Swarm City Boardwalk Overview
Boardwalk is Swarm City’s Minimum Viable Product. It enables users to create requests and respond to them, and make and execute deals with Swarm City Tokens (SWT). Boardwalk is where commerce begins in Swarm City, and provides a simple, intuitive system for participating in Swarm City’s peer-to-peer sharing economy.
Boardwalk will be released very soon, and with its release the Swarm City team will be ensuring that the basic concepts of transacting,gaining reputation, and using hashtags are performing well in real world
scenarios in preparation for Storefront, the third release.
Part 1: Basic Boardwalk Functionality
Users begin their journey in Terminal, which they use to create their Swarm City identity. Once a user leaves Terminal, they will find themselves in Boardwalk. Boardwalk is where newcomers meet and get acquainted with the city’s structure and citizens. It’s where the first relationships are built, reputation gets minted, and the first deals are made.
The following is a visual tour of how Boardwalk works.
Hashtags are sorted and filtered by popularity and location.
Hashtags are used to create a service request. The Boardwalk interface shows popular hashtags based on a user’s geolocation. If a user clicks on the hashtag, it will take the user to a list view of every offer and request that has been made on that hashtag.
#Needaride as an example:
Clicking on #needaride brings up a list that shows all incoming ride requests for the user’s specific geolocation. In other words, this list will show other users who are looking to hire someone to get from point A to B. These are service seekers. In reality, Boardwalk is building on the functionality that is already being successfully used today in Swarm City facebook needaride groups.
Users have the option of setting their preferred reference currency, indicating the SWT value for each request in USD, EUR, ETH, or BTC.
To create a new ride request on this hashtag, a user clicks the big plus button in the bottom right hand corner. Then it’s as simple as typing in where and when they want to go, and how much they’re willing to pay to get there.
In Boardwalk, creating a request is as simple as writing what service a user wants.
The offer detail view.
On the offer detail view, a driver can accept or respond with a counter-offer by clicking on “Respond”. To get to this view, the driver simply clicks on any ride request in the offer list view.
The requester gets a notification every time there is a reply to their offer.
When a driver responds to an offer request, a notification is received by the requester’s device.
By clicking the notification, the service seeker is taken to the detail view of the request.
Two drivers responded to the rider’s request.
The seeker now has two service providers offering to settle the request. The service seeker can click on either offer and make a choice. Before choosing a service provider, the seeker can also check the reputation and identity of the provider. (More on reputation down the page.)
Reply detail screen from a driver offering their services.
Then, the seeker chooses a service provider by clicking the accept button.
To initiate the deal, both parties send the value amount of the deal in SWT to a holding contract. The tokens can only be released once the deal is successfully completed, or when both parties agree to cancel the deal.
reason why both parties send the deal amount to a holding contract is
it prevents either party from spamming. If either party wasn’t invested
in the transaction, they could decide to not show up, leaving the other
party stranded. When both parties are invested in the success of the transaction, it creates a layer of trust between them
When initiating a deal, both parties send the same amount of tokens to a holding contract.
Once the deal is enacted, the seeker and provider can start chatting with each other to make more specific arrangements.
Making specific arrangements over chat.
After the ride takes place, both parties trigger the payout.
When the deal is executed, the requester and the service provider trigger the payout.
Part 2: A Deeper Look At Boardwalk
Boardwalk is the expression of the Swarm City peer-to-peer sharing economy in its simplest form. With Boardwalk, hashtag driven provider requests are introduced, which will give individuals the ability to communicate with each other, gain reputation, and transact.
By watching how users interact with each other and the system in Boardwalk, the Swarm City team will gain valuable insight on where development, communication, and business resources need to be allocated to fine tune Swarm City. It will also reveal the short-term growth potential of the project.
Here are some initial indicators the Swarm City team will be looking at: the number of transactions, transaction size, type of transactions, and the number of unique users.
The goal is to make sure Boardwalk interactions are performing as designed, and at the same time get a better understanding of the project’s potential.
To give some useful context, here is the description of the first three Swarm City releases:
- Creation of individual identity and wallet.
- Simple transactions with shortcodes.
- Ability to convert ARC into SWT.
- Development is funded by the Ether raised during the ITO.
- Basic peer-to-peer transactions.
- Launch of first hashtag, and the ability to generate reputation on it.
- Development is funded by the Ether raised during the ITO.
- Transactions will incorporate a mandatory tip that goes to the hashtag maintainers, to fund support, communication, and conflict resolution for that hashtag.
- A graphical user interface to efficiently request or offer a service.
- First storefront to be developed will be rideshare; #needaride.
- Development is funded by the Ether raised during the ITO.
- Transactions will incorporate a mandatory tip that goes to the hashtag maintainers, to fund support, communication, and conflict resolution for that hashtag (more on this below).
With the Boardwalk release, the Swarm City team should begin to get a feel for the long term promise the ecosystem brings. The big task at hand is to provide enough value that Swarm City is used by as many people as possible, transacting peer-to-peer. The more valuable the ecosystem, the more value the token will have.
In fact, the value of SWT is the indicator of how our users value Swarm City and the utility of its tools. It is an actual representation of the value users are creating by using the Swarm City ecosystem to transact, because each transaction is tied to a good or service with no middle-party bloat.
With the release of Boardwalk, the Swarm City team will migrate existing active commerce groups like rideshare from facebook and other channels, to Boardwalk. It will enable users like drivers to transact effortlessly, with minimum, fixed transaction fees, which is in stark contrast to the enormous percentage being charged by competitive rideshare projects to cover the bloat caused by their hyper-centralized model.
Though they claim it so, that model is anything but decentralized. It’s bad enough a large bureaucracy exists at the center of those organizations, making blanket decisions for all users. But what’s worse is in order to keep the bureaucracy alive, they do so by extracting value generated from their community of users. This is value that could be used to better the community if kept in the hands of those building it. In Swarm City, value generated by a community member stays with that member. Thus productive users will have more assets with which to keep building better services; enriching the community.
Swarm City does not need to charge transaction fees because the ether raised during the token sale is sustaining development and startup costs. However, a small fixed amount tip will be charged by users maintaining each hashtag, which will be discussed a bit more down the page.
Any service provider can be among the first citizens of Swarm City gaining reputation and making money by using Boardwalk.
With Boardwalk, we will start using our own tools to further build Swarm City. In this way, we’ll create a continuous feedback loop from development, to business, to users, and back to development.
The Development and Business teams will use Boardwalk to post requests for app and business development tasks. The Outreach team will use Boardwalk to post requests for outreach tasks.
This will ensure that the future development of Swarm City becomes more decentralized. By posting tasks with a well expressed deliverable, anyone can join in to help build Swarm City.
Here are a few examples of what development and business requests might look like in the future:
“swarm city dev team needs iOS webview specialist for next release #SCdevelopment”
Offer: 14 swt
“Business team requests 2 ambassadors to speak at BlockchainCongress 4/12/2017 #SCbusiness”
Offer: 200 swt
“#SCbusiness Looking for social media expert helping out with our twitter account / 1hr meet and greet”
Offer: 20 swt
Part 3: Hashtags Explained
With the release of ‘Boardwalk’, Swarm Citizens will see the very first Swarm City hashtag: #Pioneer.
To begin with, all transactions will be on the #Pioneer hashtag. Users can start transacting on it immediately, which will have the added benefit of creating reputation for them on that hashtag.
Any user can join in transacting on the #Pioneer hashtag. Swarm City team members will use it as well. For instance, if the Dev team needs system testers, their request might look like this:
“Swarm City dev team needs tester for the storefront release”
Offer: 200 SWT
If the outreach team needs someone to do a talk at a crypto event, their request might look like this:
“Swarm City outreach team needs presentation @blockchainafrica2017”
Offer: 1000 SWT
And, if a user wants to request a ride home from the local pub, their request might look like this:
“Ride home from @coatofarmspub to 7th street, female driver only”
Offer: 25 SWT
For the near term, all commerce will take place on #Pioneer. The reason why the first Swarm City transactions are limited to one hashtag is to get Swarm Citizens used to navigating the interface, and hashtag owners used to maintaining the hashtag (more on this in a moment). Early users will forever hold reputation in #Pioneer, proving they were there from the very start.
The last phase in the Boardwalk release will be opening up the ability to create hashtags to every user. In the meantime, everyone will get used to using #Pioneer together.
Once hashtags are opened, how does it work?
Starting a new hashtag is as easy as setting up a Whatsapp group. Here is a very simple iteration of the interface:
A user taps the big plus button on the bottom right. It takes them to the new hashtag screen.
On the new hashtag screen, the user names their hashtag. They also must set a minimum mandatory tip. When users transact on this hashtag, the tip is the transaction cost.
With the tip, hashtag owners can make sure their hashtag is a clean and safe space for users to do business, by creating support and conflict resolution services. The better the hashtag is maintained, the more Swarm Citizens will want to use it to do transactions and gain reputation.
On the next screen, hashtag owners enter a short description of what the hashtag stands for. Hashtag owners can also enter contact information; like facebook, twitter etc., so users know how to reach them.
Owners can choose to share the tips with other users (and later Hives). Owners will ask the person they want to invite for their shortcode. When the owner enters the invitee’s shortcode and taps the plus button, a device to device connection is set up, and the invitee sends their identity and public key. If everything looks good the owner can confirm.
In the next screen hashtag owners can configure the percentages each party should receive. Every member of the hashtag maintenance crew can have a different % of the tip.
That’s it! A new hashtag is ready to be used by Swarm Citizens.
Part 4: Reputation
This section discusses the concept of reputation. The general understanding of reputation is “what people think of me”. So when a person belongs to a certain community in which peers know their identity, their actions and interactions can contribute to or harm their reputation.
In the real world, people belong to many different communities, and as they move between them different rules apply based on the context of the community. A certain behavior might add to a person’s reputation in one community, but detract from it in another. Here are a few examples to illustrate this point:
It’s Friday night at 11 PM, and you’re at the pub having a drink with friends. You’re speaking loudly, laughing, and telling jokes. Everybody’s laughing along with you; even the people that don’t know who you are, are laughing. The community is clearly enjoying your presence, humor, and disposition, and thus they value you as a member. As your value in a community increases, it positively affects your reputation.
It’s Monday morning at 11 AM, and you’re at work in a staff meeting with your colleagues and boss. You start speaking very loudly, telling the same jokes you made in the pub a few days before. Your colleagues feel embarrassed because what you’re doing is inappropriate for your environment. Your identity did not change; your behaviour did not change. The only thing that changed was the context of your environment. And in this context your reputation drops because the community does not value your behavior.
When you arrive at the pub again next week, the patrons all recognize you (identity), and your reputation precedes you. Some of the people that were there the last time start talking to you. Your friends look forward to meeting up again because in the context of the environment your interactions take place in (the pub), they enjoy their experience with you (behavior). If this same group of people experienced your behavior in a different context, they might not enjoy it as much.
Reputation is the sum of an identity’s interactions in a specific context.
So, how do these concepts get integrated into a virtual city? It begins with identity, which has been taken care of with the release of Terminal. In Terminal, a user’s identity is attached to their wallet and public/private key pair. As for interactions, in Swarm City those are called transactions because an actual transfer of value takes place in each interaction.
In Swarm City, just like the real world, a transaction is the transfer of value from one identity to another. With every successful transaction in a specific context, reputation is gained. If a transaction is unsuccessful, no reputation is gained.
In the pub, a patron would ask someone “Do you know this guy? He seems funny.”, and a peer will talk about how funny he was last week. People in that community will verbally vouch for him with their reputation.
In Swarm City, reputation is recorded on a public blockchain, so there is no need to trust a peer’s opinion on whether someone is funny or not. Anyone can just check their reputation for themselves; it’s expressed by a number. Here are the above concepts broken into simple bullet points:
- Identity = ethereum public key
- Context = hashtag
- Transactions = transfer of value
- Reputation = sum of transactions in a context
Reputation on a Hashtag
A hashtag is a smart contract that stores reputation. When a transaction occurs in that hashtag, reputation gets released to each party. Each party’s reputation balance represents the reputation of that user in that hashtag only (in that context).
To be accurate, reputation on Swarm City hashtags is its own token, but the token is worthless relative to Swarm City Tokens, coins, and currencies. Their only value lies in their creation story. They can only exist because the owner did a successful transaction in a particular hashtag. A user’s ownership of the reputation token proves they participated in a successful transaction.
The visual abstraction layer is how most people experience Swarm City. When a user wants to get to know someone else, all they have to do is tap on that person’s identity. This brings up a simple screen that shows their reputation balance on every hashtag attached to their public key. A user can choose whether or not to interact with them based on their reputation in a context (hashtag).
Public information associated with transactions is stored on Ethereum’s public blockchain. The goal is that Swarm City users have the ability to seek out interactions with other users who have a reputation score that’s acceptable to them. And by using the Ethereum blockchain, reputation can be public and irrefutable.
The caveat is, users can only see identity information when it’s attached to a service request. So, when a service seeker posts a request, anyone searching the hashtag the request is made on can see the seeker’s public identity. And once a service provider responds to the request, the provider’s identity can be viewed. Identity information is only saved on an individual’s device, not on any central server, which means their information is only viewable when they interact via request.
Boardwalk is an exciting step for Swarm City; one that gives users the ability to communicate, transact, and build reputation with their peers in a safe, trust-less, decentralized way. It’s where the the initial vision that inspires Swarm City becomes reality.
If you would like to know more, or think you are a great asset to the Swarm City team, please say hello on Slack.
Follow the development process on Swarm City’s Github. In a future post, the dev team’s methodology and process will get further explanation.