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Proof of Work vs Proof of Performance

by Dan Robles on October 25, 2014

POW_POPProof-of-work (PoW) is a cryptographic technique introduced to a transaction which solves problems of fairness or abuse.  For example, a PoW would require a computer program to solve a simple puzzle before it can pass an email from sender to a receiver.  Someone who sends spam emails would be burdened with an computational costs greater than the possible benefit of sending spam.  A legitimate email from a single sender to a small packet of recipients would pass easily.

Proof-of-performance (PoP) refers to a condition where two parties enter into an agreement and a third party judges whether the conditions of the agreement are met.  Like an escrow account, the buyer puts the money into an account and the seller puts the title into an account.  If the conditions of the contract are met, a judge (adjudicator) flips the switch that completes the transfer.  If conditions are not met, the switch returns the money to the buyer and the title to the seller.

Proof of Work vs Proof of Performance

PoW and PoP are substantially different in many important ways.  For example, for POW the adjudicator is a computer program.  For PoP, the adjudicator is a person.  Ideally, the PoW is perfectly unbiased and cannot be corrupted for personal gain.  The PoP however, resembles the business model of most Brokers who can be biased, if not corruptible for individual gain.  Herein lies the promise of crypto currencies and so-called smart contracts that can be executed by computational algorithm rather than untrusted human agents.

On the other hand, PoW and PoP are conceptually similar is some ways as well.  In the Bitcoin protocol, for example, completing a PoW results in the issuance of a new coin.  Similarly PoP adjudicator is payed a fee or commission for validating the conditions of a contract.  The mother of all PoPs happens in the Banking System which literally issues new dollars into existence in the form of debt as a consequence of an adjudicated contract between a buyer and seller.

While the puzzles and context may differ, the consequence is the same – money is conjured into existence as a result of a humanly intensional transaction.  There really is nothing, except perhaps the deep training of an oppressed population, that says that a decentralized POP adjudicated by qualified and unbiased persona (disaggregated from the transaction) could not also result in the creation of new money.  This is exactly what Curiosumé proposes can be accomplished.

In the prior post; The Conjuring of Intangible Values,  The tangible value of a bridge connecting two cities and the intangible value of that same bridge are vastly different quantities.  Likewise, the tangible value of Bitcoin and the intangible value of Bitcoin are also vastly different different values for the same reason as the bridge between two cities.  If PoW = PoP could be assimilated in a single currency, we could build an economy whose currency is underwritten by the intangible value of infrastructure.

Ultimately, our planet would be the apex of infrastructure preservation, i.e., Humanity’s New Central Bank.

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