Today, open source software products dominate the market. Companies that used to be closed-source have been forced to release open-source projects and contribute to existing open projects. However, the open source movement has only progressed so far. Most open source communities only build products that are part of a larger product or service offered by large private companies who do not contribute much back to the community.
In this sense, most software development still operates on a centralized basis, even though it is open source. For example, many developers build open source software on Github. They send in their contributions, which are peer-reviewed, merged and released. For most projects, the Github account owner is responsible for the quality and direction of the project, while developers and users do not have much say in the matter. Only the account owner has the power to censor contributions and discussions, as well as limit access.
This kind of concentration of power is a bad fit for a decentralized team of developers working on a new idea. The single account structure forces them all to trust one or a small number of individuals. Github is also a private entity, which means decentralized teams not only have to trust the owner of an account but also Github itself.
A Shift to Decentralized Code Sharing and Software Ownership
The shift towards community-driven services spearheaded by open source communities is already happening in the cryptocurrency sector. Projects like Bitcoin and Ethereum have a large community of participants who hold administrators and core developers accountable to the standards they have committed to.
One new project proposing to take the decentralized development model beyond cryptocurrencies is Ellcrys blockchain protocol. Ellcrys is using blockchain technology to create an ecosystem for the creation and management of decentralized software in which all collaborators are able to own the source code and software products they work on.
For instance, a decentralized software repository requires no central account holder to manage a project. Instead, it uses public key cryptography so projects can have up to millions of owners who participate in day-to-day governance. Smart contracts allow these communities to enforce ownership without the need for a central authority.
Proof of Activity Consensus
The Ellcrys consensus mechanism uses a hybrid algorithm known as “Proof of Activity”, consisting of both Proof-of-Work and Proof-of-Stake elements, as well as real human work. PoW involves miners competing to include the latest valid transaction in a new block. With PoS, in contrast, rewards are shared among all network participants but the network is less secure due to a limited number of validating nodes. The Proof of Activity consensus model combines PoW and PoS to increase the security of a network and reduce dependency on miners. It also uses an incentive structure that encourages a diversity of participants in the system.
The best way to explain how the PoA mechanism works is to look at PeopleMint, a novel coin generation protocol that lets people earn ELL coin with their native/national currency
Human-Driven Coin Generation
PeopleMint will be used to distribute a large portion of the initial supply of the native ELL coin. The goal of the mechanism is to let thousands of people around the world earn ELL while keeping mining decentralized by incorporating a human-driven process.
With PeopleMint, an individual can take a short video with an image of a banknote with the last 12 bytes of the hash of a recent block on the blockchain written on it. The person encodes the video in a transaction that they send to a node in the Ellycrys network. The transaction passes preliminary validation and off-chain validation before being “endorsed” and added to a block. During block validation, nodes verify that the transaction includes a banknote that has been endorsed and accepted. Once the transaction is verified, the individual who encoded the video receives ELL coin and rewards are distributed to all participants in the process. The reward quantity is determined by something called the “devaluation function” that serves to limit the overall coin supply.
The strengths of the PeopleMint process are that it discourages miner centralization and links the activity of users with miners. The groups must work together to sustain the blockchain. With Bitcoin, in contrast, miners do not need any other party to receive rewards. Instead, they invest to spend large amounts of capital in superior hardware to compete with other miners.
Ellcrys is in the process of holding a Pre-IEO to secure funding from strategic investors. The sale began on the 1st of July, 2019 and ends 14th of July, 2019. The IEO event will be held on a number of exchanges near the end of July. Similar to most pre-sales, there is a bonus structure in place. The price in of tokens is $0.08 each with a 40% bonus. Participants from previous private sales will get an extra bonus of 15%.
The shift towards community-driven services is driven by open source communities, and blockchain technology is at the forefront of innovation in this area. The Proof of Activity consensus mechanism is a unique advance in this regard. With PoA, human activity is required to complete the process and this can be set up in a way like PeopleMint to foster decentralization.
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