Public chats as prime real estate - radical markets SNT use case

Public chat names, and things like ENS usernames, operate similar to domain names and real estate in some ways. If I use POPULAR_NAME for a public chat and purpose X, it makes it harder for people to use it for purpose Y.

Idea: Use Harberger taxes to value temporary ownership of certain channel, and use those taxes to fund further development of Status, for example through SNT burning.

How it would work in practice
Let’s say an organization like Status has a group of people who don’t want to talk token price in #status-devs. They value this property to a certain amount of SNT, say 10 000 SNT, which they are willing to stake. As a consequence of this staking, three things happen:

  1. that group of people get some moderation control over that group (privileges)
  2. they pay 7% in taxes to some address / SNT gets burnt, i.e. 700 SNT per year.
  3. the price of that channel is 10k, so if someone else comes along they can buy it for a bit more than that

This means you get moderation in a decentralized way, and by taxing the usage of a common good appropriately Status can potentially self-fund development (e.g. burn to increase value of other staked/kept tokens). Note that there’s no one time trust decision, and Status as an actor is arbitrary in this case - any actor could choose to perform this action, if they value the limited resource appropriately.

The risks are also lower than ENS usernames because losing moderation over a group is less risky compared to having something like tradable identities.

This can be implemented in our application protocol and be respected by clients by default. Even if other clients are developed who don’t respect this filter ability enabled, that’d be OK since the corresponding property value would decrease for that client-universe.

A possible modification of this idea would be to keep this as a separate form of chat, i.e. a club chat in order to keep public chats 100% public (but possibly spammy). These club chats can have different rule sets, for example private, heavy moderation, AMA style, etc.


It’s worth emphasizing that something like this was considered for ENS usernames:

In the case of Harberger taxes, we actually did consider almost exactly that same proposal in the context of the Ethereum Name System(our decentralized alternative to DNS), but the proposal was ultimately rejected. I asked the ENS developers why it was rejected. Paraphrasing their reply, the challenge is as follows.

Many ENS domain names are of a type that would only be interesting to precisely two classes of actors: (i) the “legitimate owner” of some given name, and (ii) scammers. Furthermore, in some particular cases, the legitimate owner is uniquely underfunded, and scammers are uniquely dangerous. One particular case is MyEtherWallet, an Ethereum wallet provider. MyEtherWallet provides an important public good to the Ethereum ecosystem, making Ethereum easier to use for many thousands of people, but is able to capture only a very small portion of the value that it provides; as a result, the budget that it has for outbidding others for the domain name is low. If a scammer gets their hands on the domain, users trusting MyEtherWallet could easily be tricked into sending all of their ether (or other Ethereum assets) to a scammer. Hence, because there is generally one clear “legitimate owner” for any domain name, a pure property rights regime presents little allocative efficiency loss, and there is a strong overriding public interest toward stability of reference (ie. a domain that’s legitimate one day doesn’t redirect to a scam the next day), so any level of Harberger taxation may well bring more harm than good.

I suggested to the ENS developers the idea of applying Harberger taxes to short domains (eg. abc.eth), but not long ones; the reply was that it would be too complicated to have two classes of names. That said, perhaps there is some version of the proposal that could satisfy the specific constraints here; I would be interested to hear Posner and Weyl’s feedback on this particular application.

I’m not convinced the same reasoning applies for something like chats, because it’s more of a (possibly restricted) rule set, as opposed to a unique “poor” identity that people use for transacting a lot of value (MEW counter example).

Yaaaaaas @oskarth :heart: This is a very interesting idea. Would be great to hear from @rramos about the similarities/differences with the current Tribute To Talk contracts and idea (which are basically your club chats afaict), and whether the two can usefully coexist, or which is better.

Interesting idea! Reminds me of what Swarm City is doing with hashtags

Also see a recent proposal I had related to public chats and default extensions:

Nice use case for SNT!

One thing we need to think is that implementing Harbinger Taxes might need that we implement some mechanism for subscriptions, since applying a tax is akin to paying to a subscription. There are already some research going on with this: and I think this idea is something that could benefit from the use of the gas relayer, to keep staking simple without dealing with ether.

Regarding @cryptowanderer 's idea of TributeToTalk coexisting with this, TtT is intended to be used as a economic “blacklist” meaning “If you don’t pay the required fee, you will not be able to talk with a contact”. How tribute to talk could be extended to coexist with this idea? Tribute to talk is currently coded in a way that you set a fee value, and that’s it. You would just have to wait for people to pay you SNT to talk with you.

If we were to “radicalize” Tribute to Talk, to be used with public chats, it would be more of a “Tribute to Join”. I would see it as economic rules for joining a public channel. If we set a fee for people to join a channel, the channel would be taxed based on the fee set. If the channel runs out of funds to pay for the “Tribute to Join” taxes, then people will be able to join the channel without having to pay fees.