Identity & Reputation
How does Bitrated determine who is trustworthy?
The Bitrated reputation engine is based on three primary components:
- Reviews: Historical ratings for trades the user was involved with.
- Web of Trust: Trust relationships within the Bitrated Web of Trust network (see more below).
- Online presence: We allow users to leverage their pre-existing online reputation by extracting and analyzing various metrics from their online accounts, such as their Reddit karma, StackOverflow reputation, Twitter followers and more.
What is the Bitrating score?
Our scoring algorithm assigns each user with a Bitrating score, a numeric measurement of the their trustworthiness. This score goes up over time as the user establishes more reputation, similarly to how Karma works in other systems.
In addition to the numeric Bitrating score, we also divide users into rank groups to make it easier to assign meaning to the raw score. The ranks are identified by color coding and are displayed alongside the Bitrating score, like so:
How does the Web of Trust system works?
The Bitrated Web-of-Trust models the social graph of trust relationships between users to help create transitive trust between previously untrusting users.
The basic concept is simple: if I trust Bob, and Bob trusts Alice, then I can know to a certain degree that I can trust Alice as well. By extending this concept analyzing how well two users are connected within the trust graph, we can extract metrics that are less prone to manipulation and can help you determine how trustworthy other users are.
To signify that you trust a user, you're required to vouch for them - giving them your personal seal of approval and your assurance that they can be trusted. But be careful - by doing so, you put your reputation on the line: every negative rating received by users you vouched for will affect your own ratings as well.
Am I required to reveal my identity?
No. Users can choose whether to specify their real name or remain known as a pseudonym.
If you wish, you may link your Bitrated account to your other online accounts. This could be used as a mechanism to help verify your real-world identity, or as a way to link other pseudonymous accounts that you gained reputation with, but which are not attached to your real identity.
We provide the tools, but let the market decide. It's all up to you.
Does Bitrated give reputation to Bitcoin addresses?
No. Cryptocurrency addresses are meant to be used once and get discarded, and are therefore not suitable for tracking reputation.
Instead, we provide users with a digital identity based on public-key cryptography, which we assign reputation to. All actions made by the user are digitally signed to prove their authenticity and to prevent unauthorized modifications by third parties (including Bitrated itself). You can learn more about that here.
Trades & Payments
How does the payment system works?
The Bitrated payment system allows to make reversible e-commerce transactions using multi-signature smart contracts.
The buyer and seller nominate, ahead of time, a trust agent to act as an arbiter for their transaction. The buyer then makes the payment to a 2-of-3 multi-signature address, which is locked until two of the parties agree to release it.
The payment process consists of of four steps:
All parties are required to review & authorize their participation in the trade. [screenshot]
The buyer is requested to make the payment into the multi-signature address. The seller can verify that the payment is secured in the multi-signature and provides the goods/service to the buyer. [screenshot]
The payment is now locked for the duration of the trade, until two of the three parties – buyer, seller and trust agent – agree to release it. [screenshots]
This can go in two ways:
When everything goes well, the buyer & seller agree and release the payment to the control of the seller. No intervention by the trust agent is required in this case.
When a dispute arises, the trust agent can intervene, review the case and decide which party to side with — either refunding the payment to the buyer, or releasing it to the seller.
Are funds held in escrow?
No. Trust agents have a voting power that allows them to tip the outcome in favor of either the buyer or the seller, but does not allow them to take funds to themselves or use them in any other way without the permission of either the buyer or the seller.
This means that trust agents act as arbiters for the transactions, but do not operate an escrow account.
Can't trust agent defraud me? How do I know the trust agent is trustworthy?
While trust agent cannot control funds on their own, they could collude with the other party of the transaction to defraud users.
Basically, instead of having complete trust in one person (as in the case of escrow, where the escrow provider is trusted not to "run away" with the funds, or in the case of standard payments, where the seller is trusted to provide the product/service after the payment is made), the Bitrated payment system ensures that you're protected as long as one of the parties is honest and does not conspire with the other party to defraud you.
In addition, our reputation management system can help you determine who is trustworthy. We recommend only using trust agents that have a well-known Internet persona (and have a lot to lose by acting dishonestly), a positive rating history and a high Bitrating score.
It is also worth mentioning that trust agents can more easily build their reputation compared to sellers, as there are less of them and they participate in more trades. In other words, it should be easier to find trustworthy trust agents than it is to find trustworthy sellers.
Which currencies are supported?
At the moment, only Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Testnet (BTC-TEST) are supported. We do, however, plan to integrate additional cryptocurrencies in the near future.
If you would like to see support added for a specific cryptocurrency, do let us know about that! We'll use the number of votes to determine which cryptocurrencies we should start with.
I forgot my password! Can you reset it for me?
No. Your password directly represents your private keys, which gives you full control over your digital Bitrated identity and funds in on-going transactions, but also means that you're responsible for keeping a safe and secure backup.
If your password was lost, it cannot be recovered by any means.
How much does it cost?
Bitrated is currently offered free of charge, except for the fees the trust agent may charge.
We do, however, consider charging fees in the future, both as a way to sustain the platform and as a protection mechanism against sybil attacks. By attaching a cost to ratings and verified identity creation, we can make it costly to attain fake ratings and manipulate the reputation engine - making for an overall more trustworthy platform.
This is similar to how proof-of-burn and fidelity bonds works, only that the spent bitcoins goes towards supporting the on-going operations of the reputation platform rather than being burned.