3node marketplace.... how do we further decentralize?

hey everyone… hope this finds you al well, safe and healthy !!!

As you probably know by now, we have been offering prebuilt 3nodes to our community and broader audience purely in an effort to ensure inclusion of EVERYONE. Initially, this was very much a manual process in response to a sudden public demand to source prebuilt 3nodes that were just plug-and-play so anyone could join this project and community at ease (without having to be a technical genius :slight_smile:)

As threefold, we seek to ensure all aspects of this projects are truly decentralised and are positioned to meet the needs of the community if we are to scale this project to meet a global demand. To this end, we embarked on building an online decentralised marketplace to cater for the sole purpose of supplying 3nodes anywhere in the world and embracing any hardware vendors/suppliers and this respective channels to handle shipping and logistics… thanks to andreas and the team, this is now ready !

So heres the question:

  • How do we ensure this 3node marketplace is truly decentralised and in the hands of our community ?
  • How do ensure this marketplace scales and onboards more hardware suppliers and more channels to service a global audience ?
  • How do we remove Threefold from being in anyway in the middle and ensure this is driven by our community or at least in the hands of an agreed partner who will RESPONSIBLY represent the interests of the Threefold community and help us grow our community offering this opportunity of Threefold farming to EVERYONE ?

We have some ideas of our own…but as always, we seek the input of our dedicated community to ensure we have consensus on how we can make the most of this and bring Threefold to everyone !!!

Please give me your comments an ideas and kets discuss :slight_smile:

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  1. I think truly decentralized will never truly work because there is both good and bad actor. A bad actor could be adding malware into the software/system that can cause more harm in the marketplace and threefold in general. What we need is a marketplace that threefold will help approve partners that they know and can trust that they will do the right thing for threefold.

  2. I think scaling isn’t an issue at the problem, but threefold will always need to be a leader on who to onboard, or maybe in the future a dao is set up and the dao can agree to add more suppliers/partners.
    I personally would buy from a supplier who is verified with threefold as a trustworthy supplier.

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This is certainly an interesting idea. I do not think a decentralized marketplace for physical goods has ever been attempted before. Alexis de Tocqueville would probably consider this pretty close to a laissez faire market. If it can be done right, it would be fantastic, of course. But considering I don’t think this has been attempted before, it could have growing pains.

I’ve been doing e-commerce about 15 years and always with a powerful governing force between consumer and seller (typically ebay). Buyers attempt to scam sellers and sellers attempt to scam buyers. Even the Silk Road and Alpha Bay had a trusted 3rd party. Can a decentralized entity be a trusted 3rd party?

Decentralized market places work in places such as uniswap because code is law and a token is a token. But consumer electronics are fungible. When hundreds of Chinese companies find out they can sell diverted e-waste to middle class Americans and Europeans, we are going to see 4 mobile CPU’s soldered to a MOBO with a hacked firmware SSD attached showing 256tb.
The more I think about it, the way eBay or the Silk Road handles(ed) things may be somewhat of a model to base off of. A third party that handles problems, but reputation is largely handled by reviews. Buyers are always going to want someone they can contact if something goes wrong.

While I am a foaming at the mouth capitalist, I do want moderate control over sellers. Ensuring sellers are actual businesses has been a good idea that should continue. The market will quickly sort out those who can’t deliver 500 units a month or build cheap crap. I am also a proponent of geo-restricting sales to prevent unfair competition and ensure fast delivery. I don’t think Chinese sellers delivering to Europe or the US is good for sellers or buyers.

Fortunately, we do have some precedent on how NOT to do things. Helium originally made its own hardware and allowed DIY, JUST like Threefold. They then left the hardware market and approved a handful of 3rd party manufacturers. Things went bad! They only approved 4 or 5 builders and they were 100% overseas. This created a huge artificial scarcity. I sold a $400 miner for almost $7000! The miner probably cost the company $100 to build. There has to be a sweet middle ground of having enough trustworthy sellers to meet demand, in a local, fast manner.

TLDR – Sounds great, but roll it out slow and carefully or you risk losing the trust of the sellers and buyers. I don’t have a lot of idea on how to physically structure the governance, just on things that must be respected and avoided to protect the seller and buyer. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.

Full disclosure: I will be a seller shortly and have invested a significant sum of $$$$$ in this.

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Building on the same ideas. If these 3nodes are to be certified, that is, if they farm increased rewards over their DIY counterparts - then there exists perverse incentives for decentralized sellers to build high capacity but low quality products, overprice them, or flat out scam potential buyers trying to acquire certified 3nodes. I think the Helium Network example mentioned is an excellent tale of caution.

The only way I see to establish a decentralized market for these would be to maintain a certified list of approved hardware components (select motherboards, processors, SSDs, and Harddrives) then allow anyone to build using that component list and market them to their customers as “certified.” Maintaining such a list will be an onerous task and would also require Zero OS to validate the nodes hardware is on the list.

This of course creates it’s own issues around parts availability in various geographies.

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Excellent thoughts!

I think if we would create a page, where new farmers could look up a city and find let’s say a Threefold Embassador and contact him or her, and have some guidance or tutorial in text or even in person. Or links for local businesses where you could buy the hardware, etc.

For example I would run a meetup group if there would be enough applicants to build diy nodes.
Just a thought. Even a Zoom call and would answer questions.

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Insightful post. Nice to see new people pop in and immediately get with the game.

I do not think it would be onerous to have an approved hardware list if its focused on specs and brands. Going by model would be impossible, the processor list would be hundreds, maybe thousands. It would be a good opportunity to implement some of the hardware requirements that have been discussed but not implemented in the code. Especially considering the number of servers that could sell.

I realize this is straying from the intent of the thread and should be discussed elsewhere, but there are some simple requirements that come to mind. Set a limit of TBW, 600 TBW per tb of SSD seems to be the line between low and high grade SSDs. Implement the 1000 passmark per core. Also limit everything to trusted brands. There are not a lot, even for SSD’s, less than 10. RAM is only made by three companies (everything else is rebranded). Only 2 companies make CPU’s that are not garbage. Requirements should be laxed for certain areas of course (hence the geo-restrict I proposed earlier).

As far as pricing goes there a two points. Having more sellers than Helium (there was only 3 or 4 for over a year) will reduce that risk to some degree as there will be more competition. Unlike Helium, the DIY option remains, Helium miners literally had no choice. If prices for “plug and earn” are too high for someone they can always DIY. There is a surprising amount of hidden cost in manufacturing and selling, plus the costs of support and warranty, as ThreeFold has clearly found out! So while TFT per $ will improve compared to the current Titan, there will remain a strong incentive to DIY to those inclined to do so. Even though no one has shown more people how to DIY than me, I’m sure someone will accuse me of being a capitalist pig in the future.

Sorry Chris for completely derailing your thread.

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very good feedback… i guess its a balance and ensuring the governance goes beyond one person/entity

i like the idea of placing the governance with the TF DAO…essentially the community itself

not at all… ur input is very welcome and most appreciated

for sure the DIY option will always remain…
i fully agree on somewhat “controlling” the specs and vendor brands to minimise the diversity of nodes out there and also the quality

at the end of the day, we just want to afford EVERYONE the oppty to partake

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based on this initial feedback, im thinking a TF marketplace via which we can onboard new specs/brands of 3nodes and empower those vendors/distributors to supply our community BUT its 100% governed by the TF community (via DAO) …so we collectively agree on new brands, new specs, pricing etc etc

more feedback pls ???

I think pricing will be hard to govern as not everyone is able to purchase the material needed for the same price. But specs and brand could be governed as these are the minimum specs allowed, so the seller will know what is an acceptable spec and not sell a lemon, that does not mean the minimum specs allowed.

I like the idea of a truly decentralized marketplace for physical goods in general.

The 2 most popular projects for this that I’m aware of are OpenBazaar and Particl Marketplace.

As FLnelson already mentioned scammers will be on both sides of the transaction.

Only onboarding new approved vendors via DAO would provide good security against bad vendors, but then of course creates a bottleneck for new vendors looking to enter the market.
Also how is the seller protected from buyer scams?

OpenBazaar uses a moderator / escrow system which can be abused in some cases by sellers or buyers acting as the moderator for their own transaction.
https://github.com/obmods/moderator-resources

Particl uses trustless “MAD Escrow” which sounds pretty fool proof to me.
https://particl.wiki/learn/marketplace/mad-escrow/

I think some inspiration can be taken from Particl regarding content moderation and escrow

Glad to see Threefold going for full decentralization even for certified hardware! :partying_face:

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more thoughts on MAD “escrow”

scenario 1:

  • both parties deposit escrow
  • customer receives goods
  • transaction complete
  • escrow is returned everyone is happy

scenario 2:

  • both parties deposit escrow
  • customer does not receive goods (seller does not send)
  • transaction failed
  • customer lost escrow deposit and cost of goods
  • seller lost escrow deposit.

scenario 3:

  • both parties deposit escrow
  • customer claims that goods were not received even though they were.
  • transaction failed
  • customer loses escrow only because he has the goods
  • seller lost escrow & goods

If both parties deposit the same amount of escrow and I want to abuse the system as a seller, I have little incentive to act as in scenario 2 since it’s difficult to target a specific victim.

however as a customer we can act as in scenario 3 guaranteeing that the seller will lose more value than the buyer.

If a bigger player or group wants to drive a smaller seller out of business this could technically be done by endless repeats of scenario 3 with a few extra steps.

So “foolproof” wasn’t quite the right choice of words I suppose.

If the buyer is required to deposit twice the amount of escrow as the seller and if the escrow deposited by seller is of equal value to the goods, I still see little to no reason for the seller to act as in scenario 2 and the buyer is still able to ensure that both parties lose equal amounts and is therefore still capable of driving a competitor out of business albeit at a greater cost.

So somewhere there is a balance point where a buyer’s loss in escrow has to exceed the benefit of damaging the seller. However as a buyer on a budget, I would also probably not feel great about depositing huge amounts of escrow.

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my take on this is that in a decentralized network such as this everyone should be treated/rewarded equally. A system where someone has to already have significant resources to purchase a “certified” node just to earn the right to be an equal? what parts are in it make up a very small picture of what goes into keeping a node up 24/7. i would think that you should be able to earn that certification by the results of your work and the service you offer the people utilizing your work

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certified nodes have a purpose: the zos version booted is a signed version that has been ratified by the foundation, in the future DAO. It also means that the hardware is locked and you cannot boot a different OS to “inspect” the data stored on the physical disks (even though with Quantum Safe Storage this would bring you nothing).

Secondly certified hardware has been shipped to an address, a know address. For governance and compliance purposes it will be important to know where geographically node are to select the locations that are knows. Even though this is not waterproof at this point in time, certified farming will have an element of “Know Your Farmer” in the near future.

So there is a true benefit for the consumer of the capacity to know whether the device she/he chooses to use is DIY or certfied.

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To add on to what Weynand said, it is more than paying a premium to get a certified node, but getting something pre-built and optimized for Threefold. There will always be DIY there for those willing.

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I like all of that, but Would love for their to be an alternative pathway to certification aswell, a combination system might be an idea to noodle,

Just hate pay to win systems.

I do too, luckily the ROI on DIY builds will probably continue to be way lower than certified. You should check out Flux, my farm would require almost $2,000,000 in collateral to be online!!!

I’m not fully tracking… Do you mean that diy will be significantly less investment in the beginning so overall profitability will be similar?

What about exploring the idea of having a channel where a diy node could be certified through a process whether that be having to send it in for setup, or in the case of large farms letting it be setup on site.

One of the concerns I would have is if a true data center wanted to move onto the net, they likely would be turned off by needing all new hardware when they are current already or being represented as diy. But an onboarding process for appropriate hardware could lighten that hit a lot

On the profitability note, yes, at least it is currently.

I’ve had the same thoughts for a few months on getting DIY nodes certified. As long as trusted party can certify something I don’t see why not. I believe Sacha has mentioned similar on getting large farms certified.

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hi @FLnelson. I agree with your statement. Certification is something that needs to go beyond selling Titans and it should incorporate more than one (or even a few) organisations that can created certified equipment (from new hardware or refurbished). In the end it is all about creating a safe and know environment to present trustworthy 3node capacity to (capacity) consumers.

A this point in time we have ideas but nothing concrete on the roadmap to expand beyond titans and community clouds (paradise hills). Maybe we start as a group to collect requirements for decentralized certification and when done we present it as a GEP?