Writing Ethereum’s History Together

Victor
Victor
0xfc04
July 22nd, 2021

POB's $HASH project is many things at once - a beautiful generative art project, an ongoing season-based NFT collection, and an initiative to catalog, organize and communicate the history of Ethereum using the raw material of the blockchain itself, on-chain transactions.

This post is concerned with that last aspect, sharing the perspective of the first set of POB Historians as to how we hope to write history together with the HASH community.

The Historians DAO: A Brief History

Soon after the $HASH project launched, the devs added the ability for owners to write and submit an on-chain title and description for their $HASHes, helping bring to life the collective history-making aspect of the $HASH project. While human readable descriptions of historic TXs offered a huge UX improvement, there was no way to verify the accuracy of the titles/descriptions at the start.

We saw titles and descriptions that were wrong or misleading, perhaps due to malicious intent but more likely attributable to the owner's unfamiliarity with parsing Etherscan TX info (and maybe a bit of wishful thinking that they minted the most significant TX ever).

Thus was born the idea for an objective Historians DAO that would review and verify historical claims made about a $HASH TX. The initial Historians volunteered to vet $HASH owners' claims based on their familiarity with smart contracts and their ability to understand the information published by block explorers (we speak Etherscan).

We decided that the storytelling aspect of the project would be enhanced by allowing Historians to write Verdicts about the claims in a $HASH rather than simply vote YEA or NAY. This way the Historians could provide both verification of historically significant claims and supply helpful context to illuminate how the particular $HASH TX fits in to the broader narrative of this grand decentralized endeavor.

A Hybrid History-Making Machine

We're excited to construct a new history-writing apparatus, with an engine powered by the decentralized energy of the POB $HASH community and a set of standardizing reviewers providing an extra layer of certainty and helpful context to $HASH owners who want it.

Here's how the verification process works.

Role of $HASH Owners

Minting

Finding and minting historically meaningful $HASHes on POB is the fundamental core of the project. It's a decentralized perpetual scavenger hunt open to anyone. It's a process of discovering what matters to growing communities of Ethereum, DeFi, NFT and DAO enthusiasts and creating beautiful visual monuments to important moments. Because you're reading this, I assume you're one of these enthusiasts! Thanks for helping gather the raw material for history-making!

Annotating

$HASH owners that want to spread the word about the significance of their mints can use the Owner Console on their $HASH page to write and submit human-readable titles and descriptions of the underlying TX. If you need help understanding how to describe your $HASH TX, ask in the #history channel - we're happy to help!

Here is some general guidance:

  • Title - should be short and clear (e.g. "WBTC Token Created" or "Sale of CryptoPunk XXXX for 420 ETH")

  • Description - add helpful context about the TX to support its historical significance; links to relevant projects, news articles, blog posts and related tweets are good

Tips

  • Be sure you have a good grasp of what the specific $HASH TX did (the change in the state of the blockchain) before writing
  • Understand what specific claims you are making about the TX
  • If your claims involve an off-chain event (e.g. Person X tweeted something relevant to the TX), add the source link
  • Use unambiguous words and phrases
  • Avoid making unverifiable claims like "the most important contract in DeFi" or "the most influential NFT artist"

Role of Historians

Researching

$HASH owners can request verification of their titles and descriptions via the #request-verdict channel.

Historians then review those titles and descriptions, identify each distinct claim asserted and begin researching those claims. Some of that research is conducted on-chain (e.g., looking up contract or EOA TX history) while some is off-chain research into media articles, tweets, project announcements, hack postmortems, etc., to understand the surrounding context.

Writing and Reviewing Verdicts

Once the research has been conducted and the Historian has formed an opinion that the claims can be verified, the Historian writes and signs a Verdict summarizing their findings. Three Historians (which may include the Verdict writer) must upvote a Verdict for the Verification to be able to be submitted on-chain. Once this threshold has been reached, the owner or anyone else may click "Submit On-Chain," which appends the Historians DAO Verification to the $HASH's metadata and results in a green check mark at the start of the $HASH title.

Verification = Verdict + 3 Historian Upvotes + Submission On-Chain

If the Historian believes one or more claims cannot be verified as written, they may make editing suggestions to the owner to be able to verify the claims.

If the Historian's research demonstrates that one or more claims are wrong or misleading and the owner is unwilling to make corrective edits, the Historian may issue a "Disputed" Verdict, which after three Historian upvotes may be submitted on-chain and appended to the $HASH. This is a protective mechanism aimed at flagging egregious or malicious HASH claims that could cause harm if unchecked. We hope that utilization of this tool will be rare.

Examples of Verified $HASHes

Next Steps

We're still building the Historians DAO apparatus, and welcome ideas for improvement, especially as to procedure. Hop in the #historians-discourse channel and let us know what you think!

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