Exclusive Interview: How DREP is Using Blockchain Technology to Fix Reputation Systems

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DREP Foundation is creating a 3-tier decentralized reputation ecosystem that enables both decentralized applications (DApps) and centralized platforms to leverage the blockchain in implementing a fair, transparent, and efficient reputation system on the DREP Chain.

Bots and Fake Accounts Render Reputation Systems Useless

Ebay, Amazon, Alibaba, Fiverr, and other e-commerce, online retailer, and service distribution platforms are often the target of fake accounts, bots, and malicious activities initiated by users, competitors, and merchants that attempt to distort real reputation value.

Years of falsified and manipulated reputation ratings have led e-commerce platform and service marketplace users to lose confidence in existing online reputation systems, punishing merchants that have gained strong reputation legitimately by providing high quality products or services.

Due to the low costs involved in creating fake ratings and bots, and the non-existent motivation of merchants to build reputation profiles, centralized reputation systems have essentially become redundant, despite the efforts of platform operators to manually discover false ratings and accounts.

Generally, according to DREP Foundation’s team, three types of accounts fall under the category of fake accounts:

  1. Fake army accounts composed or large volumes of bots or paid accounts
  2. Low quality accounts that distribute false news and information
  3. Unverified accounts (KYC)

The issue with traditional reputational systems and the mechanisms implemented by platforms like Fiverr is that due to the low costs of buying fake army accounts and paid bots, it is both cheap and easy to inflate the account of a merchant and inject it with high ratings. Since there is no transparent method users can utilize to verify the legitimacy of the ratings of vendors, users are often misled by the fake ratings and manufactured reviews.

Purpose of the DREP Token and its Blockchain

A blockchain offers several distinct advantages over traditional reputation tracking systems which are often hosted in a private database either by the site or by a third party. Firstly, the public nature of the blockchain allows any user of any site to determine where the reputation of a given user is coming from. This transparency allows users to make informed decisions regarding the content posted by the creator, be it a product review or an article. Secondly, the blockchain is cryptographically verifiable and tied to a specific token, which protects against gaming the system or creating of fake reputations. Finally, by decentralizing the reputation, the need to trust the site hosting the content from inflating or deflating reputation to serve its own interests is removed.

Essentially, similar to how 0x operates as the base protocol for cryptocurrency exchanges like Paradex and Radar Relay, DREP Foundation aims to operate as the base protocol for existing internet (e-commerce, tool, social and content) platforms and service distribution networks. Through the DREP Foundation’s blockchain protocol, platforms such as Amazon and Fiverr can adopt a blockchain-based and transparent reputation system, which incentivizes merchants to earn strong reputation organically, with platform tokens.

“A user’s reputation value is calculated based on the desirability of their behavior on a platform using DREP’s existing reputation calculation algorithm templates, which are also customizable to platforms’ preferences. Platform tokens are then awarded to the user; tokens awarded have a positive correlation to reputation value. This is how DREP Foundation tokenizes online reputation: tokens awarded increase with reputation value, an indicator of frequency and quality of positive behavior on the platform,” the DREP development team explained.

Since each reputation value of a merchant or a vendor is recorded by the transfer of a token, the ratings of vendors cannot be manipulated or inflated without spending large amounts of capital and resources. Attempts to create fake accounts, orders, and sales are detected by DREP Foundation’s Fake Account Identification Solution, assisting users in spotting vendors with malicious intent and preventing users from obtaining products or services from merchants with illegitimate reputation.

DREP Foundation’s network, which is based on the decentralized blockchain protocol of Ethereum, is decentralized by nature. As such, information on the network cannot be altered or changed. Once reputation tokens are issued to a merchant or a vendor and broadcasted to DREP Foundation’s network through the usage of smart contracts, users are able to transparently analyze the reputation value of merchants based on the reputation tokens they have received.

“Beyond displaying undistorted reputation values of users, platforms can use DREP Foundation’s solution to classify users by reputation tiers for easy filtering, randomly select users to vote on accounts with suspicious activity and prevent users from creating multiple accounts,” DREP Foundation’s development team added, noting that platforms can also use their solution to evaluate the activity of users.

DREP Foundation’s Partnership With Singapore’s Prestigious University NTU

DREP Foundation has secured an early partnership with Singapore’s prestigious university Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and China-based Qtum, with various long-term projects and collaborations planned.

The partnership between DREP Foundation and NTU was formed due to DREP Foundation’s co-founder Momo Chang’s affiliation with the Nanyang Business School at NTU, who remains as an active alumni contributor to this date. DREP Foundation’s team stated that it has already received guidance from advisors at NTU including NTU Shanghai chairman Tolin Shen and NTU Board of Trustees member Lien Siao Sze.

The active participation of NTU members has assisted DREP Foundation in establishing an agreement with NTU to create a blockchain laboratory and training center, to help students and researchers in the university to explore the blockchain sector and emerging innovative technologies.

“Our partnership with NTU is based on Momo’s alumni affiliation with the Nanyang Business School at NTU,” DREP Foundation’s team explained. “DREP Foundation is working on an agreement with NTU to establish a joint Blockchain laboratory and training center. This facility contributes to exposure and participation in the Blockchain sphere for students and supports development of DRApps on DREP Foundation’s solution.”

Qtum, a $1.3 billion blockchain protocol, has also made an investment in DREP Foundation, with the motivation to cooperate with DREP Foundation’s development team and develop decentralized reputation applications in the long-term.

DREP Foundation’s team said that its blockchain technology has appealed to organizations like Qtum and NTU due to its focus on scalability and optimized settlement of transactions. Since the DREP Foundation’s protocol has to process information in a swift manner as a base layer for large-scale platforms that utilize reputation systems, it needs to be able to process significantly more transactions than conventional payment blockchain networks.

The progress that is being made with the blockchain network regarding scaling with the testing of Sharding and Plasma is expected to help DREP Foundation’s protocol to process reputation value more efficiently, without straining its network and placing a heavy burden on the mainnet.

“DREP Foundation’s network is designed to be vastly more scalable than existing Blockchain networks. Existing networks get slower as more nodes are added to the network, while DREP Foundation’s network gets faster. The time it takes to perform new transactions to the existing networks is on the order of minutes, which is impractical for modern web applications that must cater to thousands or more operations per second,” DREP Foundation’s developers added.

Disclaimer: Some members of the Live Coin Watch Team may be investing in the project. This is not a recommendation towards the fitness, legality, or investment status of the DREP token or organization and should not be construed as financial advice whatsoever.

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