ETHOS: An ethics-based approach to DACs, DAOs, and DAPPs

troytroy Member Posts: 9
When I first discovered Ethereum, I must admit, I was half joyous, and half pissed-off. You see, for the last few years, I've had this idea floating around in my head that an electronic marketplace could be entirely based on the idea of digital "contracts," complete with terms, tolerances, prerequisites, etc. I even had several conversations on aspects of this marketplace with a world-class LISP programmer with whom I work. Being a creative front-end developer, I lack the computer science foundation to pull this off myself, but have complete freedom to explore ideas. And I did -- big time.

Well... I'm going to buy into Ethereum as the platform from which to build ETHOS, an ethics-based, rules engine for building DACs, DAOs, DAPPs, smart contracts, and anything else that makes sense for stakeholders of a particular organization.

Think of an ETHOS as various Amazon EC2 images, built by various developers, and ready to activate. My ETHOS is probably different from your ETHOS. Yours is different from the next guy. However, just like oil and vinegar, certain sects of people will congeal around like-minded thinking. This congregation makes up its -- pardon the fun here -- ethos :)

Let me paint a detailed picture of reg3 -- my particular ETHOS:

The "reg" is an abbreviation of regenerative agriculture. I'm a big believer in the triple bottom line, otherwise known as "triple p." For those unfamiliar, this stands for people, planet, and profit.

For the past several years, I've studied permaculture, holistic management, and natural farming, to name a few... As you can imagine, I am the guy that buys organic food, believes in peak oil, supports local CSAs, and tries to reduce my footprint on this earth... OK... This is who I am, and these beliefs are what I share with friends and colleagues. They may not be yours.

Why not build a rules engine for participants in reg3? Why not set terms, tolerances, triggers, and a whole host of other application mechanics that support our particular ETHOS? With Ethereum we can -- and should. Let's assume that I am able to wrangle in 100 organic farmers. I would want to use Ethereum to serve as the foundation for the entire application stack.

My ETHOS, reg3, will include modules for the following:

- Inventory
- Freight
- Commerce
- Contracts
- Messaging
- Fundraising
- Social Network
- Shares & Ownership

Most of these ideas are not novel. I see ETHOS as an agnostic application that stitches DAPPs together -- A protocol if you will -- ready for your particular inputs on rules that digitally govern how your organization should operate... Bylaws if you will...

I'm open to any feedback on this idea. Thank you!

Troy Martz


  • UnsoundUnsound San DiegoMember Posts: 6
    Great concept! Have you checked out ? I think your values align with theirs.
  • troytroy Member Posts: 9
    Yes... Xavier Hawk spoke at the Permaculture Voices Conference (which turned me on to Bitcoin 2.0 concepts). I'm not sure what he is doing is exactly like what I envision... But I do like what he's doing.

    The above post is very abstract and ambiguous. This was done on purpose... At least until I fully wrap my head around the whole Ethereum paradigm. I have a long way to go :)

    At some point, I'm hoping a more technical person will add onto this post with more concrete ideas on how to pull it off...
  • FreddyFenderFreddyFender Member Posts: 39
    @troy, great introduction to the potential models of Ethereum in the wild. Have you considered the essence of your model regarding ETHOS? It is like a great art work of old paradigms and new code, or a new paradigm with old inventory models. Is the focus to be on the participants and integration of ethereum DAC/DAO or trying to get them to participate in this new way of thinking of markets? Let us know if you want to start a resource site that includes all your ETHOS ideas.
  • troytroy Member Posts: 9
    edited April 2014
    I'll be perfectly honest and say that I'n not entirely sure yet, simply because I need to wrap my head around Ethereum in its entirety. With that being said, I think the bigger hurdle will be in convincing "regular people" to buy into crypto as a currency. But perhaps a system like permacredits (backed somewhat by tangible assets) might convince them otherwise.

    Originally, I had been talking to an awesome LISP programmer I work with about a system governed by contracts, which started out as a way to let farmers and consumers know what the other guy had, or what the other guy wanted... A sort of... :)

    If Farmer ABC wanted to sell eggs "as is," without any refund policy for rotten eggs, then he would indicate this -- as a flag -- in his "term sheet." If Farmer XYZ sold eggs with a "100% satisfied" return policy, likewise, it would be in his term sheet. Consumer N would simply query the DB on term sheet matches. Maybe price is more important to Consumer N and Farmer ABC is the better match???

    The more I thought about it, the more I thought that EVERYTHING could be a contract... Like everything. And that's when I got really excited. So this whole eco-system started to form in my head about traditional software models, presented in a new way.

    Now, Consumer N could not only query the system for all his food needs, but also the way in which the farms operate, and perhaps even give preference to the "greener" end result. For instance, farms that made their own electricity from methane digesters, or made their own bio-diesel, might be given more "weight" than those who farmed with energy from the grid, or petroleum... all things being equal. Maybe there would be some kind of a badge system, or a "green" score.

    That conversation lead into graph theory, and how the whole system could be made more efficient if relational DB's were scrapped for a graph DB...

    The idea for ETHOS, was all this, plus the idea that these distributed contracts would contain their own attributes (like an Object), but be related like a graph. So we have the data and the relationships all covered, but what about the rules? The only thing I could think of was a sort of protocol or company bylaws document, that laid out how this "game" was to be played... In the MVC world, this would be like a controller, but even higher level.

    The ideas kept building on top of each other, and I would periodically ping my LISP buddy for feedback... etc, etc.

    Then the idea of putting this whole thing on something like a TOR network was appealing... I had heard a lot about Bitcoin, and even understood the idea of a block chain a couple years ago. But I never thought about all these Bitcoin 2.0 ideas, nor did I frequent the AltCoin universe enough to really see it come to life...

    When I heard Xavier Hawk speak at the PV1 conference, my eyes were opened to the idea of putting all this on the block chain... or at least the parts that need to be protected, trusted, etc. And that is where I am now... Does the whole kitchen sink need to be built on Ethereum, or can some of it live outside, and interact via some encrypted API layer?

    To be truthful, I haven't seen much talk about web browser technologies (my expertise), like HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript stuff, like Node.js or AngularJS... I know it's in here, but I haven't had time to absorb any of it.

    So, to answer your question... My ideas started as old paradigm web apps, but has shifted to this new paradigm... And I have a LOT of learning to do still...

    Totally open to anyone refining this idea... And I'm fully aware that none of this may be novel, or new... I might simply be missing the vernacular to adequately describe it.

    Sorry for the long description...


  • avsaavsa Member Posts: 68 ✭✭
    Hi Troy. I'm not sure I understand how you'd measure or enforce "ethics" but here's a way were unethical contracts can be curtailed: miners could choose to discriminate or boycott certain contracts or categories of contracts if it was against their ethical view (or of they were afraid of legal repercussions), so a contract that is viewed as unethical by a large number of people would have a longer waiting time before it can fit in a block. Such contract could maybe pay more to be included, therefore creating a voluntary tax on unethical behavior, proportional to how much and how many people dislike that behavior.
  • troytroy Member Posts: 9
    edited April 2014
    That's an interesting idea... That's actually one step up from what I envisioned. Would there be any ramifications?

    And what I meant by ethics, is just a list of parameters assigned to some sort of digital bylaw document, which would impart a sort of "character" to an organization. That organization would set their "ethos" programatically. This layer -- if you will -- is a dumb controller, and only knows what the creator of a particular ethos told it to do, or not to do.

    For my particular "ethos," I would set the system so that any transaction must be good for people, planet, and profit (triple "P"). And if a contract or transaction violated this ethic, it would not be allowed to execute -- or at least have some sort of penalty applied to it.

    i.e. Clear-cutting old-growth forest, and then selling the milled lumber would not be allowed, for it clearly damages the planet aspect, and only benefits the people and profit of the one selling it.

    I know this is ambiguous, and I'm hoping -- with the help of this community -- the idea gets distilled over the next several months.

  • StephanTualStephanTual London, EnglandMember, Moderator Posts: 1,282 mod
    "but here's a way were unethical contracts can be curtailed: miners could choose to discriminate or boycott certain contracts or categories of contracts if it was against their ethical view"

    Not possible and will never be so. See: non-discrimination principle.
  • avsaavsa Member Posts: 68 ✭✭
    @Stephan_Tual? I understand why it could also be a good thing to be non discriminatory, there are probably more pros than cons.

    @troy I doubt you can program ethics. If you could do it then someone would find a way to be unethical but within the rules, which of course would go against the reasons the rules were there.
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