The Scene

If you talk to normal people, i mean those who might be called technically / financially receptive, but who aren’t solid crypto cracks like me and (maybe) you they talk about this giant opportunity bitcoin and crypto in general had offered during 2017, and which now seems to have gone – forever. And then, if  you are a bit aware what happens in the realm of finance and what the high profiles are looking after, you can easily see, that the big money and the bright minds are just flocking into crypto massively. But still all this might just be a chimera, they might just all together be wrong (as they were in 2008).
What crypto needs to achieve now is to actually deliver!  It has to provide structures and applications that drive adoption, that attract the masses, and eventually reach… you are certainly anticipating it…  mass adaption!
Bitcoin and Ethereum as well known,  as they might be, their incapability to scale, will make them completely unsuitable to catalyse this adoption (i believe this will soon be visible, when the next fiat crisis will break out, people flock into eth/btc, and just get stuck there because of ridiculous fees and transaction times inferior to sea mail). The EOS.io software is one of those projects, that have set out to solve the technical dilemma crypto is stuck in. And on a mere technical level it has been quite successful at that. But still so far it has not been able to massively attract new participants:
And the issue is just evident: To properly use EOS, you need to go through at least two exchanges (to first transfer fiat for btc/eth and then go to another exchange and transfer this into EOS). And then without a basic knowledge of crypto, at least how to handle public and private keys and how to secure them, you won’t get far.

Enters Worbli

Now there is the WORBLI project, promising no less than to deliver a financially compliant blockchain, which would be able to offer financial offers on the blockchain. This sister-chain, a code fork of the EOS.io software, will have a so called share-drop, which is not much different from an air grab, meaning, you will need to actively claim your Worbli token, based on your EOS token balance (snapshot has been taken on Sep 7, 2018). Although it won’t be obligatory, to receive all WORBLI tokens, it will be essential to perform a KYC process. This process is to ensure the financial compliance necessary, thus enabling a blockchain based bank, the Gamma Bank, that offers, a fiat to crypt bridge, and thus establish a direct exchange between EOS and major national currencies. This would be already a major achievement in simplifying the entry into the EOS microcosm. But more than that, they also promise to take care of security and to be able to help you with lost keys etc., which again would dramatically lower the bar to properly enter the EOSphere.
So quite apparently Worbli adresses 2 major issues prevailing in the Eos.io ecosystem.

Identity

Know you customer / Anti-Money-Laundering (KYC/AML) is much frowned upon in the crpyto community, as it’s said to enable central control and thus make participants vulnerable. KML processes basically means, that one is required to reveal their identity to an authority, and despite all the criticism, this has already become a defacto standard for crypto exchanges. Yet doing this on the blockchain level is something rather unique: it means, that all participants on the chain are identified, yet not necessarily to each other.
The primary goal, and central promise of this is to relieve dapps of the burden to perform the tricky aspect of ensuring KYC themselves, streamlining their operations and giving them a benefit even over traditional (off-chain) services.
But i might well go beyond that, a blockchain with KYC might have quite a different account texture than other blockchains. It might be a bad example, but the real-name enforcement requested by Facebook gives a user’s profile more relevance, or should i say clout, to use this term of social power, that might enable many more use cases than just financial services. It could enable applications, like decentralised market places, and even social networks, since even Dan’s Steem 2.0 proposal requires some aspect of identity.
Although blockchain expert Ian Grigg is rather sceptical of KYC processes, and describes them as a failure, in a network context, KYC might turnout to be a base layer for a reputation system, with a more solid, network based, identity layer that finally would enable, social, maybe even political structures, not imaginable by now (or about to fail as it currently appears to on the EOS mainchain). 

Building Bridges – IBC

Despite such a big vision, it would still be essential that WORBLI, as a side-chain of EOS allows for permeability. If it were intended to be a stand-alone chain, it would remain rather weak, since all the cool apps are and will be on the main chain. All the services possible on a blockchain as envisioned by Worbli, would be lost, if this chain was locked up with itself. It can only be valuable , when the services offered, are also accessible to EOS token holders, or holders of tokens on other side-chains.
To
 achieve this, WORBLI is working intensely on inter-blockchain communication. This is basically a twin-smart-contract, which allows you to lock tokens on one chain, and receive tokens on the other chain and vice versa. Like so many bold claims from b1, be it a hardware wallet, file-storage, just to name a few, it’s once more the community that actually gets things done. And the WORBLI CEO Domenic Tomas, has asserted, that developping IBC is one of their top priorities in a recent interview. This development is not only critical for WORBLI alone but for the whole EOS.io ecosystem, which would be really strengthened by it’s existence and allow users to easily move between the different districts of EOS and not be locked up on their respective chains.

This will be a feature that helps to play out the full strength of the EOS and further boost scaling and  also increase the competition regarding governance between chains.

Centralisation / Decentralisation

So all these are bold visions, do they come at a cost? Is apparent centralisation the issue? In fact, it seems, that WORBLI will launch in a rather centralised manner, with a set of  21 well respected, but nevertheless appointed block producers, and another 10 for backup. Voting isn’t meant to come anytime soon. Governance is also set by the foundation. Worbli promises to open up, BP voting and constitutional referenda etc, bit by bit, and for a start it is not the worst approach to steer things in a certain direction to ensure that you would like the main pillars of a project.

The more complicated part though might be the KYC, not for its own sake but for the question, who is going to handle it.  who is going to be in charge of all the blockchain member data? Will it be on chain? And how could it be accessible? And this is something, that you can’t introduce later on, as the security issue is already there. And on the other end, will KYC make the WORBLI foundation attackable, because it’s one thing to try to be compliant, and another fulfilling the criteria of potentially hundreds of different jurisdictions, which might consider otherwise. 

Chances

So is this new EOS based chain able to deliver? Certainly the launch team has out together some fascinating and far reaching ideas, the white paper is concise and provides and overview about what i gong to happen. Last but not least, at asserting a project is 90% about the people involved. Without knowing any of them beforehand, their background seems to be really solid, with a necessary background in finance and tech. The appointed block producers, which will play a critical role naturally, a certainly among the finest and most trustworthy to be found in the EOS realm. So these are big assets in favour. What they certainly need to ramp up is their direct communication, answering questions from the community is not only a way of building trust, but to reinforcing a project and maybe also learn and fix issues on the way. What is to be seen on Telegram and Reddit is more than sobering and way below what peers have to offer, where the project head often answers from the project head in person, and in an  in-depth manner, no matter to who asks the question. That’s how communication works guys! Being responsive to the community would also help improve the quality of content of challenges like this, as those would help bring out the work about news, features, etc, so certainly a win that  the WORBLI team is missing out this way.

All in all i can imagine that WORBLI can become a cornerstone of the EOS.io ecosystem, enabling dapps, that would be difficult to launch on the mainnet, not only dapps for mere financial purposes, but such that require a strong identity layer. With apparently being a major player in building IBC, they would not only establish their specific district of EOS, but effectively helping to bridge the different (yet to come) sister,- side,- and what-not-chains of EOS. Most critical imo will be how to handle KYC towards legislation, and prevent attack-vectors based on centralisation, even if it intended to be initial. Maybe the have considered that anyway.


I
 am definitely keen to see WORBLI take off and evolve!

This article is a submission for the Worbli / Trybe contest.

Cover image based on work of Kelvin Zyteng

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Responses

  1. worbli_ceo

    Just a quick note, but jurisdictional compliance is handled at the dAPP level. The businesses on chain are required to meet the compliance rules of their jurisdiction. The foundation is responsible for ensuring a compliant blockchain network only.

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    1. Conceptskip Post author

      Thanks a lot for picking this up so quickly. I am rather wondering how the member data, collected via kyc is handled and stored, because this could be attacked by hackers, or authorities could demand disclosure of data from whoever they deem in control, wouldn’t they?

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  2. Zeus69

    You hit the nail on the head with this:-
    “What crypto needs to achieve now is to actually deliver! It has to provide structures and applications that drive adoption, that attract the masses, and eventually reach… you are certainly anticipating it… mass adaption!”
    Great write, I seriously need to research WORBLI more.
    And now I’m too late for the competition too. aaaagggghhhh.
    Its okay, my turn next time 🙂
    Great article thank you @conceptskip
    Regards,
    Mark (Zeus69)

    (1)