Token curated registries are an exciting crypto-economic building block.
By Aron van Ammers
They promise to leverage the wisdom of the crowd in curating lists of things, any type of things, through economic incentives. They are, however, still mostly theoretical. Little experimentation and formal research has been carried out into different forms and configurations of TCRs.
In this project, as part of Outlier Ventures’ Research Programme with the Imperial Centre for Cryptocurrency Research and Engineering and in collaboration with Ocean Protocol and MusicMap, a group of six students from Imperial College took on the task of building a TCR Simulator that allows for experimentation in an isolated framework to learn what works and what doesn’t. We have been impressed with their results, which included a working product with smart contracts deployed on Ethereum-compatible blockchains, field testing with a small group of users and a proposal for a new TCR mechanism. If you want to have a look at their work, you can use a live version of the TCR simulator and run the code yourself.
This project is a great example of our aim at Outlier Ventures to advance best practices in cutting edge technology through applied research.
In a series of four blogs, Matthew, Emma, Hailey, Ece, Yoon and Noel give a candid look into how they executed the project and the results they produced.
As we were close to the end of the term, our project’s progress slowed down for various reasons such as exam preparation, other individual coursework deadlines and interview preparations for our compulsory 6-month placements. Therefore we paused the project work for some time (around 2 – 3 weeks) and then started working on it during the Christmas break.
However, all of us were in different countries (different time zones!!) as we were visiting home for Christmas. Therefore it was difficult to communicate with each other and coordinate the work.
1. Finish off the implementation
Now that users can submit songs, we needed to implement functionality for challenging songs, voting, updating status and receiving rewards. After having these functionalities implemented, we can have a full working TCR!
2. Write the project report
As we are close to the project deadline, it was time to document everything we had done! We needed to focus on writing an approximately 30-page report, explaining:
- Objectives of this project and what we managed to achieve.
- Software Engineering practices we adapted, splitting up the work,
project meetings – basically project management details
- Initial research about TCR (we thought this section would be very useful
for anyone who is not familiar with the TCR concept)
- Implementation details
- Evaluation of our final product (Of course we first need to finish
implementing it (!) )
- Future Extensions
3. Prepare for the final presentation
Each group is given a 30-minute slot to present their projects. At first, this time seemed like it was more than enough:
- 5 mins introduction problem statement, how TCRs are addressing the
- 5-7 mins demo
- 5 mins project architecture, implementation overview
- 5 mins evaluation
- 3-4 mins future extensions, reflection
- 5 mins questions
However, most of the audience were not even familiar with the concept of a Token Curated Registry – little challenge: how to explain what a TCR is under 5 mins when it took us a week to fully understand what it was and what problem it was solving. Also, the output of the TCR is built over time. There is a commit vote period, there is revealing the result of the voting period and so on. The length of these periods depend on the TCR mechanism parameters but they are mostly set to a week – another problem: How to do our demo when the voting process itself requires some time? Spoiler alert: Our team member Noel, made the time pass quicker! Eventually, we got where we wanted to be, but it was a busy Christmas break!
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