About trust

Pondering about trust in a ‘system’…

I think ‘trust’ is one of the most under-estimated ‘resources’ (or capitals if you want) in a society.

When we get over a group size of ‘Dunbar’s number’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar’s_number we set up systems to parallel direct trust so that socially undesirable behaviour is stopped or mitigated (adapted from a talk from Andreas Antonopoulos). While the effectiveness, efficiency, accountability, transparency and ‘justness’ of these systems are often shaky (the difference between ‘justice’ and ‘what is just’), we do need some form of these systems to make a larger and more complex society work. They often approximate direct p2p trust - I’m no lawyer so I may be taking more liberty then I should here.

Simplifying things; people use ‘systems’ when they are obliged to use them (stick) and/ or if they get value out of it (carrot). They respect these systems when they are ‘just’ and can be trusted. Blockchain systems are said to be ‘trustless’, which I interpret as that interactions between two stakeholders, who do not necessarily trust each other, are safeguarded by a system that can (in theory) not be corrupted by anyone. Thus, (up to now) there is trust in the system itself that it will work in a ‘just’ way. This is better than many of the current ‘Trusted Third Party’ TTP systems, which can, and often are, corrupted and/ or not ‘just’ (to some extent). However, at this moment, the blockchain system also comes with clear problems (but that would be another thread). Thus, it looks like we can trust the system itself.

Trust in a blockchain system and how it is used is necessary for its adoption: low trust in intentions, reliability, value (stability), accessibility (when it counts) will make it fly like a brick… What makes us trust something/ someone? Several things come to mind: shared vision/ values, getting through a difficult situation together, positive track record, skin-in-the-game, reliability, effectiveness, accountability, transparency, … Not complete but these give an indication. Not really sure where I want this dialogue to go but it popped into my head while I was reading the white paper of Ethearnal https://ethearnal.com/ethearnal-whitepaper.pdf. I found the way they try to build trust between freelancer and client using ‘skin-in-the-game’ through tokens interesting. It also made me think more about trust itself.

Probably my key question is, how can we ensure that the Cardano system is trusted, and with that, adopted? Having a solid ‘system’ will not be enough I think…

Any thoughts on this?

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I think the reason why the blockchain is unconditionally credible is due to its consensus mechanism. Without this consensus mechanism, the current Internet will be overwhelmed by flooding messages, and often, whether it be honest or not, any data can be copied and manufactured endlessly.