From this interview we will find out some facts about a person who, in our opinion, has a significant impact on the development of DGO SG and who will share his thoughts:
• About Free TON and its impressive capabilities;
• About decentralization and governance in Free TON;
• About paradoxes in Free TON;
• About anonymity;
• About the role of morality and ethics in the community;
• About what builds trust between participants, and much more.
Svetoslav Bauer: Hello everyone! This time we will meet Luffy, an active member of DGO SG.
Luffy, as I understand, you would like to keep a certain level of anonymity. But to have a better understanding of what we can talk about, I would like to know your experience and competencies, what you did and what you are doing now, what kind of education you received. Tell us about any relevant info about yourself.
Luffy: Hello everyone. Now, we have a couple hours to talk. Svetoslav and I have already jotted down some notes. Today I looked through them and, frankly, I was a little upset 🙂 Like many crypto enthusiasts here, I am overwhelmed with emotions and my attempt to fit all into one interview does not make sense. It is very easy to be misunderstood (or even worse – to be treated as a hater) when 1% of your thoughts are taken out of the context of the other 99%. Therefore, I will try to squeeze the essence without losing the meaning. Now, I’ll tell you about myself. I’m a slightly over 40. I have two degrees. One is university degree; the other is college degree that actually provides me with money for living. I graduated from the university 20 years ago on the post-Soviet territory as a Master of German Studies with a pedagogical emphasis) but in fact I worked in this area for less than a year.
Let me tell you more about my second education. It is entirely different from the first one. I am a system electronics engineer. I mastered this profession when I already moved to Germany where I’ve been living for the past 20 years). I had to master it being a humanitarian. So, the soldering iron and the assembler are my friends. But now I am shifting the focus of my activity towards smart cities, Internet of things, digital twins, etc.
Svetoslav Bauer: Great! It will be interesting to talk about smart cities and the Internet of Things, but a little bit later. I noticed that you often speak up both in groups and on the Free TON forum on topics related to ideology, governance, philosophy, social interaction, ethics and morality. Which authors have influenced you in a special way?
Luffy: I can probably call myself a moralist. The same thoughts are constantly popping into my head that may have bothered Oppenheimer when he was working on the Manhattan Project. And also I am interested in behavioral aspects and what motivates people to take part in the development of Free TON. This is no less important than the technical side of the project.
I’ve read a lot, so it is difficult to understand what made the biggest impact. Professionally, it is “Blockchain technology. What drives the financial revolution today” by the Tapscotts, father and son. In a broader sense, it is science fiction, in particular, cyberpunk and a smooth transition from there, as I grew older, to scientific journalism. I like everything that describes the concept of technological singularity: Ray Kurzweil, Eliezer Yudkowsky and others. And also, of course, everything about AI.
Svetoslav Bauer: What specifically has influenced you and your views, mentality from what you read?
Luffy: Uncertainty. The same applies to blockchain.
Svetoslav Bauer: Would you explain it?
Luffy: There is a duality in AI theory. Some people think that AI is bad, and some think it is good. For me it is a direct analogy with blockchain. No one can predict how this or that technology will turn out.
Svetoslav Bauer: Indeed, this is a very interesting statement…
Luffy: But trying to predict, while paradoxical, is nevertheless very enjoyable.
Svetoslav Bauer: What are the factors, in your opinion, that influence the development of technology in an unpredictable way?
Luffy: The point here is not what these factors are, but the fact that every day the number of these factors increases exponentially. This is the sum of technologies. And sooner or later (as the concept of technical singularity asserts) a man will hopelessly lag behind and cease to understand the essence of what is happening around.
Svetoslav Bauer: You said that you are “interested in the behavioral aspects and what motivates people to take part in the development of Free TON and that this is no less important than the technical side of the project.” Why is it so important?
Luffy: This is especially important in Free TON, because at the moment a significant part of the logic is off-chain – where the theory of public choice, ethics, and morality still operates. This must be studied in order to understand how people trust each other in this environment. There is no development without trust.
Svetoslav Bauer: I am of the same opinion. Without adherence to high moral principles, trust is impossible, and without trust, effective and long-term cooperation between people is impossible.
Luffy: Developing such a trust protocol for a fair (!) distribution of tokens is the main challenge for Free TON.
Svetoslav Bauer: You are familiar with Stephen Covey’s book “The Speed of Trust. The one thing that changes everything”. What changes everything?
Luffy: No, I am not. But there is another way – to eliminate the need for trust as such. This works great for bitcoin.
Svetoslav Bauer: One of her key ideas is that when there is trust, all processes are accelerated; many things do not need bureaucracy. And another idea is that trust can be measured even in monetary terms. If its level is high, then the product or company is priced more expensive. In the book the author cites the results of research on companies and their performance.
Luffy: I agree. I would even say that for me this is self-evident without any research.
Svetoslav Bauer: What moral principles are of particular value to you? What principles do you adhere to in life? And why?
Luffy: I think that moral principles can be described through moral ideals. I respect people like Assange, Snowden, but I’m afraid that I would not be able to make such sacrifices. I respect Pavel Durov for his adherence to principles. I believe that all values produced by humanity should be available to all of humanity. Of course, proportionally to the contribution, but nevertheless, the system should not leave out those who, for some reason, cannot (but would like to) to make this contribution. I mean that all people, without exception, should have basic things. The same opportunities from the outset.
Svetoslav Bauer: Yes, Assange, Snowden and Durov have firm principles and values. I also carefully studied the personality of each of them. These are rare people who cherish their principles and are not ready to exchange them even under pressure, fear of imprisonment or a threat to life – this causes deep respect!
So, of all moral principles, you value what? Hardness in standing up? Defending freedom?
Luffy: Well, you can’t single out something specific – it’s a collection of beliefs. Like biblical commandments. Let’s just say – treat others the way you would like to be treated, even being anonymous.
Svetoslav Bauer: In fact, you named a fundamental and universal principle, as far as I know, it is even deservedly called the “golden rule of morality”. Everything else is a consequence, including equality in terms of freedom of speech, belief and conscience.
Luffy: About anonymity, I really like one saying:
“Anonymity is a magnifying glass for both good and bad, because while anonymously done evil is more heinous, anonymously done good is more beautiful.”
Svetoslav Bauer: A wonderful aphorism, I’ll write it down for myself!
What is good for you and what is evil? What are the criteria for you personally? I want to note that we are not moving away from what also relates to the interaction of the community in Free TON. It is important to talk about all this.
Luffy: I’m afraid I can’t answer this question briefly. From the blockchain’s perspective – evil is an attempt to harm someone (perhaps to please yourself) ignoring certain rules of the system, and good is an attempt to prevent this or to benefit someone (perhaps to their own detriment). In an ideal system, damage cannot be done at all either physically or psychologically. No way.
Svetoslav Bauer: And if we speak from the social perspective? We have time, so you can answer in full. This is an interesting topic. Few people touch on it in the Free TON community, and in society as a whole, as far as I can see.
Luffy: Actually, the system itself determines the behavior of individuals in society. If the system encourages malicious behavior, then sooner or later it will manifest itself. To evoke the necessary associations from the reader, I will simply describe one experiment (copy-paste from a third-party resource):
”American ethologists conducted an experiment to introduce” labor » relations in a flock of chimpanzee monkeys. They came up with a” job “and a” universal equivalent “- money in the enclosure. The work consisted of pulling the lever with an effort of 8 kilograms. Significant effort for small chimpanzees. This is a real unpleasant work for them. For each swing of the lever, the monkey received a branch of grapes. As soon as the chimpanzees learned the simple rule “work = reward”, they were immediately introduced an intermediate agent – multi-colored plastic circles. Instead of grapes, the chimpanzees began to receive tokens of different “denominations”…
A white token could buy one branch of grapes from people, a blue one – two, a red one – a glass of soda, and so on. Soon the monkey society became stratified. The same types arose in it as in the human herd. Workaholics and idlers, bandits and accumulators appeared. One monkey managed to lift the lever 185 times in 10 minutes! It wanted to make money so damn much, apparently. Some of the chimpanzees preferred not to work, but to take away from others instead. But the main thing according to the experimenters that the monkeys showed those character traits that were not previously noticeable – greed, cruelty and rage in defending their money and suspicion of each other.
This is an example of how not to build a society. There is another, less well-known experiment … It introduces a key parameter – fairness.
“Several pairs of chimpanzees repeatedly performed the task on instrumental skills: it was necessary to insert an object into a certain hole. The reward for the correct action was given to the animals by the experimenter, or it appeared from a specially designed machine. One chimpanzee always received a more valuable kind of food from the point of view of monkeys, the other – the less valuable kind. Researchers recorded the percentage of refusals to a less desirable reward, including those cases when the animal decided not to complete the task at all and, for example, went to another corner of the room.
It was found that if a rewarding piece of food is given out by a mechanism, then chimpanzees refuse the “worst” option only 2.4% of the time. However, if the reward comes from the experimenter, the monkeys reject the less preferred food 26.1% of the time. According to the researchers, if chimpanzees were to refuse the worst food because of feelings of injustice towards themselves, the percentages would not differ significantly. The fact that in the presence of the “human factor” monkeys by an order of magnitude are more likely to reject the award, suggests that the main role in deciding what to do with food is played by the attitude towards the experimenter.
Refusal of the “handouts” is, with a high probability, a demonstration of resentment towards him. Nevertheless, it can be assumed that the chimpanzees have some rudimentary notions of justice. ”
If we imagine that the mechanism that checks the work completion and distributes the reward is a smart contract adopted by the consensus of all monkeys, then I think there would be no rejection of the reward in principle.
I think the analogy is clear and I apologize for comparing our community to monkeys.
Ivan Kotelnikov: Luffy, how did you first encounter cryptocurrency?
Luffy: It was probably 2010-2011. I don’t remember exactly. At the dawn of bitcoin. I remember trying to explain how bitcoin works (which I then admired) to my friends, but they just laughed. Nobody laughs anymore today. Since then so much water (and bitcoins) has flowed under the bridge so that everybody should kick themselves. How many bitcoins were spent in SatoshiDice … Now my attitude to this matter is not so infantile, of course.
Svetoslav Bauer: Specify, what do you mean by saying “now my attitude to this is not so infantile”?
Luffy: More mature. But not only me, but the technology itself has matured.
Ivan Kotelnikov: Can you recall the moment when the crypto really sparked you? If it did, of course.
Luffy: If we discard all the exchange hypes to focus on technology, then around May last year. Details, I think, are not necessary.
Actually, my involvement in blockchain is periodic. Sometimes I deliberately chop the rope when I feel that I stick to the monitor too much, more often than my loved ones want it to. I don’t want to become some kind of crypto-hikikomori.
Ivan Kotelnikov: Luffy, why do you think cryptocurrency ignites people in the first place? After all, if you look from the point of view of old people, then this is like a Sberbank / Monobank application, only with its own specifics.
Luffy: The same thing thrills everyone. An absolute sense of ownership. Property that no one knows about, that no one can take away, which, if desired, can be stored even in your head (I mean the brain wallet). It’s funny that soon the richest person on the planet may be anonymous.
Svetoslav Bauer: What exactly impressed you about the design of Free TON?
Luffy: Comprehensiveness, speed, scalability. As a matter of fact, Free TON can be boosted to any complexity level.
The set of building blocks for creating new Internet is impressive. The Internet is for people, not corporations and malevolent governments.
Ivan Kotelnikov: By the way, I recently deployed a TON Labs SMV system on the mainnet. This is a rather tricky DeBot system that allows you to vote on proposals with crystals or DePool stakes:
tonos-cli debot fetch 0: 704c8d64aed3c79e84ab1a8fc7076de287aa8ddbb967687ce1342d71bd73ff32
Luffy: Thanks, will check it out.
Svetoslav Bauer: How did you end up in Free TON? Why?
Luffy: Incidentally, to be honest. Out of the corner of my eye, I followed the development of the original TON and the situation with the SEC deeply outraged me. Then it became clear that TON was a public ownership and a rebellious spirit woke up in me. S0, at the beginning participation in Free TON was more of a way to express my protest.
Svetoslav Bauer: On the forum you expressed the opinion that the idea of ”1 token = 1 vote” will eventually lead to plutocracy (the power of the rich) and this will essentially lead to feudalism and slavery of people with low intellectual abilities. But which governance do you think is the best?
Luffy: Not quite an accurate quote, but generally true. Let’s just say it worries me in the long run. And only in this context: imagine the near future, the entire social system is regulated by a decentralized computer on the blockchain and smart contracts. This system takes over not only economic and financial functions, but also many functions of the state. What is important in this context is that this system, paradoxical as it may sound, is a decentralized monopoly. One cannot disconnect from it, like for example, one cannot “disconnect” from the state, being its citizen.
Plutocracy is a direct consequence of this simple formula: 1 token = 1 vote. The more tokens you have, the more power you have. Sooner or later it will end up in a vicious circle – the more power you have, the more tokens you have. Everything is like in life. There was no need to reinvent the blockchain for this. And since this is a (almost) zero-sum game: the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. You can say here – everything is like in life, but it is not. In theory, you can become so poor that you completely lose the ability to somehow influence the system. Stop existing for her. And in the absence of alternatives (and we agreed that either there are no alternatives, or they are no better), this can turn out to be fatal.
Well, these are, of course, my anti-utopian fantasies. You may have seen my examples of the driver and his pregnant wife in the DGO chat. They partially illustrate my concerns.
Svetoslav Bauer: Hmm … it turns out that you also don’t see which voting model would be more appropriate, from the standpoint of rationality and fairness?
Luffy: This is the problem of choosing between HUMAN and ALGORITHM. Voting without the notorious human factor is basically impossible. And algorithms fail to determine the value (or usefulness to the network) of creative work through voting. Algorithms are predictable, humans are not. So there is not much choice here: while the distribution of tokens takes is in the form of a kind of virtual off-chain Proof-of-Work, a person (with all his flaws) is needed to evaluate the work. The question is how to ensure trust in this person or group of people? How to understand if he acts in personal, selfish interests or in the interests of the entire network?
Especially in conditions of pseudonymity and in the absence of the need to bear responsibility for the “wrong” decisions. Force him to behave in a predictable way for the majority of the network? Turn a person into an algorithm? Create conditions under which self-interest = network interest? Here I have more questions than answers.
Svetoslav Bauer: Yeah … really – this is a real experiment and the question remains unanswered. This is one of the dilemmas of decentralized governance. What else do you think of this? Would you share your thoughts from our personal conversation?
Luffy: About dilemmas? Some things I would describe as paradoxes, not dilemmas. I divided FreeTON into two fundamental components: technological and political. And now they are in conflict with each other. There are few complaints about the technological part where the disadvantages are rather the flip side of the advantages. Well, for example, PoS does not require huge energy consumption, but at the same time it has a plutocratic nature. Smart contracts open up unprecedented horizons due to their Turing completeness, but this is also the danger – the smart contract code can be malicious or just leaky …
Well, the main point, of course, is that the technological part has not been completed yet. But, in fact, this is not even a complaint … for objective reasons.
The most important thing is that the technological part has big ambitions and every chance of mass adoption. Very rich ecosystem and design with huge scalability in mind. There is everything needed to rewrite the Internet again and change the essence of human relationships, no matter how pompous it may sound. Do, we have a complete set of tools.
But the most controversial part is the political one. Together with the launch of the network, the political process was launched as such. It is nothing more than just political. Its essence lies in the distribution of values and power in the system. And this process is not ideal, among other things, because it was not incorporated into the design of the original TON, but became a necessary measure. This process has already been dubbed revolutionary, but in my opinion it is difficult to call a solution revolutionary if there are no alternatives.
And this “politics” rolls us back to the “pre-bitcoin” times. There is a need for trust again. If bitcoin took TRUST outside the equation, as well as the need for ethics and morality, then the political component does not have such a protocol of trust. Now, many people have a question: why do we need the blockchain in which the basic principle of the blockchain is disabled? The answer here is very simple – you cannot jump from the primitive communal system immediately into the capitalist one, bypassing the slaveholding and feudal ones.
The system behaves exactly as it should – if the system encourages corruption, then sooner or later it will manifest itself. Likely that even among those people who previously considered themselves honest. We don’t even need to refer to any fundamental works on the theory of social choice. It is enough to look at the monkeys in the rather famous experiment that I referred to earlier.
And the creation of a confidential protocol for the political part is what “breaks” my brain. Among the proposed options I have not yet found a model for myself which can work in my opinion. And I have no recipe. In general, I do not really understand how the consensus mechanism, which works great in the technological part, can be applied in the same competitions.
Consensus is usually of a dichotomous nature: execute – pardon, yes – no, attack – retreat. So, consensus for the competitions is not suitable, rather voting is applicable. And the human factor is very clearly distinguished in the voting. These are dilemmas.
In general, the moral of this fable is that while there is no confidential protocol in the political part, there can be no question of any decentralization in principle. And this stage is natural; we just have to go through it with minimal damage to our reputation.
Svetoslav Bauer: Luffy, thank you very much for this great conversation. Perhaps we will dwell on this for now, although I know that we still have a lot to talk about. I am sure this interview will be useful for the entire community! See you.
Luffy: See you later.
Interview prepared by the MOVETON team and translated by Lucifer Morningstar.