Claim: Subjective questions cannot be answered by a TCR
Source: Aleksandr Bulkin’s “Curate This: Token-Curated Registries That Don’t Work”
Category: Blockchain Technology
My Stake: Challenge [100 CRED]
What is a TCR:
It a token system that generates a decentralized list and replaces centralized list owners by a curation market.
A “top restaurant” TCR list is subjective.
An “Olympic gold medalists” TCR list is objective.
- The objective answer exists
- It is publicly observable
- It is very cheap to observe it.
The author of the claim stipulates that for a TCR to work, there needs to be an objective answer to the curation problem (number 1). This challenge intends to prove a TCR can work with subjective answers.
My argument / evidence:
Real-world stakeholders never align towards a definitive answer to a subjective question. In a TCR system, curators are expected to follow the same behavior and challenge each other to solve a subjective question.
For instance, a TCR with all the top-tier token-projects (useful for portfolio rebalancing of an index) entered in a curated list is subjective, as the definition of “top-tier” might differ from stakeholder to stakeholder.
Here, the subjective TCR secures continuous funds from new project’s application fee and from token holders seeking more influence over the list by stacking them up.
On the other hand, if a TCR is created to record the Olympic gold medalists of every sport, the answers are objective, cheap and public, but why would anyone be incentivized to curate such an easy list?
Subjectivity and Context
Slava Balasanov in TCR Design Flaws first explains that subjective problems “lack a coordination signal and hence cannot be accurately answered by a TCR”.
Even if subjective TCR trigger demand for tokens through new applications and curators seeking more influence, he further states that the “tragedy of commons” will force token holders to focus on individual short-term profit rather than the long-term quality of the lists.
As such, without context on curators, Balasanov suggests we are not able to know (i) who are the curators and (ii) why they are curating, which jeopardizes the sanity of a subjective TCR: low-dog token holders will be “incentivized to vote for the choices [they] believe the whales will vote for.”
Interestingly, Balasanov offers a solution to subjective TCR designs by combining them with reputation systems, although he’s written: “Why Subjective TCR don’t work” at the beginning of the article.
The outcome is the ability to differentiate curators based on their reputation, where the weight of their vote is a function of their token and reputation. The system creates a coordination signal and classifies curators based on their incentive to curate.
Some curators might have better access to information or are incentivized to accept/reject an application, sharing reputation helps end users (TCR Consumers) understand the ethics and values of curators.
For example, a subjective TCR of top tier cryptocurrencies and a reputation system can efficiently differentiate the influence of curators.
An independent cryptocurrency media house or auditor should not have the same influence as a token project founder looking to infiltrate the curation market to get his token listed on the TCR.
Subjective TCR can work if the market knows who are the curators and why they are curating through a reputation system.
Thanks @priyatham for the review!