Updated November 2, 2016 to reflect latest bots.
Last December, immediately after reading MP’s seminal You’re gonna have to learn that variety speak,i I at once re-read it, re-re-read it, stared at it blankly, poured another cup of coffee, stared some more, and filed the piece away under “Important But Not Yet Understood”. It planted a seed but I couldn’t yet find my way to the water and sunlight. Now, on my IRC Yeshiva, I’m starting to put it together. A big part of that variety speak is, of course, WoT, so let’s tackle the Five Ws of the Web of Trust together:
Who ? Anyone who sees the value in building trusted online relationships and is willing to put in the effort to grow said relationships. WoT has uses within and without Bitcoin, though it could be argued that the reverse isn’t true.
What ? Based on PGP/GPGii, WoT is used to “accumulate keys from other people that you may want to designate as trusted introducers. Everyone else will each choose their own trusted introducers. And everyone will gradually accumulate and distribute with their key a collection of certifying signatures from other people, with the expectation that anyone receiving it will trust at least one or two of the signatures. This will cause the emergence of a decentralized fault-tolerant web of confidence for all public keys.”iii
Where ? The WoT is used wherever you and your computer, or at least you and your PGP/GPG keys, happen to be. It’s as mobile as you are.
When ? Right now, and continually since Phil Zimmerman put forth the idea in 1992. Twenty-two years and running!
Why ? Let’s let ben Popescu explain, with a little bit of How ? thrown in for good measure:
mircea_popescu: ;;rate mike_c 3 blogger, dev
gribble:iv Rating entry successful. Your rating of 3 for user mike_c has been recorded.
pankkake: Not with a rating of 3.
mircea_popescu: How do you know how I score things ?
pankkake: Is there a maximum ?
dexX7: 10 ?
pankkake:Thought it was 5. Maybe then.
mircea_popescu: It seems you’re labouring under the misapprehension that these ranks are sort-of like school marks. That’s not what they are. they’re statistical dampeners.
pankkake: No, I just take them as trust.
mircea_popescu: The only thing someone’s aggregate score tells you is how likely it is for you to have someone who knows him in your network. And the individual score is not “how trustworthy is this guy” but “how well i am acquainted with this guy”, ie, how valuable my input may be to a third party asking for references.
pankkake: I see.
mircea_popescu: So in this sense, pankkake, I can mark as 10 someone with whom I only do 0.001 trades, inasmuch as I judge that I can 100% describe them to whoever ask. Conversely I could keep someone at a 1 even if we trade millions, if it’s a hit and run affair and I couldn’t really tell them from Adam.
nubbins`: Interesting system.
mircea_popescu: It’s really how the WoT’s supposed to work.
TestingUnoDosTre: Intruiging. I’m confused though.
mircea_popescu: It’s a web of trust not a web of facebook likes.
TestingUnoDosTre: Let’s say your .001 trader comes around looking to trade 5. How do you judge his merit with your system ?
mircea_popescu: Suppose this guy comes to trade 5 with you. You don’t know him, but know me. So you come to me “Hey, what’s this guy worth in trust ?” and I tell you “We’ve done a bunch of 0.0001 trades and I trust him to so and so and back and forth” and you go “But specifically in this context ?” and i go “Well maybe X or maybe Y” etc. Lol it’s the thinking that makes it powerful tho. I can cut through the chase in about ten minutes because of it, and that’s quite why I’m so distrustful of various “Experts” and “CEOs” and whatnot that don’t have one.
So there you have it: the Who, What, Where, When, and Why of WoT.
For myself, I recently registered my PGP/GPG keys with
#bitcoin-otc assbot deedbot and am in the process of earning my first ratings. It’s a process, but nothing worth doing is easy.
Let the fun begin!
___ ___ ___
- The thesis of MP’s article: “Learn to fucking talk the Variety speak. In Bitcoin this means IRC, WoT,
and a small amount of phone number. And let this be perfectly clear to you, that if you haven’t as much as found Variety, you’re not a “mover & shaker” in Bitcoin, you’re that weird dude working odd jobs that tells starlets he’s a producer. You know, like Kramer, CEO of Kramerica Industries. “We only provide fantasy corporate experience.” So if you’ve already followed me into the IRC, the next step is WoT. So let’s do it. [↩]
- See Bingo Boingo’s handy guide not the mention the Contravex guide. Mac users should also check out this GPG Tools tutorial. [↩]
- Phil Zimmerman, via Wikiwannabe [↩]
gribble is ones of the #bitcoin-assets bots. gribble responds to a given set of commands that are entered as “;;” followed by the command, such as “rate” for giving trust ratings to other users, “ticker” for BTC/USD market prices or “gettrust” to determine your WoT relationship connection to another user.See #trilema bots directory for all the latest in-channel call functions and commands. [↩]