It has been brewing for a long time. What is the difference between the Circles UBI mechanism 5 years ago and now?


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As Martin Köppelmann, the founder of Circles UBI, said, this is a seven-year project.

Original title: “Circles UBI released the token mechanism 5 years ago. Why is it different now? 》
Written by: Iris

The enthusiasm that Circles UBI has brought to the global market for 4 days is obvious to all. Will the craze continue? Is this accidental? Is there still room behind?

As a technology that likes immersive research and thinking, Gavin (my partner) himself has a list of about 500 information sources, what are the newly released contracts on Github, the personal blog of Daniel technology and analysts, ETH Forums such as YFI, Twitter and Medium, the thoughtful kol…he spends a few hours a day watching updates of these sources, looking for new and interesting things in it, and screening out a few worthy of attention information. Because I was always looking for the next opportunity to wait for the blockchain, I was more opportunistic and directly translated an article from Gavin’s screening results and completed my self-study.

Gavin’s daily screening is also the source of ChinaDeFi output

This is how we discovered Circles UBI.

After Gavin saw Circles UBI in his content source at around 11 o’clock in the evening 4 days ago, we all felt that our eyes were bright, and we felt that this seemed to mean something, so we decided to immediately join the social experiment and form Circles UBI. “Zero Community” in China. Soon, in less than 24 hours, my community was as unexpected as the Circles server. ChinaDeFi’s Circles UBI mutual aid community grew to 1,070 people-basically the same number as Circles UBI’s official telegram group, and it was also the founder of Circles UBI. Like by Martin Köppelmann on Twitter.

It has been brewing for a long time. What is the difference between the Circles UBI mechanism 5 years ago and now?Seems to be encouraged by the likes of the founder of Circles UBI

At present, the Circles UBI community of ChinaDeFi has almost naturally grown to 1,700 people. According to the results of our participation in this experiment, compared with 99% of other blockchain project communities, Circles UBI’s community Of users appear to be “extraordinarily” active, and domestic and foreign media and KOLs are constantly analyzing the pros and cons of Circles UBI.

From market feedback and contract construction, Circles UBI may really mean something!

At first I also asked Gavin, is it possible for Circles UBI to be quickly forked by others? After carefully reviewing their historical data and current projects, Gavin told me that this project is indeed like Köppelmann said, Circles UBI from discussion, design, cancellation, adjustment, research and development, to the final implementation, and applied The Graph, xDai Network, it is possible for 3 or 4 people to spend 7 years . Of course, it will not take so long for posterity to fork, but from another perspective, Circles UBI is not born out of nowhere, but has been brewing for a long time, plus a series of influential foreign endorsements, instead of choosing to replace , It is better to think about whether it should be based on Circles or what to do with it as a basic environment?

While doing the “Volunteer Customer Service” of Circles UBI, Gavin and I have been discussing the effects of CirclesUBI, UBI and Circles. What should we and ChinaDeFi do? In fact, not only at home but also abroad, “When can I start trading” is one of the most frequently asked questions. Our first idea is to provide a trading place for holders of Circles .

Due to the special nature of the Circles mechanism—each user corresponds to an independent contract, and some contracts are exchanged at a 1:1 ratio, the existing exchanges cannot support this system. We preliminarily conceived a scheme for trading Circles: constructing a community governance contract on the user contract, forming an exchange relationship between the user contract and the community contract, and realizing transactions between community tokens through decentralized intermediate accounts .

As a result, when Gavin summarized the projects of Circles UBI, he found that Köppelmann actually proposed Circles UBI’s plan 5 years ago, which was consistent with our current thinking, but Köppelmann did not adopt the original plan in the current version .

Mechanism design of Circles UBI 5 years ago

On November 13, 2015, Martin Köppelmann published the earliest description of Ciricles and the plan of the mechanism on github. The translation content is as follows:


Circles will be a currency generated only through basic income. In the following system description, new currencies will be continuously allocated to the accounts participating in the system. The currency in each individual account is independent and different, and value can only be obtained by linking to other accounts and joining other groups. This incentivizes every user to limit their links with other accounts.


  1. Everyone can create a new account.
  2. Each account will continue to generate a certain amount of income every week.
  3. Earnings increase at an annual rate of 2%.
  4. The new account will generate income within 3 months after creation.
  5. One month’s income belongs to the account holder, and the other two months’ income belongs to those who trust this account as a trust reward.
  6. The accounts can trust each other, and the two accounts can trade tokens 1:1.
  7. Both parties who have already trusted can cancel the trust.
  8. If one account trusts another account, half of the remaining trust reward will be deducted.
  9. Any group can be created.
  10. The group can verify the account as a group member.
  11. The group can remove group members.
  12. All team members can convert their currency into team currency at 1:1. This conversion is irreversible

Design principle

The main purpose of Circles is to build a basic income worldwide.

  1. In the dimension of a decentralized world, basic income is so powerful that no single organization can control it. In particular, there is no centralized organization that can determine who can get basic income and who cannot.
  2. A stable plan is needed to support steady growth. If there are only two balance points that are “no one participating” or “everyone participating,” then it is almost impossible to change to an “everyone” balance, especially if there is no central entity participating. In the method introduced here, the group can grow locally or even start from a family. However, there are no restrictions on subsystem growth. All subsystems can be merged into the global system at any time.
  3. Flexible systems can support things like world currencies. Even if this currency fails at some point, it does not mean that the entire system will collapse, but the system will fall back to the group below it, such as country/region group. Even if the group’s currency fails at some point (because they accept too many members, they just consume their own income without providing any goods or services for the income), it can still be returned to the level of personal value, that is, the value of the currency and Interpersonal relationships are closely related.
  4. The trust reward mechanism that can encourage self-growth will encourage more new people to join the system. There is a certain degree of risk in adding new people to your circle. To balance incentives and achieve growth, we introduced trust rewards. It creates a common incentive mechanism for newcomers and those already on the network: through the establishment of a trust relationship, the newcomer gains network credibility, and the first person who trusts the newcomer will also benefit financially. If the person who trusts the new person knows the new person, then the inherent risks of trusting the new person will be offset by the benefits. If the newcomer does not become a full member of the network, then the trust in the newcomer is misguided, and this trust will lead to economic losses.
  5. Some people think that Bitcoin is a one-off. A currency must be scarce to some extent in order to function. A single digital currency can have the characteristics of ensuring the scarcity of the currency, but if other digital currencies succeed, the scarcity as an overall feature of the digital currency is questionable. This is especially true for basic income. We firmly believe that the basic income currency can only succeed when it is the only currency commonly used. That is why we want to make this proposal as general as possible. The only free parameter that is critical to the system is the growth rate g, which requires careful discussion. Trust compensation is not strictly necessary, but it does not affect the long-term equilibrium of this method.

Discussed in detail

  1. Transitive transactions: If A and B trust each other, and B and C trust each other, then as long as B is liquid, A and C can pay each other. If A is a customer and C is a merchant, A can send money to C, and the network will automatically send A’s currency from A to B, and then B to C.
  2. The growth rate g=2%. The growth rate g determines the ratio between the total money supply and monthly income. This number is subject to discussion. Its choice should maximize the value of income. Please note that high inflation rates can undermine the ability of money as a store of value. Therefore, the potential dollar market value is a function of the growth rate: market value = f (g). The market value of a currency is a function of g. For larger g, such as 5% or 10%, the value is likely to drop sharply. The choice of g should maximize g*f (g). The growth rate can be seen as an asset tax to fund basic income. People who get the full average wealth of UBI will also pay the same amount of service fee from their income.
  3. Groups are necessary to make the system more stable. There is always a certain risk in holding coins of a particular person. In a sense, the value of these coins is always supported by people. If the person dies, or more broadly, the trust in this person drops, the coins may become worthless. However, as long as a person is a member of a group, the money can be irreversibly converted into group currency. The group itself has the responsibility to strictly control it, on the one hand it does not dilute the value, on the other hand it also has a positive network effect. It becomes very interesting for merchants to accept such group purchase coins.

common problem

Can I create 100 fake accounts, all accounts trust each other and abuse the system?

Answer: You can create them, but it will not create value. As long as no one believes in these accounts, they can only exchange currency with each other and make all the money worthless.

Q: Why should I add other people to my trusted network?

Answer: Your network of trust makes your personal currency worth more than you are willing to provide for this currency. Suppose there are 100 people in your trusted network, which means 100 people are accepting your currency. Even those who do not directly accept your currency may accept it indirectly, because they know they can use it to obtain goods or services from 100 people. Collecting money is a network effect. However, on the other hand, accepting a new person involves certain risks. If this person turns out to be a fake account, you will end up with his worthless money. However, in order to obtain the first batch of newly added accounts, trustee rewards were introduced. However, accepting a brand new account should be supported by the relationship between the two participants to ensure that the new user participates in the system honestly. If they don’t, the only people who lose money are the ones who trust them wrongly.

Q: How much is the money in the account worth?

A: In theory, it should be max (value(group1), value(group2), value(group3)…, value(connection1), value(connection2),…). Please note that only connections with floating population count. As long as the membership and relationships in the group are stable, there should be no incentive to convert funds into group funds. This leads to the assumption that there is no need to exchange your money into group currency, and there is no need to exchange money with people you trust. As long as you have the ability to do so, your money is at least more valuable. This can stabilize the system and allow user A to connect to user B, even though user B’s currency value is lower. This connection can increase the value of user B’s coin without changing the value of A’s coin. However, if B tries to abuse this connection, A can cancel the trust relationship. Sometimes, users may lose their connection because of panic. But the better the user connects, the less likely this is. This reinforces your motivation to concentrate all your social relationships/reputation into one account.

Q: How many coins of the group are yours?

Answer: The amount you exchange. The only difference is that it is no longer attached to you as an individual. This means that if you do something bad, the organization cannot do anything to recover your group funds. However, they may kick you out of the organization. In an organization, exchange is one-way with individuals. Only individuals => organizations, not organizations => individuals. However, the exchange between organizations is two-way. So Berlin<=>SF is possible. The easiest way to implement Circles is based on the contract implementation on Ethereum.

Current community voice

Reviewing the mechanism design ideas of Circles UBI 5 years ago, comparing with the solutions that have been launched today, apart from some values, there are 2 main changes:

  1. The benefit feedback mechanism based on invitation management has been cancelled.
  2. The agreement between the group organization and the individual is not online.

So are the two cancelled points because Köppelmann thinks such a design is unreasonable, or does he hope that these two points will be implemented by future developers on Circles UBI? I personally think that the probability may be the latter. Gavin is also communicating with the Circles UBI team about this.

Through discussions with you in Circles UBI of ChinaDeFi, two more urgent needs of Circles UBI are drawn:

1. Prevent malicious account swiping behavior . It is mainly based on the proposal to join a KYC mechanism like PI Network. Everyone feels that if a decentralized plan cannot be proposed as soon as possible, a centralized plan can be used instead, and then updated to a decentralized mechanism later.
2. Circles’ personal token exchange . Whether the Circles tokens currently acquired by everyone can be traded or there are other tokens that can be hyped in the Circles UBI system, it will stimulate and accelerate the development of the network, and the wealth effect is essential.

Currently my partner Gavin is accelerating the development of tools for the Circles community organization, which will be released later next week. At the same time, more voices and R&D teams are welcome to discuss together and study together whether they can dig out more value in the Circles UBI network.

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