A Theory for Growing the Supply Side of a Decentralized City Using a Token Curated Registry

Roxine Kee
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Ethan Nelson
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Nate Pratt
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Dave Merin
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March 1st, 2022

Our current focus at Cabin is to build a community around a future of decentralized cities to aggregate demand for this decentralized city. But ...

  1. How do we decentralize the supply of land for this decentralized city?
  2. How do we scale Cabin’s nodes without losing quality?
  3. How do we allow the community to give feedback on the quality of the nodes while disincentivizing bad behavior?

We want to bring increasing amounts of land into the DAO without building a massive balance sheet and without needing to deal with the complexity of the DAO directly owning or operating physical property in diverse jurisdictions around the world. This article ideates on a mechanism to scale Cabin’s available nodes without actually knowing them, using Mike Goldin’s TCR model.

In this article, we answer those questions. We lay out our current hypothesis on how we could effectively bring on new nodes once we’re ready to scale. We also examine how tokens and token-curated registries (TCR) can be the vehicle that aligns incentives amongst the candidates and consumers that benefit from a list, like a list of nodes in a decentralized city.

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But before we get into how Cabin could use a TCR, let’s take a step back into how web2 lists are currently managed.

How web2 lists are managed

Think about web2 lists such as Product Hunt, Reddit, and Airbnb. These services rely on a variety of mechanisms to deliver quality listings and keep their customers and service providers, happy:

  • Product Hunt relies on upvotes and user submissions to curate daily lists of software products
  • Reddit relies on a user’s klout and a post’s upvotes to surface popular content
  • Airbnb relies on quantitative and qualitative reviews to help consumers find the right listing for them and to help hosts determine whether to accept a booking request or not

Even so, there’s misaligned incentives in the system:

  • A tech company can game the Product Hunt system by asking its customers to upvote their listing, even if those customers are not active members of Product Hunt’s community
  • A community on Reddit can collude to boost a piece of content, regardless of the quality or the accuracy of the information it presents, and Reddit has the power to take that content down at any time
  • Airbnb users have to cull through dozens, if not hundreds, of subpar listings on the website because the site allows almost anyone to list on the site

Web3 adds another actor with their own incentives into the mix: token holders. Token holders are the ones who stand the most to gain if a list becomes valuable and the token price goes up. This leads us to the idea of the token-curated registry for web3.

What is a token-curated registry (TCR)?

Consensys’ Mike Goldin defines token-curated registries as:

Decentrally-curated lists with intrinsic economic incentives for token holders to curate the list’s contents judiciously.

In a token-curated registry, candidates can purchase tokens and make a deposit to add an entry to the registry.

When an applicant nominates an entry, the "challenge period" begins. Once the challenge period expires, entries are included in the registry by default.

Voting only happens if a challenge trial is explicitly raised during the period. If the candidate fails the voting process, they lose their tokens. This prevents candidates from sending in listings “just for the fun of it”.

Inversely, any token holder can challenge and stake their tokens to remove a listing from the registry or to reject a candidate. If the vote passes, the token holder keeps their tokens and the listing is removed. Otherwise, the token holder loses their tokens. This prevents the metaphorical doxxings of innocent candidates, as a victim of power plays by whales.

This TCR-based model for creating and maintaining lists ensures that the consumers, candidates, and community token holders all have aligned incentives.

  • A consumer can be confident that list is high quality because it’s curated by an objective community
  • A candidate is incentivized to keep their listing up to date because a consumer or community member can stake their tokens to take down their listing
  • A community member is incentivized to only make legitimate complaints about candidates and listings because they could lose their tokens if the community vetoes their motion

The token’s price increases in proportion to the quality of the registry and the number of consumers who find it valuable. For a DAO building a decentralized city like Cabin, a TCR-based token model ensures that our token’s value is tied to how well we aggregate demand for our curated list of nodes.

Why we want a token-curated registry for Cabin Nodes

As we mentioned earlier, we want to use the theory of TCRs to curate and maintain a list of Cabin nodes worldwide. Beyond that, this is a good token model for three primary reasons:

A TCR serves the community

The community gets to vote on whether new nodes meet their standards for quality and whether existing nodes fall below that bar.

A TCR serves the needs of node operators

We can dynamically adjust the amount of token required to stake a node. This will allow for a gradual expansion of supply that ensures supply and demand for land in our decentralized city stay in sync.

A TCR aligns all token holders

By linking staked tokens to demand before a prospective owner operates a node, we align all token holders and continue aggregating demand for our decentralized city.

For instance, the better our media guild raises awareness of Cabin, the better Cabin facilitates the overall growth of the DAO economy. Raising the GDP of DAOs raises the aggregate demand for nodes and makes it more valuable to operate nodes in our decentralized city. Finally, the increased value of Cabin’s city increases the demand for ₡ABIN as more prospective owners stake them to operate more nodes.

Proposed mechanics of a token-curated registry for Cabin nodes

As mentioned above, the TCR model allows Cabin to scale our available nodes without actually owning them. We can bring on increasing amounts of land into the DAO without building a massive balance sheet and without needing to deal with the complexity of the DAO directly owning / operating physical property in diverse jurisdictions around the world.

Here’s how it could work:

  1. Prospective Node Owner joins the community and is interested in staking their node within the Cabin network, providing them with the ability to monetize some of the demand the DAO is aggregating. For web3 neophytes, staking means locking up tokens and putting them at risk for a period of time as a guarantee of good behavior.
  2. Prospective Node Owner reads Cabin's criteria on node standards.
  3. If the Prospective Node Owner thinks their property fits the criteria, then they can apply to join the Node Registry. In order to join, the Prospective Node Owner must purchase at least x ₡ABIN (x being dynamically set by the DAO to ensure supply and demand are in balance) and stake it to our Node Registry (a portal built by our Product Guild prior to launch.)
  4. If any of the community members believe a given node is not of sufficient quality (as defined by the aforementioned playbook being developed), a community member can put up some of their ₡ABIN tokens to challenge that node’s inclusion in the supply side of our decentralized city.
  5. Community members would then vote with their tokens. If the community decides that the challenged node is not meeting the standards laid out in the playbook, the operator would lose their stake to the challengers.
  6. If the Node Owner wants to remove their listing at any time while they are in good standing (i.e., not in the midst of an active challenge), they can un-stake and reclaim their ₡ABIN tokens.

A path to a decentralized city, powered by a TCR

While running these DAO retreats, we’ll both physically build out Node Zero and also build a playbook for future nodes to follow that will allow us to rapidly scale the supply side, aggregating land to manifest our decentralized city around the world.

Once we have this v0 playbook in place, we can begin experimenting with consensus mechanisms like the TCR to decentralize the decision making in the city and potentially bring other nodes online. We can use TCR and the ₡ABIN token to give the community sufficient control over the operation of nodes. The idea is to ensure the DAO writ large captures a healthy amount of the value it creates from aggregating the demand for a decentralized city.

This would leave us where we want to be.

The core DAO would be a vortex for aggregating the demand of philosophically aligned citizens. Our decentralized city with nodes around the world would then be owned and operated by local members of the DAO. Each node – local, founder-led sub-jurisdictions under Cabi​​n – would then get the attention to its operation that it deserves. This will continuously raise the bar for what it means to be a node.

This is the path to building a world-spanning decentralized city, open to all who wish to join.


If this inspires you, come join the Discord or subscribe to our newsletter. There’s room for everyone, and the water’s warm.

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