Commit 78287748 authored by Juan Caballero's avatar Juan Caballero
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The HonorBox project allows self-publication with a "pay afterwards"/honor-system approach, a business model that has been adopted in much of the world (particularly in Latin America) where e-book piracy is a major issue and impediment to small-scale/independent publishing. The SourceCheck cooperative has previously prototyped forms of it for hackathons and a [Mozilla Grant for the Web](https://sourcecheck.org/final-report-imprimatur/) (the grant program focused on "Web monetization", a pay-by-the-minute payment model).
In our research, we found a major sticking point was that a payment-endpoint (whether a blockchain address or a platform-based human-readable identifier like an email or a Venmo handle) required a leap of faith in donators, particularly today's web users acclimatized to Web2. We took a step back from HonorBox to work on the identity assurance needs for payments, particularly cryptocurrency payments. Cryptocurrency also represents a certain "captive audience" of crypto-native businesses with their own publication and identity needs, which we identified as a good population for "early adoption" and beta testing.
In our research, we found a major sticking point was that a payment-endpoint (whether a blockchain address or a platform-based human-readable identifier like an email or a Venmo handle) required a leap of faith in donators, particularly today's web users acclimatized to Web2. We took a step back from HonorBox to work on the identity assurance needs for payments, particularly cryptocurrency payments. Our goal here was to make a kind of context-independent identity-verification "meta-platform" (to borrow [a concept](https://medium.com/selfrule/meta-platforms-and-cooperative-network-of-networks-effects-6e61eb15c586) from foundational SSI thinker Sam Smith), enabling direct payments to be anchored in a cryptographically-auditable and platform-independent profile. Our goal is to make direct micropayments both economic and trustworthy for a small niche of the creator economy, and expand out from that over time.
In our Phase 1 hackathon, we focused on a self-service, "dApp" model for identity assurance, creating verifiable profiles that bind a cryptocurrency address to some verifications that might establish trust: control of a domain and control of a Twitter account. In Phase 2, we plan to extend the functionalities of this prototype and make it stable enough for production/launch in Phase 3, as well as returning focus to the HonorBox use-case which depends on these verified profiles to generate revenue based on transaction fees.
Importantly, cryptocurrency is still a high barrier for entry for some populations; for that reason, we are requiring no SSI experience and planning to provide tutorials for creators & publishers with no cryptocurrency experience. On the donor side of the payment, we are optimizing our UX designs and tutorial/explanatory material to allow donations directly from mainstream custodial wallets like coinbase, crypto.com, and gemini, which represent the lion's share of novice users. Cryptocurrency also represents a certain "captive audience" of crypto-native businesses with their own publication and identity needs, which we identified as a good population for "early adoption" and beta testing. Additionally, we are hoping that the HonorBox publication platform will bring in another core set of early adopters, which can seed a multi-front adoption strategy after launch.
In summary, then, the HonorBox publication platform relies on the more general-purpose SourceCheck Profile system we built out in Phase 1, but also represents a set of use-cases that can serve for easy beta-testing and early adoption drivers. In our Phase 1 hackathon development, we focused on a stand-alone, self-service "dApp" model for identity assurance, creating verifiable profiles that bind a cryptocurrency address to some verifications that might establish trust: control of a domain and control of a Twitter account. In Phase 2, we plan to extend the functionalities of this prototype and make it stable enough for production/launch in Phase 3, as well as returning focus to the HonorBox use-case which depends on these verified profiles to generate revenue based on transaction fees. In Phase 3, we would like to focus on additional synergies with the ISCC content registration system being incubated in the IDUnion SSI coalition and being standardized at ISO (one member of our team is already attending the ISO meetings towards this end).
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