Dust Protocol raises $3M for a decentralized, blockchain-based strategy to info vetting • TechCrunch


The group at Dirt Protocol is utilizing blockchain know-how to create a brand new strategy to confirm info.

The startup doesn’t plan to launch its platform till later this yr, nevertheless it introduced at present that it has raised $3 million in seed funding from Basic Catalyst, Greylock, Lightspeed, Pantera Capital, Digital Forex Group, SV Angel, Avichal Garg, Elad Gil, Fred Ehrsam, Linda Xie and others.

Founder Yin Wu beforehand created lockscreen startup Echo (acquired by Microsoft in 2015) and laundry startup Prim. She instructed me that after changing into within the cryptocurrency business, she was involved in regards to the fear, uncertainty and doubt round coin choices — in spite of everything, we’ve coated several ICOs the place firms seem to have disappeared with folks’s cash.

“The market at present continues to be unregulated, with excessive incentive for folks to unfold misinformation for private achieve,” Wu mentioned.

Her answer? Construct databases the place anybody can contribute info, however the place they’ve “pores and skin within the recreation,” so there’s a monetary penalty in the event that they’re not truthful.

Dust Protocol isn’t attempting to create a single, definitive knowledge repository, however slightly to offer the instruments for builders to construct their very own databases. These databases may concentrate on issues like ICOs (offering info just like the group, the traders and the variety of tokens in circulation), or on-line publishers (to assist advertisers keep away from bots), or skilled listings and membership lists.

dirt protocol

Dust Protocol diagram based mostly on Dimitri De Jonghe

There shall be a single token that works throughout the Dust platform. Customers might want to stake tokens so as to add new info to databases, to problem an entry or to vote in disputes — you’ll be penalized (by shedding tokens) for including misinformation and rewarded for weeding it out.

Whereas that ought to create an financial incentive for folks to not simply keep away from inaccuracies but additionally to actively take away them, it doesn’t totally handle the query of figuring out the reality — who, in the end, will get to determine whether or not an entry is correct? Wu mentioned Dust will assist quite a lot of completely different “governance constructions,” whether or not that’s centralized moderation, free-for-all voting or a system the place votes are weighted by fame.

Wu additionally instructed that the system is designed in a method to discourage concerted misinformation campaigns. For one factor, hoaxers will most likely wish to goal the extra widespread databases, however these are additionally those that ought to entice extra lively moderation. Plus, she mentioned, “The extra beneficial the community, the extra persons are contributing info, the costlier [it becomes to contribute].”

A recurring theme in our dialog was the benefit of a “decentralized” strategy to knowledge verification. Wu mentioned that isn’t all the time the fitting method to go, however she mentioned it is sensible when there’s a giant platform with a centralized vetting course of that works too slowly, or in conditions the place “you may’t belief the curator” of knowledge, or with knowledge units which might be simply proprietary and costly to entry — whereas you need to purchase tokens to contribute info, Wu mentioned that Dust Protocol knowledge units must be freely accessible, and “no single social gathering owns that info and might shut off entry.”

In the same vein, she mentioned Dust Protocol isn’t presently targeted on creating wealth. In the end, the enterprise mannequin will most likely contain some mixture of giving the software program away without cost and charging for added providers.

“We’re targeted on creating this open knowledge set that anybody can use,” Wu mentioned. “If we obtain that objective, I’m assured that some monetization will come up.”



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