Proof of Presence
March 31st, 2022

In search of an optimal way of distributing decision making power at TDF (Traditional Dream Factory), that was both easy to understand and fair, we came up with a design for a Proof of Presence method.

It all starts with a utility token that represents one annual night spent at our DAO governed farm. We wanted to make this token widely available while protecting ourselves from whale takeovers and valuing members that actually contributed on the ground. In order to ensure each token would only be used once, we opted for a staking mechanism where the staking requires booking a stay in the physical space. Since each token correspond to one night spent, staking 30 tokens would give you right to stay for 30 days (in a shared room).

Our basic assumption is that the more a member spends time in the project, the more knowledgeable they will be about the environment, and the more invested they will be in the project. Proof of Presence is a way to track the total amount of time spent in the space. We do this by issuing a unique NFT with the member’s ID and the date for every single night spent at the property.

Once we have the total number of nights spent by a particular member, we apply a decay function to weigh the voting power of each night spent based on how long ago that night was. A night spent in the last weeks should give you close to 100% of the voting power, whereas a night spent a year ago might give you about 70%, and a night spent 5 years ago only 30%.

Voilà! Proof of Presence is really quite as simple as it sounds. Want to decide how Traditional Dream Factory evolves? Come spend some time. The more time you spend, the more you get to decide on where to take the dream.

Example: Anna decides to buy 90 tokens and goes through the membership process. Once her membership is approved, it means she can now spend 90 days every single year, only paying her share of operational expenses. In her first year, she spends 49 nights at TDF. The second year, she stays 87 nights. On the third year, she stays 90 nights. She now has 266 Proof of Presence tokens in her wallet. Her total voting power today is 182, since the Proof of Presence received in year one are now on average weighed at 50%, and those received in year two are weighed on average at 65%. These tokens have her member ID embedded in them, so only Anna can use them for voting.

Going further:

  • One identified improvement to this model is ability to weigh Presence with more or less voting power depending on how “Present” the member actually was during that day. By “presence” in this sense we mean “How much value did this member create for the community that day”. Such questions are inherently hard to measure and pose a risk of being gamed, but a reasonable 2x or 3x modifier for creating some tangible community value could be put in place. For example actions such as planting trees, building a sauna or cleaning the kitchen. This could also use reactions expressed by other members staying in the place, for example measuring a certain level of gratitude by the community towards a member. Because the game is played within the closed loop of a single day, abuses could quickly be taken note of and addressed.
  • Another potential improvement would be to give some voting power from “Remote Presence”, for actions done that benefit the project even while being off the ground.
  • A potential risk this model poses is by allowing members to game the voting mechanism by booking more nights than necessary. This is fairly mitigated in our case though since each booking would still incur a cost (there are no profits in our model, and costs are divided amongst members staying in the space), so gaming the system would come at a high cost. Besides, the stewards or space host on the ground would quickly realize the lack of Presence and could raise a flag on the member.
  • The initial batch of Proof of Presence tokens is meant to be distributed based on what has been happening at the farm last year (we are celebrating out 1 year anniversary next week!), and naturally that means our founding members who spent a lot of time and sweat already building the place will have a higher say in the initial structure (and could continue to do so if they keep on being so Present and keep on powering so many dreams!).

In summary:

While Proof of Humanity is hard in a digital communities, Proof of Presence serves the purpose to both prove the humanity of a member, as well as their level of engagement with a space. The stake in the project gets peer reviewed gradually as one earns Presence by simply showing up. While creating a legal structure to bridge our digital community to the physical world has been a challenge, we are really pleased to see how physical presence can help alleviate some of the hard challenges in the web3 space.

Want to learn more? Become a member.

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