The Token Curated Registry (TCR) Model re-examined.

Ryan Selkis, aka “@twobitidiot”, also aka ex-managing director of CoinDesk published an interesting post on Medium called “Skin in the Game Coins”, where he defines a new class of tokens called “Token Curated Registries” or TCRs.

The idea is simple: human beings love lists (top people in crypto, top venture capitalists, best wines of all times), and so they should be willing to pay to get in, and stay in such lists. The curators of these lists could also get paid for “weeding out the bullshit”.

As with the “proof-of-human-work” coins, you want to hold TCR tokens if you want the right to earn money as a curator, which you could do well if you had a reputation for calling things both ways, and unapologetically weeding out bullshit.

One can see how this might work in theory, but also one sees the problems. As somebody who is now getting asked to speak at and judge crypto events, I understand the appeal of being “paid to curate”. Being on the “Oscar selection committee, the Wine Spectator Judging committee etc…” confers status, as well as possible pay. How would I act if I was voted by other members to be a curator in a TCR? I would probably feel honored.

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On the other hand, if my curation is for sale, like votes on Steemit, the entire list becomes potentially corrupt. Imagine a list of fine wines with one corrupt judge. I pay him off, with a modest fee, and now my $10 pinot noir that nobody has heard of is worth $100 a bottle.

And here we see exactly the problem: you need to separate organic results from sponsored results. Pay for position is fantastic for sponsored results: just ask Google. In fact, goto.com’s pure “pay for ranking” was Google’s big break. But pure lists, curated by judges is the Yahoo model, not the Google model. You really want to use more of a “page rank” model and not just hand curated lists to define “what’s relevant”.

And so, I propose that the TCR model is actually not a viable mainstream token model going forward, but that the SSR (Sponsored Search Registry) model could be. In this model, everybody in the system, not just a few judges can weigh in, but like page rank, the most highly back-linked / favorited / etc… judges have more authority. And also, like Google this is just one signal to consider.

Finally, in such a model, sponsored search, where the users pay per click with tokens to get ranked alongside organic results, could be very interesting.

We plan to use these ideas at WorkCoin.

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