Enabling Trust by Consensus
Trust is a complex social phenomenon, captured very poorly by the binary nature of Internet trust systems. This paper proposes a social consensus system of trust: “Do You Believe in Tinker Bell? The Social Externalities of Trust,” by Khaled Baqer and Ross Anderson.
From the abstract:
Inspired by Tinker Bell, we propose a new approach: a trust service whose power arises directly from the number of users who decide to rely on it. Its power is limited to the provision of a single service, and failures to deliver this service should fairly rapidly become evident. As a proof of concept, we present a privacy-preserving reputation system to enhance quality of service in Tor, or a similar proxy network, with built-in incentives for correct behaviour. Tokens enable a node to interact directly with other nodes and are regulated by a distributed authority. Reputation is
directly proportional to the number of tokens a node accumulates. By using blind signatures, we prevent the authority learning which entity has which tokens, so it cannot compromise privacy. Tokens lose value exponentially over time; this negative interest rate discourages hoarding. We demotivate costly system operations using taxes. We propose this reputation system not just as a concrete mechanism for systems requiring robust and privacy-preserving reputation metrics, but also as a thought experiment in how to x the security economics of emergent trust.
Blog post on the paper.