ORC Working Group Minutes

September 13, 2017

Cross-posted from https://github.com/orcproject/meetings/blob/master/minutes/2017-09-13.md


DATE:   2017-09-13  
AUTHOR: BOOKCHIN  

Topics

Announcements

Discussion

Attendance

Branding/Evangelism Approach

We need to update the website to communicate what does rather what what it
is. We need to be publishing content, so let's use a static site generator - maybe hugo. Jhonghee can help set that up.

ORC has to be easy to use, because of the people we want to help.

Who do we help? Let's write some user stories

Zcash Integration Timeline

The plan has been to integrate Zcash as a mechanism for purchasing storage (or
rather reward reliable providers). The Zcash board has requested more details
regarding delivery timeline and evaluation plan.

Since the initial plan to introduce a cryptocurrency into ORC, we have designed
and are preparing to release a new reputation system. The reputation system is
designed to encourage symmetric use of the network. This fits in well with our
primary goal right now of working with various non-profit organizations (such
as the HRF) to help them set up ORC nodes for accepting submissions and keeping
data safe and uncensorable.

This use case does not demand monetary incentive and the introduction of such
an incentive may negatively skew how the network is utilized as it relates to
these organizations. For instance, let's say HRF, Courage Foundation, ACLU all
run ORC nodes. All three of these organization have mutual incentives to keep
their nodes online (because they need to keep their objects from decaying) and
in doing so they provide capacity for each other. This, in theory at least,
yields a very stable and reliable network - every peer's incentives are
aligned to utilize and provide capacity.

These organizations can also promote ORC as an option for donors to help
support their cause. By running an ORC node, you can help support these
organizations. Introducing cryptocurrency is a step towards the
commercialization of the platform and may harm the incentive model that is
paramount for us to help the organizations and people we want to help now.

Furthermore, as Ryan and I saw behaviorally in the Storj community, is that
the introduction of this type of market creates a large burden of work, where
we would be constantly having to troubleshoot and iterate on the payments
system. This is not the direction we want to go this soon - we need to spend
our limited time on solving for the use cases defined, prove that ORC works
for these use cases and only then consider the introduction of a market for
storage.

Even then, as we experienced already, providers behaving "correctly" in the
network will make pennies by charging for storage capacity, which leads to
dense centralization - some of these providers will set up thousands of nodes
in order to actually make any measurable amount of money. Those who are unable
to make any money and are unwilling to go through the effort to thousands of
nodes will leave, creating churn. Due to ORC's anonymity properties, detecting
the resulting centralization in the former outcome is difficult if not simply
unfeasible.

This is exactly the type of behavior that ORC intends to disincentivize and if
we make the wrong choice too soon, it could be disasterous for the project. The
most responsible course of action right now is to rescind our grant proposal
and re-evaluate where we are in 6 months as it relates to the introduction of
cryptocurrency. Zcash is still the only legitimate option if we decide to go
that route, so perhaps the grant program will still be available if we do
decide later that it's something we wish to do given much more thought on
where it fits, what needs to be done, and how it can be evaluated.

New Feature Development Plans

Actionable