[tor-dev] Proposal for improving social incentives for relay operators

David Stainton dstainton415 at gmail.com
Wed Jun 11 09:41:55 UTC 2014

The "torcoin" idea is SUSPICIOUS (and makes me think of a thousand
conspiracy theories).
What is "torcoin"? How can I most effectively and systematically
completely destroy this idea?
The good news is that we don't need it, it's not endorsed by the Tor
Project... and it'll never work.
The non-financial-incentivizing ideas in your post sound OK... perhaps
a bit unnecessary.



On Tue, Jun 10, 2014 at 12:26 AM, Virgil Griffith <i at virgil.gr> wrote:
> For a while I've been seeking to grow the Tor network in both size and
> goodput.  Towards this end, I've explored various avenues such as increasing
> user-awareness via tor2web.  More recently, I've been exploring financial
> incentives like TorCoin.
> Not wanting to strictly limit ourselves to financial incentives, I began
> reading the literature on incentivizing volunteers.  The most relevant
> papers I found are:
> * http://www-2.rotman.utoronto.ca/facbios/file/LMS2_ManSci-Paper-Final.pdf
> * http://pareto.uab.es/~prey/gneezy_254.pdf
> * https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/3308162/Slonim%202013.pdf
> The most relevant of these papers (Lacetera 2013) cites the major
> motivations for volunteer labor are: "pure altruism, warm glow, self-image,
> and reputation".  Upon reading this I realized TorCoin's technical
> interestingness had blinded me to much easier to leverage motivations of
> "warm glow" and "reputation".
> I propose the following system for harnessing "warm glow" and "reputation"
> for Tor relay operators.  I am willing to fund this in its entirety.
> I propose establishing a subdomain on torproject.org giving each Tor relay
> operator (hereafter affectionately called "Torati") his/her own page using
> the information her machines provide to the Tor Directory Consensus.  The
> fields to show on her "Torati profile page" would be things like:
> ContactInfo, PGP fingerprint, list of server nicknames, date the Directory
> Authorities first saw her contact info, etc.  You can also imagine a
> receiving special "special recognition stars" for operating an exit or
> bridge node.  Moreover, some bandwidth measurement like EigenSpeed or
> TorCoin gain traction, the Torati page could recognize contributors with by
> listing the sum total she has relayed to the Tor network.
> Naturally a node can opt-out of Torati recognition by setting a parameter in
> the torrc file.
> I argue this would be a cheap and easy way to motivate operators to
> volunteer more bandwidth for the Tor network.  As mentioned before, I am
> willing to fund this in its entirety.
> -Virgil
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