DistributedTown wins Textile awards in Apollo and EthOnline categories

winners-circle Nov 06, 2020

DistributedTown (DiTo) is a new token-based project that aims to help communities provide support and economic mobility to their members. We first learned of DistributedTown during the Apollo hackathon but saw them advancing the project even further during EthOnline. Today, we are excited by the rare opportunity to award the DistributedTown project for two awards. Once for best Apollo hack tackling societal issues. The second, for the best use of the Mailboxes API at EthOnline.

Please read below to learn more about the project and the three-person team behind it.

Where are you from?

Alex, Italy. Milena, Bulgaria. Lorenzo, Italy

How did you get interested in Filecoin?

Alex: Personally, I believe that decentralized storage is the foundation to build a truly distributed network (and a more "humane" society at large) - so I've always been interested in it, starting with P2P files sharing (in the late 2000s) and eventually got to Blockchain through that (since 2016, before the Bitcoin craze). To add economic incentives was the missing link to make the industry self-sustainable and ready for larger adoption, so this year first, I worked on a perma-app deployed on Arweave and then joined the Apollo program to get ready for Filecoin's launch!

Milena: Actually, I heard about the technology here at the hackathon, but it makes a lot of sense for our project and for any other decentralized system.

Lorenzo: I originally got interested in IPFS since I watched the Silicon Valley TV series, and I got really fascinated by the latest iteration of the Pied Piper protocol, which was a p2p web. When I saw IPFS for the first time, the similarities were clear, so I started building on it for personal projects and my uni thesis, which included the interaction of IPFS with Ethereum. I think that Filecoin is the most natural way to incentivize IPFS operators to make the vision of a dWeb truly possible.

What got you interested in Textile?

Alex: One of the core values of DiTo is pseudonymity - letting anyone be free to give/receive based on their own personal value, rather than leveraging on their personal data (= being exploited). In Textile, we found a perfect ally to do so. Initially by configuring a general ThreadDB, and later optimizing it with a Multi-thread structure, with a thread per community. As a final step, we also integrated Mailboxes API in order for communities to send automated, decentralized "signals" to each other (in proximity) whenever the "variety" of the skills available internally hit below a certain threshold.

Milena: ThreadDB is great, and it's solving the huge problem of aiming for decentralisation but also having a single centralized database. Also, the community is great. They helped a lot in their Slack/Discord channels. Thanks for that!

Lorenzo: I heard of Textile when they launched their Textile Photos service. I found it cool but didn't dig up much more at the time. Fast forward to ETHOnline, and I saw their services, and I was really impressed by the quality, the quantity, and the ease of use! They now have all the potential to become the default developer gateway to everything dWeb storage-related, so gg to them!

What pain point are you trying to solve with your hack?

1. It's hard for small Web3 / local communities to organize internally starting from scratch (new project, no funds, etc) while keeping account of the value produced by each individual member and supporting each other / dividing tasks efficiently.

2. People in the world have limited personal mobility, together with the fact that there is an exhausting degree of bureaucracy/red tape for changing job, role, position, or anything that allows individuals to get engaged/active in their field of interest/community. Moreover, in the current society, changing habits/location/job corresponds to being forced to "sell off" personal data/identity and be judged based on that, rather than personal skills/talents/contributions (= meritocracy)

3. Quadratic funding is a brilliant solution to bring fairness and opportunity to projects aimed at Social Good. Unfortunately, the current QF model is exposed to Sybil attack, matching/funding pool manipulation, and "Keynesian Beauty contest" situations.

What is your solution?

DistributedTown solves these problems with an elegant mathematical design and a subtractive model for governance.

1. Our Mutual credit system allows for accountable, non-speculative community tokens (with a locking/unlocking system for members to transition from a community to the other without losing the rights acquired nor creating unbalances in communities' vaults)

2. Our SkillWallet ID is a universal login system that allows anyone to validate their identity disregarding the context (communities, projects, events, hackathons, gaming platforms, ...) and in a 100% interoperable, chain-agnostic fashion. Moreover, they just need to show a QR-code to validate themselves, and it's based on skills, rather than personal data.

3. Combining 1 ("Proof-of-Contribution") and 2 ("Skill Wallet") with a "median buffer" (= "Community Treasury"), communities and community members can easily join a hybrid financial ecosystem that allows them to raise funds faster, fairer and longer than in current Quadratic Funding models (i.e.: CLR). Moreover, since Liquidity Pool returns are distributed based on DiTo holdings (see 1. and 2.), Sybil attacks, pool manipulations, and popular games are impossible by design.

Why do you think developers might be interested in your project?

Alex: At the most basic level, DistributedTown allows any new project/team to create a community, efficiently distribute tasks between members, and receive credits based on (measurable) contribution. Potentially, any Web3 project can use it, as well as hackers and junior developers - to validate their credentials at events or gain credits and experience.

Milena: I think that developers would love to have a verified skill wallet. Joining hackathons, applying for jobs, or looking for teammates for a project. They won't need CVs, linked in, or a bunch of interviews. That's great.

Lorenzo: If devs are excited about Gitcoin, they must be excited about DiTo. But with the additional possibility to have a more immediate impact with their work since communities are small, and the better they are, the more they get rewarded.

What are you planning to work on next?

Alex: Honestly, I believe DistributedTown to be my "biggest bet" so far, and I would like for it to become my main project.

I've always loved traveling and art, though, so I can't wait to be able to enjoy these things again - and I have a couple of ongoing projects (Non-Zone & Intoo TV) in these fields. In the future, I'd like to take some time off to travel, write, and work on extensions of previous protocols that I designed using prediction markets to allow people to tokenize their intangible assets (ideas, interest, time) and increase their personal freedom. Also, I'd like to continue some previous work in autonomous geo-verification while diving deeper into topology and other mathematics fields.

Milena: DiTo is my side project, and I am quite happy with it. The team is great, the technology is interesting, and the idea is amazing. I am super excited about it.

Lorenzo: Currently, my side project is DistributedTown, and I'm excited to learn new stuff while working on it!

Where can people follow your work?

Alex: MRA Crypto, Twitter, Linkedin, jabyl.eth

Milena: Github, LinkedIn

Lorenzo: Personal Website, GitHub, Twitter

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