre/safeguarding-maple-syrup-quality/?id=1519066161077
      3. It is required biological energy. Hunting produces protien and fat, edible weeds can produce vitamins and minerals, but carbohydrate is precious and difficult to come by in nature.
      4. It is hypoallergenic. Many people are allergic to it's competitor, honey.
      5. It is non-perishable. You can HODL it and not worry about it going bad or changing in any way. Not damaged by air (unlike oil), not irreversibly damaged by moisture (just reboil it).
      6. Common value: the cost of a jug of maple syrup is around one hours worth of labor which is a convienient amount and similar to the price of a meal or other things that people would typically owe someone.
      7. Self contained and easy to transport or ship. If the value was less than it may not be worth the shipping cost of an individual item.

In conclusion we have developed a blockchain based system of tracking IOU's with your freinds.

  • Mastercoins would have to carry a dataset. For example master coins will have the be signed by each recieving and giving party, and the value will lessen depending on how many times they have been signed. This could potentially, but not likely, cause fungibility issues.
  • IOU's will have to also have a dataset, ie: this coin is only valid between sally and bob.
  • Anyone can use the system without having to buy coins or mine them. You simply just start using the system. The mining just causes a small fee for using the platform, and not a monetary fee, just making you forgive a little bit of peoples debt. Not a problem.


Proof of Play (PoP): A proof of stake consensus utilizing video game PoW

Gamers play video games.  If the gamer is good they can achieve a lot of rewards in the game.  From player level, stat points, skill points, gear, experience points, and in-game currency; these achievements prove that the player has done work.  The whole point of video game design is so that bots and cheating cannot win you rewards in game.  Other products/services/companies also have this like uber, doordash, amazon, etc.  Miles driven in uber, number of years working at walmart, etc.  These sorts of achievements can also be used in this idea.

Why not utilize this proof in a blockchain?  How would that even be done?

Proof of stake.  That is how it would be done.  The stake could be the player level, in game currency, stat points, skill points, miles driven in uber, packages delivered for amazon, etc. or anything else or a combination.

Proof of stake is typically an unfair system because anyone with lots of money can easily gain a high stake.  But coupling the proof of work by achieving things in a game or other system to set the stake the player has, will allow proof of stake to be fair while not wasting CPU cycles to arbitrarily prove work.

In conclusion games (and any other system) are designed to prove that work was done by a user.  Why not utilize this to prove work on a blockchain?  This is done by coupling player work to a stake in mining a coin, token or anything else on a blockchain or similar network or technology.  The currency will be "backed" by how much people trust the game/dev's.  Amazon could have FlexCoin where Flex drivers get a mining stake based on how many packages they have delivered.  Walmart could have PensionCoin where employees get a mining stake based on how many years they have worked at the company.  Companies can even premine the coins or take a fee for every transaction.  Could this in fact be a better version of an ICO?

The games or systems themselves can even run on this blockchain partially or fully if desired.  For example an MMO could be devoid of a central server and instead the stakeholder players could record server data like character locations and items etc. on their computer and their ledger would be included in the blockchain if they won the next block based on their proof of stake.