Once upon a time there was a king…
. . . my readers would infer, but alas, this is not a tale from the past, it is about something that belongs to our common shared future, which is a decentralized form of Internet along with a decentralized financial system to go with it.
What is QORTAL and why should you need it
It is a software that runs the underlying QORT blockchain database which powers a distributed form of Internet and Cryptocurrency system.
I can see people already rolling back their eyes: Yet another blockchain currency and whatever is different this time around?
The purpose of Qortal is to fix some systemic issues in our current Internet and financial system. I will try my best to explain what these issues are, how they will be exploited in the future, and how they will be resolved by a reform of Internet of which Qortal represents an effective step forward.
The advantages of Qortal are… well, that it is the first working model ACTUALLY available out there with a compelling vision toward a better way of doing things.
However slow or early stage, it is WORKING and is AVAILABLE, you can download it, try it, use it, you can have the peace of mind that there is a DevTeam behind working relentlessly with however little resources (for now) to make it a bit better and more functional every day.
It is far from perfect but it is going in the right direction. It has limits too, which I will highlight later on as we get more familiar with the inner workings of it.
What is wrong with the actual Internet anyway
Well, nothing is wrong on the surface, we all have access to it, we can all browse and document ourselves on various topics and things, pornography and videogames stream lighting fast providing a superb consumer experience, everything seems fine… except it isn’t.
First issue, there seems to be just a minor problem with TRUTH.
What is it? Has anybody seen it somewhere?
There are very few things that are objectively True, all the rest are mostly subject to a voting type system based on the whole polling population, its average knowledge and belief system.
An example: Flat Earth?
There are arguments on both side of the question, of course pilots and rocket scientists might have an opinion that is somewhat closer to an objective Truth than the average guy, but this doesn’t prevent people from arguing over the roundness or flatness of the Earth.
Does that example sound a bit outlandish?
Let’s try out something closer to home, TRUE or FALSE: Ivermectine is an effective drug to combat Covid-19. What about masks? What about lockdowns?
This is a bit murkier situation, there are doctors swearing that it works and others who doesn’t, and then we have the media or the State censoring them and threatening to take away their license.
Truth be said, not every doctor is a great doctor, however there is a genetic selection of treatments that work, meaning different doctors will try out different remedies. Some will work, some won’t. Eventually the word spreads about what works and what doesn’t and this is how science and medicine converge toward effective protocols and discards ineffective ones, or at least this is how it should be.
The problem we have here is that doctors are not PRs nor the greatest media communicators, whilst Big Pharma has well paid lobbyists among their ranks and links to powerful politicians, so they can decide what works (and is monetizable) and what is competition and shouldn’t be allowed.
This means that not necessarily the best medical protocols become mainstream but maybe the ones with bigger financial and media firepower do, and this is not necessarily in the best interest of patients nor doctors who are intimidated as opposed to focus on doing their job and finding the best treatment.
How does this relate with the Internet?
It does when you have pharma lobbyists calling politicians to call out CEOs of Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc and ask them to ban, deplatform, demonetize or otherwise shadow ban people to prevent them from spreading an unapproved or inconvenient version of the TRUTH.
That is when public opinion is neutered and with it the possibility of new brilliant ideas to come along.
On the opposite spectrum of brilliant ideas we also have eco chambers and pockets of true misinformation and hate speech escalation which then lead to real people in the real world ending up committing real crimes like the pizzagate guy showing up at a restaurant with a shotgun…
These are the kind of events that corporations tried to avoid by policing search results and limiting the voice of whoever was deemed a bad actor up to its apex when Parler, an emerging social media platform was abruptly shut down by Amazon Web Hosting following the January 6 events at Capitol Hill.
QORTAL website data hosting cannot be shut down
So one good reason you might want to consider using QORTAL for browsing, posting or even hosting websites is to avoid being shut down and silenced every time a tyrannical government disagrees with what people should be thinking or saying.
The way websites are hosted in QORTAL is by registering the HASH of every file on the blockchain whilst the data is hosted on your very home server or computer, along with other QORTAL nodes acting together as a Bittorrent Network actively broadcasting multiple websites to multiple users as needed.
The important thing here is to avoid using your true name and just stick with an alias, like journalists do when reporting events in countries like Russia, Siria, USA (?), etc…
By allowing a Free Internet without any governance or agenda on Truth we are opening the doors to all kind of echo chambers, bigotry and extremism, but these are not a fault of the Internet as much as a failure of society in bringing about the highest standards of education and critical thinking to the population at large, nevermind the right to protest freely and openly against tyrannical regimes when they arise.
The possibility for QORTAL users is always there to TURN OFF unsavory content or sites, with the plan to allow users to TAG sites and content within categories to make it safer for children to browse parental approved content.
On this last one here we go again: Censorship of the QORTAL-Internet once again but this time by the hands of evil Grown Up elites!
Things to improve upon part 1: The Truesearch algorithm
At the beginning of the Internet, Google had a TrueSearch algorithm, meaning that Google didn’t know the right answer to a web query, it would throw out some links at users associated to the query keywords, hoping something would stick.
The web page where most users would stop searching for that question would become the best answer to that question, something close to Truth or otherwise an acceptable answer according to most user population.
Other web pages where users would keep seeking an answer to their question would be sub optimal answers or further away from Truth, whatever this might be.
Eventually the algorithm was monetized (where possible) to push up web pages of people who paid to display a certain content, a certain version of the Truth.
This is often effective for searches such as “Buy laptop” or “Buy new car”, to allow merchants a modern marketplace to display their goods and services, whilst leaving non-monetizable searches in auto pilot since these will keep users engaged and open the door to future monetizable searches.
Of course this simple and efficient system of looking up information was thrown under the bus when politics and corporations decided to modify the algorithm in order to throttle down dissent and inconvenient truths, or when people websites are shadow banned from otherwise organic searches once they stop paying for advertising.
The current search algorithm of QORTAL appears to be still in its infancy. I wouldn’t mind to see two types of searches, one monetizable by merchants, and the other based solely on user experience in detecting the best possible answer/web page as per the original TrueSearch algorithm dully registering this preference in an apolitical way.
Make no mistake, humans are lazy and they will ultimately default to convenience, so certain sites will naturally become aggregators of truth (Google, Amazon, Wikipedia, Facebook, etc) whether they are right, wrong or maliciously acting.
A TrueSearch algorithm with an evolutionary spin to keep searching for the latest Truth by polling against different pages and authors might help in identifying the closest thing to a mankind subconscious absolute knowledge of things.
History is written by… the survivors!
Remember these words of wisdom from my mother who escaped the communist regime back in the days and saved this joke from the memory holes of history:
From the newspaper Pravda (namely the Truth) in communist Russia: Tovaras (Comrade) Petrovitch won the Communist Party Raffle, and he is now a proud owner of a beautiful Trabant. He wanted to say few words to us all about this happy event.
Petrovitch: Dear Tovaras, members of the communist party, Stalin, Putin & Co, I want to thank the Party for this beautiful opportunity and unexpected and welcome present, however there are a couple of things to clarify:
Firstly, It wasn’t a Trabant, it was a bike.
Secondly, I didn’t win it, it was stolen from me.
In a nutshell, even if we try to police information, cognitive dissonance eventually kicks in and the king will be naked once again as it happened many times in the past.
We can only delay these moments of historical reckoning, we cannot prevent them altogether, since knowledge is subconsciously distributed among many brains, many people, whether they are aware of it or not.
Things to Improve upon part 2: Predatory capitalism of website names
First thing you do when loading your website on QORTAL is to register your website name (again) within the QORTAL blockchain.
What happens if that name is already taken by someone else?
Well, quite simply there is a section where you can buy website names already registered by someone else before you did:
So what happened is that early QORTAL adopters claimed ownership of valuable website domains existing on the regular Internet, hoping that the QORTAL system lifts off the ground and big / small corporations will be obliged to bargain with them in order to start using their native domain names on the QORTAL distributed Internet platform.
This way of handling website domains discourages content creators to migrate and upload their current sites from Internet to QORTAL, since there might be a substantial entry fee just to be able to get hold of their website name equivalent to the original Internet version.
One solution to this would be that many people could register the same site name, however each site name also has an unique AUTHOR, so the Google (by Alphabeth) QORTAL page will have an unique identity compared to other Google web pages created by other authors which might well try to improve and compete against the Alphabeth web page to get more traffic and users on their alternative platform.
Then the competition shifts from a unique trademark website names to a multiplicity of unique authors or companies working hard and pouring creativity and quality content within a certain non unique website name!
If ever a well renown website / author starts acting maliciously, people can start using a popular alternative version of the same but by a more reputable author by changing their quick link preferences thus promoting content quality over manipulation of big house trademark sites.
Moving money between chains without exchanges
Now this is where the QORTAL system truly gets interesting.
Firstly people must install and run it as well as keep their computer/servers connected to run the system and record transactions on the blockchain.
By doing so they are rewarded in QORTs that can be spent for blockchain services (messages, website registrations, etc) or traded against other currencies and wallets which the QORT-UI automatically generates for you:
Of course there are various philosophies about mining-blockchains such as PoW, PoS, but in any case these methods ultimately concentrate blockchain services in the hands of specialized and expensive data centers with enough computing power to displace any other small player wishing to support the system independently,
QORTS on the other end are democratically MINTED, meaning to get rewarded for acting as a node, you only need to be connected and synced, nothing else!
Of course if you are hosting a big website with lot of traffic you might want to have a decent server or multiple ones worldwide dedicated to this purpose as opposed to rely exclusively on Torrenting / Meshing your site through other QORTAL nodes and users.
In fact you can cheaply and conveniently run QORTAL on a dedicated and quiet Raspberry Pi if you like, plenty of tutorials available to burn the Linux OS with QORTAL preinstalled and run it on pretty much any machine with an USB port on it.
On this last one I am getting scolded and advised that we haven’t been BURNING OSes in decades or so, now we FLASH them? Now I am feeling antique.
Crosschain transactions without intermediate exchanges
As per earlier, you have a number of crypto currency wallets available natively within in QORTAL to accommodate for legacy coins users might be already familiar with.
Now if you want to move coins from one blockchain currency to another one in the usual fashion you would have to:
1) Go through a crypto currency exchange,
2) Pay a fee,
3) Temporarily relinquish ownership of your funds to the exchange,
4) Hope and pray on the honesty of the exchange that they don’t run away with your coins as it happened many times in the past,
5) Wait to receive confirmation your end recipient has received the funds at last…
Now this is how it is done today and it involves risks as Crypto Currency exchanges are not exactly good Samaritans and transacting crypto coins can be a rather slow and expensive process.
What QORTAL does is to allow for TRUE cross chain transactions of different crypto currencies/wallets without passing through third parties, paying fees or having to temporarily relinquish ownership of your funds whilst the system processes the transaction for hours or days.
This is notably the most advanced and futuristic feature we have seen in the Crypto universe in a long time, and it is here to stay!
Go Crypto Go Safe?
Again you might want to know: My physical banking system and credit cards, etc work just fine, why should I migrate my transactions toward decentralized currency systems anyway?
Firstly you might wonder why paying banking or transaction fees when the computers, and the Internet are doing the work automatically anyway, why not going in a system without fees, without middlemen?
Then this is a reason to go Crypto and in general QORTAL thanks to trans chain transaction capability!
Another good reason is to exert yourself and remember those times, not too far ago, when people were debanked overnight for financially supporting anti lockdown protesters?
If you were among those lucky ones then maybe you would have wished you had a QORTAL account that you can safely and anonymously exchange funds around without anybody knowing any better or politically retaliating upon you.
If you are a sex worker, probably the most financially cancelled and prosecuted social category, then you would very much like to have a QORTAL account and be done with all this nonsense.
Society is going through more hardship and more fascism, finance and banking will become the new battleground to keep the enemy, the people, the free thinkers in check.
You might want to consider to edge yourself just in case your opinion or your job might make you an enemy of the State at some point in the near future.
Things to Improve upon part 3: QORTAL banking is safe but maybe a bit too much
Now let us be clear, there are illegal things like drugs, human trafficking, extortion, etc, despite the best efforts of police, politicians and central planners to smoke out pockets of cash in hand transactions and economy.
A certain organic fraction of the economy needs or wishes to stay below the radar, it is a physiological part of the human nature that always finds a way to transact itself across different currencies and exchanges.
The advantage of using QORTAL is that all transactions are de facto anonymous between anonymous wallets, so there is zero traceability, everything goes, weather it is legal or illegal. But is this feature a true advantage for mankind as opposed to a currency system associated to physical names and legal entities?
Quite a while back we published an adamic blueprint of a crypto Currency system that had both association to physical users and legal entities, as well as alias spaces for all that wishes to stay under the radar. But why should users choose to have physical associations with their transactions and identities when they could just stay rogue and anonymously pay all the times whether it is a grocery bill or a delivery for weapon grade uranium?
Well, a few examples where physical association to real humans and legal entities comes in handy:
1) Imagine your father is a hot shot, rich and fastlaner, then, tragically he dies without passing on the passwords of his accounts, he had them all in his head to be safe.
What happens to his heirs? They better roll up their sleeves and start polishing their CVs, that’s what is going to happen.
So imagine you lose your car or house keys and because of that neither you nor anybody else will ever be able to access said house or car ever again?
Same thing with QORTAL if you misplace your passwords, then, if people are careless (and many Bitcoins are sealed forever in such accounts nowadays) then there is a chance of great loss of wealth and stratification curve instability.
Soon quite few people on QORTAL will wish they had stayed with physical banks, and notaries and give the keyring of all their accounts to someone who would manage such events and so on and so forth.
Then you will see the rise of a new class of geek-notaries which will manage these events as superusers of people’s funds, exactly the kind of people QORTAL is trying to stay away from.
The suggestion as per our original white paper is to have indeed an anonymous layer of currency transactions, but also have wallets associated to physical people or legal entities along with methods to certify, through doctors, judges or family members associated to said wallets.
This physical wallet layer associated to physical people has the capability to certify cleanly certain events, insurances, wills, frauds, etc and subsequently trigger associated responses programmed as smart contracts within the blockchain.
2) Many companies will prefer to operate in the open where smart contracts for insurances and transfer of goods/responsibility can be associated to true legal entities should things go South and therefore differentiate themselves from those companies operating on a “cash on hand / no questions asked” basis.
3) The possibility to sieve the blockchain anonymized geolocated transactions for econometric analysis, to better understand economic processes of certain regions, which policies work, analyze and therefore program transfers of goods, energy, materials, people streams, etc as opposed to fully anonymized transactions with no geolocation or physical persona associated to it.
4) Possibility to program welfare programs, payments of wages public admin, loans, etc automatically through algorithmically through blockchain smart contracts.
However to have full traceability that these financial mechanisms are not exploited or overused (ie funds being sent to multiple alias accounts all associated to same physical person) then we must have wallets associated to true physical persons and not just aliases.
5) Implement clear mechanisms for currency creation and destruction as opposed to the current crypto currency ecosystem which is inflated with endless amounts of fiated currency brands and quantities.
Simply put: Simplification of the cryptocurrency space with just the currency layers and quantities that are needed to run normal banking needs, no more and no less.
QORTAL is indeed a revolutionary concept, it is still young and has a long way to go and yet it is revolutionary and going in the right direction.
Its usefulness will be apparent soon enough.
This article was originally submitted by Option Explicit, a QORTAL user.
Edited by Peter Foss