-Seen first at TheCoinFront
If we have learned anything from the internet age, it is that human beings love sharing information. Our minds beat with all kinds of ideas every second, its virtual expression pumping life into a global realm of information. This helps our knowledge and our human experience fluorish far beyond our individual or cultural imagination.Thanks to the internet, everyone can communicate any idea. This include games, movies, music, and much more. Most of the world’s creativity is just a few clicks away.

No longer do we have to have our book approved by major print publishers for it to see the market, nor do we have to ‘make it big’ to be on TV, it has become a choice. Anyone with cheap equipment, talent and hard work could become a music celebrity, just ask Justin Bieber and the beliebers!

Few can complain about this disruption, other than the legacy gatekeepers and those not willing to embrace great change. However, with lower barriers to entry come large amounts of created content, and with that comes the very real possibility of getting lost in oceans of blogs, videos and cat pictures.

Some solutions have arisen to help sort and rank content such as Reddit’s up and down votes. These ubiquitous “likes”, “shares”, thumbs up’s and down’s are replacing the hammer as judges of quality and social approval.

Such solutions have been good enough so far, but the Crypto Swartz team have seen far beyond the horizon of binary approval to create a richer and deeper way to evaluate content.

What is Crypto Swartz?

Crypto Swartz is a back end reputation system designed to run on top of Ethereum. Its principles however may certainly be implemented in other similar crypto currency platforms.

It works by allowing anyone to upload content to a decentralized network, tag the content with a short but meaningful sentence and then allow anyone to ‘vote’ on that tag.

Votes would have a minimum cost in order to prevent vote spamming. The voting on tags rather than content would allow for a richer and more descriptive evaluation of content quality as tags compete for popularity and describe any elements of the content that users wish to highlight.

Beautiful yet simple, right? Well it gets better.

Where its potential reaches for the moon, is in its integration with a cryptocurrency based reward system. This would pay early visionaries and voters based on how many votes came after them. That way, users are encouraged to vote on new ideas, rather than just what has been proven popular by the community, and prevent real quality material from being lost in the ocean of content.

Such a reward system would essentially create an investment or speculation market on top of content creation. The coins -perhaps called CS coins- could be traded on exchanges, be it on top of Ethereum or other markets, and would have a value based on their utility to the public. More on this below.

Crypto Swartz won the silver medal during the recent In-crypto-we-trust hackathon in Toronto, second only to Amir Taaki himself and his decentralized ‘Dark Market’.

These ideas are still in their conceptual phase, but the cryptocurrency space is moving fast and Crypto Swartz may be ready to launch soon after Ethereum does, or even before.

The Crypto Swartz team has recently launched a cryptocurrency consulting company called CoinCulture to offer their knowledge to the market and oversee the development of Crypto Swartz and other ideas.

They have also been working closely with the Ethereum team and are regulars at the Toronto crypto currency community, often hanging out at the Bitcoin Decentral meetups.

They host their own meetups in Guelph, Ca, where they have installed a bitcoin ATM. You can learn more about Coin Culture at coinculture.info.

What Could Crypto Swartz Do For You?In case your mind hasn’t been blown yet (or you’re stunned), let’s explore some of the possibilities such a tool could bring to the internet.

Imagine if those posts you make on Facebook which get a dozen or two likes could actually make you money? or if that music track you created and uploaded to YouTube was found by a talent-marketing agency seeking to be rewarded by your popularity?

Better yet, imagine if that research paper you have been working on for months and are so proud of could be published without an editor’s consent, peer reviewed, and funded based on its ability to inspire your vision in others?

Ok, that sounds great, but how does this supposed reward system actually work?

There are a few different possibilities here. Given the voluntary yet ideological nature of the cryptocurrency space, the market will ultimatedly decide which implementation is better for what purpose.

Some favour currencies with hard or virtually hard limits, where unit creation of a currency ends completely at some point -say 21 milllion Bitcoins.

Others argue for the value of inflationary currencies, and want to control inflation at various degrees. In the crypto coin space, each can have their own, and they can put their money where their mouth is. Given the open source nature of this space, both will likely be attempted, and they might even cooperate!

Whether the coins would be pre-mined or mined over time is also yet to be seen. How the project will be funded and the developers rewarded is also yet to be seen. Both of these issues are common challenges among cryptocurrency startups and projects.

One important element is making sure the coin has utility within its ecosystem. Votes would certainly need to be bought using CS coin and depending on your view of marketing, so would advertising space.

The money would automatically go into Crypto Swartz to pay for its running costs and then sit in escrow waiting to reward those early visionaries, content creators and talent seekers as their content grows in popularity.

What does Crypto Swartz actually reward?

Pondering on what the definition quality content actually means – and what will actually be rewarded by Crypto Swartz – raises some interesting questions.

Does popularity equal good quality? What if a piece of content is famous with one audience and not with another?

One possibility is that quality within Crypto Swartz would be defined by the community and group values that bring individuals together. A heavy metal network, for example, might vote more often on tags that speak to the music’s head banging inspirations, or by its \m/ factor.

On the other hand, a neuroscience scholarly content site would likely vote on tags with the most scientifically sound meaning.

If a controversial yet highly disruptive discovery was made and published, early voters could later be rewarded if they found capital and managed to give the idea life in the form of a great product or service, for example.

This could help the idea grow into the mainstream, inviting new votes from optimistic speculators and rewarding the previous ones.

Decentralizing Academic Publishing

Out of all the possible implementations of Crypto Swartz, perhaps the most important one and one closest to the hearts of the development team, is the decentralization of academic publishing.

Academic publishing today suffers from a variety of problems that have been observed and mentioned by many. One of its critical flaws is its outdated reliance on centuries-old print publishing methods and corporations, who require copyrights of academic content before they peer review and broadcast them as scholarly journals.

Another flaw is the university system’s dependency on government subsidies in the form of guaranteed student loans.

The funds allow universities to fund expensive tenure for academics, which make it worthwhile for them to peer review, edit and give away their intellectual fruits for free.

It also allows universities to buy those scholarly journals back through their libraries at exuberant costs, adding up to thousands of dollars per journal.

Aaron Swartz, the tragic hero after whom Crypto Swartz was named, was a strong opponent of this system. He was a core developer of Reddit, active member of Wikipedia, political activist and hacker.

In 2010 Aaron decided to download a massive amount of articles from academic publisher JSTOR. This got him in legal troubles that lead to a 13-count indictment, which piled up a multi decade prison sentence over him. JSTOR dropped the charges not long after the incident, but prosecutors pressed on.

Aaron took his own life in early 2013, after seeing his fortune drained by the legal system and his future dim behind bars. His death spurred a global movement dubbed #pdftribute, which inspired individuals all over the world to download scholarly journals and upload them to sites that allow free access. Many of these sites have flooded the web.

Among his most influential feats was his promotion of the Open Access movement which sprung a series of ventures intended to disrupt and revolutionize academic publishing.

A few great examples of Open Access platforms are Arxiv and ScienceOpen. These are two organizations that allow academics to publish for free and allows peers to transparently review and discuss its quality. This is called post-publication peer review, and it’s growing as fast as you would expect in the age of information freedom.

The Crypto Swartz platform is most impressive in its potential to disrupt legacy academic publishing systems, and enhance the reach of the Open access movement.

According to Wendy Wagner, writer of Rescuing Science from Politics:

Perhaps the most widely recognized failing of peer review is its inability to ensure the identification of high-quality work. The list of important scientific papers that were initially rejected by peer-reviewed journals goes back at least as far as the editor of Philosophical Transaction’s 1796 rejection of Edward Jenner’s report of the first vaccination against smallpox.

It is as if Crypto Swartz was made in heaven, specifically to solve this problem.

Crypto Swartz’s capacity to incentivize the finding, reviewing and promoting of high quality disruptive information is what makes it a revolutionary piece of software.

Its incentives could allow inventors in all fields to no longer depend on government subsidies, nor political forces, while hacking the resistance to disruptive innovations that human beings seem to be so prone to.

Organizations of experts in all fields which could solve human problems would likely arise and compete to find and promote innovative solutions.

Investors could get a piece of the pie by funding research that would reward their efforts with popular products, appreciated by end users through a free market of ideas.

Information would be readily available and free -or very cheap- to access, since more people having access to the content would mean more potential voters.

If such a platform is unleashed on the web, it will make little sense for the innovators of knowledge – scholars- to continue within legacy systems. And even if they do, their content can be uploaded and profited on by others who see its potential.

Other possible Applications of Crypto Swartz

Ethan Buchman, a lead developer of Crypto Swartz, who is studying machine learning at University of Guelph, says that one of the greatest possible contributions of Crypto Swartz would be to the field of artificial intelligence.

Machine learning focuses on the construction and study of systems that can learn from data, akin to an anthropologist attempting to decipher strange hieroglyphs. Machine learning – a core element of AI- is facing the challenge of mostly having access to content that has been evaluated based on an up or down vote mechanic.

Google is very aware of this problem and has been paying workers on Amazon Mechanical Turk to semantically tag content. This data would be used to advance machine learning technologies, ideally allowing computer programs to read and understand human created content, far beyond what search engines are capable of.

The semantic tagging of Crypto Swartz would incentivise such work on its platform at a much larger and more organic scale.

“Part of what we love about Crypto Swartz,” says Buchman, “is its semantic representation of content. It would be the largest and best natural language processing database”

Buchman sees a future where Facebook-like social networking sites would run on the Crypto Swartz reward system, allowing for a direct monetization of content “delivering its monetary value back to the people”.

The Crypto Swartz team is already in communications with other entrepreneurs, preparing to launch what may be Facebook and Twitter 2.0 on top of the Ethereum platform.

The possibilities Crypto Swartz presents are endless and unbelievable. And it’s just one of the many revolutionary new technologies being developed in the cryptocurrency space.

You may contact CoinCulture on twitter @coinculture or Ethan directly @buchmanster.