Is there a way to reward people for popular content?

Continuing the discussion from The Economics of safecoin:

I’m looking at the model and this seems fine but how do we optimize the network in such a way that content which gets accessed a lot gets rewarded somehow?

If farmers get rewarded what about content producers who actually upload/share the popular content? Is it possible to do this? What are the pro’s and cons?

This is The Grail IMO. If this discussion group figures that out… holy moley…

@dirvine has mentioned this sort of reward for popular content in numerous interviews. I had the impression that it was inherent in the system already. Perhaps he’ll comment.

Cons: Others than the original author may upload content and get rewarded for something they didn’t produce. Usage may be faked and faking services could make a business faking popularity (a bit like selling Facebook “likes”). For apps, the author could create a system where users get a share of the popularity reward. While the apps offers nothing of value, people would simply visit it daily (using an automated script or something) to access it and reap a part of the reward.

In my opinion, while the idea is great in theory, any such system can be gamed too easily. I’m personally in favor of only implementing the most robust systems in MaidSafe’s core, the ones that stand the least chance of being cheated. If these popularity mechanisms are being gamed on a large scale it will really harm MaidSafe’s general reputation, dragging down the trust in the other mechanisms with it.

In contrast, the farming mechanism is robust for example. Farming is objectively measurable and if implemented properly, it can’t be faked. You can’t measure popularity like you can measure disk space. Popularity is fuzzy, it doesn’t have an objective and trustworthy unit of measurement.


Agreed. Maybe these kind of systems can be robust (see Reputation Systems) - e.g. only users who are trusted to earn (like trusted apps in the MaidSafe app shop). I think a non-gamable reputation system, built on top of MaidSafe rather than in the core, but perhaps an extenstion to the API, would be a game ;-) changer!

That would be quite something. Yet, reputation and popularity systems are measurements of assumed intentions and character derived from human actions and activities. They’ll always be fuzzy, and I think they can always be gamed or at least be misleading. Having a good reputation doesn’t stop anyone from doing something horrible.

Also, what is the context of reputation? Is it in the context of making amazing forum posts, being a reliable business partner, having an amazing sense of humour? A general reputation system is in my view less useful than a focused one. A rating for the trustworthiness of a farming vault for example is useful, it says something about the likelihood of the node suddenly disappearing. The rating is however only meaningful within that particular context.

All good points. Let’s see what we can imagine and if we can find value in it!

Continuing the discussion from Is there a way to reward people for popular content?:

You can set it so it’s not anonymous and then pay people who are uniquely identified as the author in some way. That is something which is solvable if it’s even a problem at all (I don’t know if we will even need copyright anymore with the kind of technology we will soon have).

You can profit by being first to upload and that could be your copyright. Simply be first and register it to your unique human identity. There are problems but you can get around it too if you’re creative.

You haven’t exactly shown how it can be gamed in a permanent way. You’re saying the business model for content could change but people would still profit from content. You could argue that the producers of content might not profit from content but if you design it in the right way then whoever releases it first would get the majority of the profit and then distributors would get a percentage of the profit.

I don’t see how it would affect MaidSafe’s reputation more than anything else would. If you have content at all then it’s going to affect the reputation of MaidSafe. The point I think is it all depends on the mechanism you use to let people vote up or rate content. If you do it in such a way so that only a human being gets to vote (one vote per unique human) then how could that be gamed? That would probably be more fair than what we have now.

For example journalists could upload a story and get a payment for it if they get enough readers and they all think it’s accurate. Popularity is the only way you can monetize these things because what else do we have?

Advertisements? That’s popularity.
Micropayments? That’s popularity.
Profit sharing? You measure value on popularity.

Content has to be monetized. If it’s gamed then a new way to monetize it which is harder to game will evolve out of it. I say do it and let it be gamed so that the best business models can emerge. If we don’t even try then MaidSafe will never be useful because no one will have an incentive to give content to the world.


This is what I agree with. It should be built on top of MaidSafe but it’s essential to have it. Every kind of content on MaidSafe in my opinion should be monetized. We can do this through a micropayment infrastructure and put cryptocurrency to use.

Reputation is important and of course you need a way to give people a permanent human identity while allowing pseudo-anonymity. The permanent identity could be used to allow people to profit by sharing content with MaidSafe. If we do not provide an incentive for people to profit from sharing content then there will not any exclusive content on MaidSafe.

Exclusive content is the only reason people will think to use MaidSafe early on. The other reason people will use it is for private storage but the private storage isn’t why we are all having these discussions as that’s the least exciting part of MaidSafe.

As cool as it is to have an unlimited private storage account if you also have an unlimited ability to share then you can create new forms of journalism which would actually have the incentive built in. That incentive would be enough to potentially save journalism as an industry because advertising isn’t working and subscription models only work for large (probably corrupt) organizations.

Beyond journalism you have game developers who could want to use MaidSafe if it were reliable enough. The game developers and players in my opinion could make money by using equity crowd funding (if the JOBS ACT were to allow). If the JOBS ACT does not allow then you could do some sort of presale mechanism where people buy the tokens in advance similar to Safecoin.

The equity crowd funding method is the best method because ownership of the content would be shared with a group of human beings. It would exist on paper in the real world protected by the legal system. So this method is preferred if you care about reputation.

The alternative is to use new funding mechanisms based on coins, tokens, or smart property where you either do some sort of profit sharing or another mechanism so that distributors who help to market the game can get some in game digital object or game play token. The idea would be to make as many people as possible owners of the game or sort of like employees in the DAC which profits in a way where everyone wins.

Developers will make money through partnerships with their fans. Artists/musicians will also be able to do similar. Crowd fund your new project and share a percentage of profit with your biggest fans. Create a market around that.

Use micropayments to let people use your tokens to access your content. If they don’t have your token they cannot access your content without buying your token. Safecoins could be used as the universal token from which to buy all other tokens because everyone would have to pay the MaidSafe network itself separately. The idea I’m putting up for discussion is on how we can monetize content in a way which is in symbiosis with SAFEnet.


Lots of good points in both your above posts, but this is worth repeating. Brilliant!

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Yeah I think I agree with this point. This should be the copyright, then deduplication could maybe play a role in eliminating the need for making additional copies of something, and always link back to the original content creator.

This could somehow tie into smart contracts for fund distribution on projects involving more than one person. We really should keep that in mind always: the Artist is in almost all cases The Artists.


Would there be easy ways to alter the content such that the data is unique to the system but the change in content is negligible to the user?

Suppose I upload a copy of Abbey Road that has sixty seconds of goats bleeting at the end of it.

or reframed the godfather such that there’s a one pixel thick border of black around the frame.

Yeah that would get around it. Just recompressing it would work.

I think the hope is that it’d just be easier to go with the copy that’s already floating around. It’s not meant to stop piracy, just hope that it would have people lean into paying for it.

The concern comes in when some huge jerk tries to make money by distributing someone else’s work and they gain more traction. That’s my biggest concern.

I think it someone knows they’re paying a jerk for something they didn’t make, the majority of people would try to find the actual legit version instead. Assuming its easy to find. Quickly.


That makes sense.
I agree that most people when faced with the option of paying the real owner/creator vs the copier would opt for the real owner. Especially in this model in which yes, the option is to PAY one or the other a small amount, neither is free.

So I suppose the only wrinkle that might still prevent fair payment would be making sure the choice is easy to make in the first place… that this moral decision is easy for them to make.

I could imagine a scenario in which video content is somewhat decentralized… various content creators are setting up shop on their various pages just like the battling Netflix, Hulu, HBOGo model… in this situation some jerk swirls in with a hugely popular site, full of pirated content. His supermarket draws interest and popularity because his stockpile of films draw more searches and have built in viewership as opposed to my little lemonade stand with the three films I’ve made. So if, 5 years down the line, I manage to make a cult classic or a break out indie, he has the store that it would end up on… as it’s the site people go to looking for content.

Now on a more positive note, I can also picture a scenario that might be more advantageous. Maybe this is what you were already thinking of. It’s less like a Netflix model and more like youtube… a google for film. It’s a vehicle through which users search for video content, mine yours, the piraters etc.
So when the user searches for my film it pops up twice in the searches once as my upload and once as the pirates upload. I think that scenario easily gives the user the choice to do right.

… well, almost.
The only problem that comes to mind right now is, what stops the pirate from doing his best to appear to be the copyright holder?
Perhaps that just comes with shame/ downvoting/ reviews/ comments. As you said, more often than not the rights holder would be the first to upload.

Anyways, sorry for talking these scenarios out. I am in the industry as well, positioned far faaar on the periphery at the moment and working my way in.

So, while I must admit I am a bit hypocritical and am not as worried for the copyright holders of Ironman 3 as I am the thing I loved most at the last film fest I was at, these models are very interesting to me also.
I doubt Paramount et all will want to stream like this even after some of the first wave of adopters, since I doubt the coin would be valued enough to compete with what they’d already be making off of deals with

So some pirated will likely be profiting off of Ironman 3 and will probably draw a ton of traffic to the concept as well as bad press.
The story really wouldn’t be so unlike the Kim Dotcom debacle only thankfully no individual will own MAIDSAFE such that they’d be profiting off of the content being uploaded and shared.

Sorry for the ramblings! thanks for your interesting posts!

It’s simple. Whoever uploaded it first would be the first distributor and everyone below them would get a cut on the distribution pyramid.

Someone else could create another pyramid but it would have to go against the same kind of network effect that altcoins have to go against with Bitcoin.

If you released your coin first then your original coin already is out there and being distributed. If someone else comes along and can distribute it better than you and your team then they should make the majority of the profit from that point on because the point is to optimize for maximum distribution of the new song or book (not maximum profit).

This would mean you should either release another book/album or team up with a better group of distributors. Piracy wont be stopped and in some cases you can argue that it doesn’t have to be. If the world has more access to knowledge (cheaper books) that would be great. If we can get more entertainment for cheaper that would also be great.

If you want to find ways to increase the budget for books, movies and music you’re going to have to figure out how to get people to pay more for it and that is a matter of supply and demand. If no one else writes like you or about what you write about then your coin could be worth a lot, and if you offer exclusive memberships or access to people who do buy from you but people who don’t have to pay micropayments to access certain things then there is another way.

So purchase your coin and they get maximum discounts. They purchase a pirated version and they have to pay micropayments to get exclusively timely information directly from the only person who can provide it (the original source).

So timing is something pirates never will have the advantage with. You’ll be the first to release at any time.

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Rob, let’s assume there is no right or wrong here. Let’s assume the algorithm should optimize for maximum distribution of the content while also monetizing it so the incentives direct this.

You have content creators and content distributors. The creators are the artists and the distributors tend to be the fans. Only the artists know the release date and the artists will tend to release the first copy.

So just like how something goes viral on twitter where the first tweet comes from the artist and then deterministically goes viral it would be similar. The artist would release their coin and that coin would allow anyone who has a lot of their coin to be first to have anything they release.

So if it’s an album then you buy that coin and you’ve already purchased the album. Now to increase the value of that purchase you’re given the incentive to pump up the value of the album which the coin redeems for. So you’ll be the main distributor and get a cut one way or another for distributing the music after it’s released.

The coin can act either as shares in the profit of the album itself or as a pre-order which can be redeemed for the album and in either case the people who have a lot of album coins would have the incentive to sell their stash of coins which means selling copies of the album.

So in the end you can easily use the same mechanisms of the stock market to give people an incentive to want to sell albums. The more efficiently they distribute the more profit they all can make.

So if you discover a cult classic a few years early then you had time to buy a whole bunch of coins which represent that film. If you and others have a lot of these coins you’ll have the incentive to make it hard for a competitor to outsell you but if you cannot do that and pirates give it away for free it benefits everyone if done right.

Pirates for example could profit from micropayments themselves. The ideal system would be to track the micropayments in such a way that the creators of content remain at the top of the pyramid. This way if piracy does exist it isn’t going to make much of a difference.

The pirate sites would have to profit as well, the only difference is they would effectively have to premine and remove the original creators. I don’t see that working too well with altcoins which premine and I don’t see it working too well in our context either. The only way something like that would and should work is if the pirates innovated on the technology and distribution side so that they somehow have something to offer.

And if that happens then artists can release another movie or album in the future using the technology of the pirates. For example if pirates are making money from paid Bittorrent style distribution then why not let the artists use the same technology to make money? Given the choice if they both cost the exact same or around the same price I’d rather go and support the artists and their fans if I’m part of that community.

Just like I don’t see people from the Bitcoin community rushing to use a coin created by the federal reserve. People do value community and if the prices are relatively similar people will go with the community which they are a part of rather than switch over.


I really like parts of this, and the idea of using once-considered-pirates to help distribute is a clever idea (and possibly a huge part of the equation that I think will work). I do have a few questions/thoughts.

The altcoin/Bitcoin comparison is inherently flawed. In the case of an album, if I copy-without-consent an album and listen to it, or watch a movie, I’ve consumed the product. The same way if I stole an orange from the grocery store and ate it, I’ve used it for it’s purpose. If I make my own altcoin, I’m not reaping it’s benefits. Or, if I take my bitcoin address off the network, print it out, and pin it to my wall, I’m not consuming it. I use a Bitcoin under it’s intended purpose when I use it for the exchange of goods and services (or squat on it in hopes it’s value rises). So it’s extremely unlikely supply+demand will work this way.

So that said, the incentive in using the coins as value doesn’t make sense. Also, if I’m letting my fans determine the price. I’m trying to recoup the costs of production at the very least. If my fans raise the price, and then piracy takes over because they’re overcharging, am I screwed? (My logic here could be flawed, I’m really intrigued by this fans-as-distro system).

But goddam, there’s something in the concept I find appealing…

I’m wondering, too, if there’s a way if its not just fans, but a cascade of listeners? By getting Bob’s album, he’s sharing it with everyone, like Cindy. Cindy gets it, who pays Bob and then band. The band always gets the same cut, but part of that cut goes to fans (something that can be adjusted, like an advertising budget). Then that cut breaks down depending on who’s sharing it. So after a ton of generations, it becomes negligible.


I don’t agree with this line of thinking. This is your personal opinion on the matter and not a fact. It’s your moral perspective but not the only perspective.

What if I believe that it’s more important that information be consumed than to guarantee profits for the people who generate it? Is it more important to let people have access to books or should we burn every book after consumption so that it behaves like an orange?

I think the time is over where you have that kind of scarcity. Scarcity now exists only in the form of the tokens and not in the information itself which is redeemed for or backing the tokens.

So if my album is consumed by 1 or 1 billion wouldn’t matter to me if I made a profit which is exactly the same. But it does matter to the progress of culture, science and human knowledge that information which is valuable be consumed or at least accessible to the maximum amount of people.

So the point I’m making is that to me and many others it’s more important to provide access to information/knowledge than to make the producers of information/knowledge rich. You can still get rich as you see with Bitcoin by using a limited supply token and since it cannot be counterfeit it can represent “future” production of information/knowledge by the creator.

But the creator should not be entitled to a profit. No one is entitled to a profit in a world of “post scarcity”. Digital information will never again be scarce and to try to treat it like an orange is an artificial scarcity placed upon something which defined by the laws of physics is not scarce.

That is equal to burning a book after reading it so the creator of the book can force the next person to buy a copy. It’s artificial scarcity which increases costs and reduces economic efficiency gains which result from information technology.

I’m advocating that we leverage technological efficiency for the benefit of the user (not necessarily the creator of the information who can’t control it due to the laws of physics). The market should be focused on what the fans want and on bringing the greatest amount of value to the fans.

The producers must keep the fans satisfied. They must develop business plans which turn fans into partners.


There are many ways to do it but each distributor should get a cut of the profits. The early adopters should get the output of the creators at the best possible price. The late adopters would pay the highest possible price but they’d still be able to get it.

This would make it so anyone could sell the song anywhere just like selling Bitcoins or Litecoins. Anyone could trade a coin for anything. The song itself is just another coin to be traded on an exchange.

When you talk of production costs if it’s a song the costs are trending dramatically down. If you’re in music to make money it’s definitely the wrong profession to be in. If you’re talking about movies the money is made on the opening day. You spend $100,000 producing it and you get $5m on the opening day. From there it will probably dramatically decrease down but you never know.

It depends on the size of the market and liquidity. Right now the liquidity for coins isn’t high because most people don’t even use Bitcoin yet. In the future no one would have to worry about Bitcoin because they’d but the new Star Wars coin giving them a share of the profits from merchandise and other things.

I would imagine a Star Wars coin would always go for a lot of money. The way to make a movie would be to start a crowd funding operation and show the script to potential investors on the crowd funding platform along with a trailer. If that impresses people enough then people might pay a few dollars to get it up off the ground.

Now assume enough people pool their money to crowd fund the movie and half a million dollars is raised. Now the movie goes into production and just like any other business the tokens could be set up either to pay dividends later on to the early investors, allow early investors to see the movie the day of release (before it can be pirated), and/ or allow other special exclusive functionality which only token holders can have.

So let’s say the token acts like a share, a pre-order voucher, a ticket, and additional benefits such as the only people who are able to get in early on the next project have to be able to prove they purchased the token for the previous project. So that long term loyal investors/supporters/fans are rewarded for loyalty.

There are many things you can do with this which allow for profit if what you’re offering to the world is in demand. If your album, movie or content sucks then no one is going to want a backstage pass, a preoder, a special ticket, a share, or stock.

Man, you sure missed my point. Like, whoooooshhhhh flies hand over head.

Again, political agenda / artificial-scarcity yama-aha-blah-blah aside (because again, we all agree on this point). No one is implying that any legal pursuits are required, no evil government is gonna reign down justice.

What I’m saying is, Bitcoin works because, like a sword in Ultima Online, it’s utterly worthless outside of it’s network. This logic does not pertain to entertainment or knowledge-consuming media.

You can argue that what were once IP rights-holders don’t deserve to police consumption. That’s totally cool, yo. And I agree, whether or not I like this upsetting new system, its going to happen. But what you can’t argue is that thing you just quoted from me. If I eat an orange, I’ve used it for it’s intended purpose. If I watch a movie, I’ve used it for it’s intended purpose. If I listen to an album, intended purpose. But if I look at a Bitcoin private address and smile: not intended purpose. Bitcoins are literally an example of the artificial scarcity you’re talking about. They’re use exists only within the network.

So, the media meant for visual and auditory consumption are not going to play by the same rules. Right?

EDIT: This was for your first comment, currently reading the second…