Let’s talk about Decentralized Justice with Tomás Prieto
An interview by Georgina Mauriño
[ Escucha el podcast original en español en este enlace ]
I know that artists can find very good company in this new Internet, because we share with many others in the world the hope in a new technology which can bring some respect of our rights and can give us back some spaces of Liberty on the web, which is today still compromised by he surveillance and manipulation of big tech companies.
Tomás and I are Spanish, but we know that many readers of these lines can come from fairly different countries. Everyone of us has to carry his own weigh as the citizen of a specific country, and this on top of our particular personal circumstances. Everyone of us is a world. I don’t know about the personal ideas of Tomas Prieto: whatever they are we are both respectful for our individual freedom, and I am aware of his commitment to defend it in the new Internet of Value. I cannot think Alf a better starting point for our conversation.
As an author, I have shared several times about the fundamental rights that are more important for my work: Privacy, Freedom of Speech and Intellectual Property. I actually started my journey towards the Internet of Value to recover and defend such rights on the web. But, for you, Tomás, which rights do you think are more in need to be defended on the web?
T.P. First, let me thank you for the invitation. Now, answering your question, when I started learning about what was the Internet of Value, which many people want to number -some talk about web3, web5-, I immediately found the best definition in the Bitcoin protocolé. I had my first contact with this technology in 2017 when I start publishing articles about blockchain, and I get very interested about the very first blockchain: Bitcoin. And when you start understanding after a thorough study the first and most important right is Privacy. As A lawyer myself, I am a data protection delegate, and I know that the Internet 2.0 everyone know and the one we are all used to be and use at work and in our every day life, is an Internet that takes advantage of our data, our information and our privacy. Privacy is the great concern expressed by the cypher punk movement in the years 1970s and 80s -as a premise of Bitcoin (the protocole paper is published in 2007). This movement of thinkers and technologists starts by caring about privacy. Because without privacy, the first thing we looks is freedom. In the realm of fundamental rights, with the right to life comes the right to be free. And if we loose our privacy, we loose our freedom.
Nowadays, remembering cypehpunks you realize that they did not miss any point. It is happening. We live in a critical moment where we are loosing all kind of rights. We live in an absolute crisis of values, political crisis, and the Western State that we thought were solid democracies are becoming authoritarian states. With such authoritarianism comes the loss of fundamental rights, and this is what led me to research deeply about the Bitcoin protocolé, and realize the importance of privacy for citizens in the Internet. And one of the big changes and a great revolution the the Bitcoin protocole introduces is respect for the privacy of people. When we talk about the Internet of Value, the first thing we should think about is another model of a Internet different from the traditional one. and the way we are building this new Internet we call the Internet of Value has two essential features: 1. It does not use toxic algorithms, which is what the internet 2.0 uses; 2. no one takes advantage of th information of the people monetizing our contents. No one needs our personal data and since no o e needs them, se are in a a new Internet free from the appropriation of our personal data and contents.
G. I love to hear how this protocole means much more that just a new stage, and that it can open the gate to a new Renaissance of the web, which affects us all. As for me, I also discovered the Internet of Value when I started researching about blockchain tech after I read a post form the Herbert Von Karajan Foundation. As soon as I started researching realized the importance for creators. It took me more time to understand the interest of Bitcoin as such. This is why I want to talk with you today about Bitcoin, the most secure of all blockchains, the only one really able to achieve the silent revolution that users in all the world need, and this is something that is already happening for many users in the countries with the most mistreated population. Where there is more lack of freedom is where Bitcoin is reaching more adoption… Therefore, as a solution for exchange of value, of goods and services in the web, I would like that you can explain why you think that we need to understand Bitcoin, in a moment when we feel our money, our saving are at risk… how can it help us preserve our financial sovereignty.
T. P. We’ll look, yesterday I published an article in LinkedIn with the title “It is impossible to define Bitcoin”, because Bitcoin is a lot of things at a time, and it can be a lot of things depending on the kind of person that is going to use it. But it can actually be many things deeding on your localization. Bitcoin can become a new opportunity for someone in Venezuela. It can mean access to vital services for a Venezuelan or an Argentinian. For many people in Latin-America it can provide a job opportunity. For people with basic needs it can even become like digital cash and use it lime money. Nevertheless, in countries with some monetary stability, like Europe or North-America, countries like Australia or Canada, we are going to see it in a different way. We can see it as an investment, as a way of saving, a way to protect ourselves from inflation. It can even be a speculative asset for those who dare trading with it. For a Russian or an Iranian it can be the door to global markets and access marketplaces which are today restricted for them. In other words, depending on your geolocation and the strength of your currency or the wealth of your country, Bitcoin can work in a way or another: as cash, as a long term reserve of value, as our patrimony preservation si de it is censorship resistant and non-hackable. We can transport it around the world, and cross borders with our seed phrase in our head… Jus with my seed phrase I can have my patrimony anywhere in the world.
Bitcoin can be many things at once and everyone can use it for our specific needs. What is fundamental for me, and for us in Spain, is understand how it can protect us from inflation, since our economic crisis is an inflationary one.
G. I see, and I am aware of how Bitcoin is being adopted in different countries. In YouTube you can find some documentaries like a recent one about Cuba, where you realize how they are much more aware, and they are already using it in ways that are moving to witness: recovering spaces of Liberty in places where they have been forced to live in really bad conditions. And about what you mentioned referring to the patrimony, there are people who find the way to preserve the savings of a lifetime. In Europe we are less aware, but as you well say, inflation is something all who still use Euros or dollars have not yet suffered in the same way. Only when the moment comes we will wake up. Let’s hope it is not too late. And this is why I believe people need to start educating themselves about this space of protection, and get all the information, is Spain as well as in Europe in general.
But now, let’s go back to technology and what it means, and talk about your project DEIUS, which you are building on Bitcoin. I would love to hear you introduction and what problems are you solving in the field of justice, since your professional background is in the traditional Jurídica world. I believe discovering this technology provided the opportunity to solve certain problems for which you were especially aware. This is what I want you to share: the problems you want to solve with DEIUS, and this is a matter that concerns our audience too. Our blog addresses artists and creators whose work happens inevitably in the web in a way or another. The Internet can be for me many a way to earn a living, and this is the reason we are most interested in the solutions you can bring to us.
T. P. DEIUS is a project of decentralized self-compositive justice. This is how we call it.
It is decentralized because we are using a decentralized tech like Bitcoin, and it is self-compositive because we use two kinds or models of justice.
The traditional justice we are all used to is the model called “hetero-compositive”. Hetero-compositive means that there is always a third party that imposes a solution. In other words: a judge write a sentence. so we call “hetero-compositive” a model of justice which equals zero, and where there is no winner nor looser, because a sentence always Has a winter and a looser. It is always this way: solutions that sum up zero. meanwhile our model is a model self-composed because we eliminate the middleman for trust, since our tech model comes from ADRs, Alternative Resolutions. We are talking about measuring, negotiating and conciliation. With such foundations for our project, we avoid the a third party imposes anything: only parties via negotiation and technological mediation, and with a technology that is exponential, can progress towards a consensus. In other words, in our case the final result comes from consensus, like,Bitcoin also works thanks to a concensus. As for us, what do we do? Well, we eliminate third parties: judges, fiscals, attorneys, and we replace with by technology: smart contracts, smart agreements, artificial intelligence, so we can build a remote justice system, taking advantage of the technology offered by Bitcoin. Why Bitcoin specifically? We chose Bitcoin because it is the most secure of all blockchains in the world, because it is the only one genuinely decentralized. We are creating a model of decentralized justice, eliminating trusted third parties, so we need a blockchain that provides security. yes, it is indeed self-compositive, but this is procésele the reason why we are empowering people to reach agreements, to negotiate and deal. In other words, we are looking to go from an adversarial model to a consensual model: we go from disensus to consensus.
This is how allow people on the web, in this ever more digital world, in an economy forever more digital, the money which is more digital every day. Since we spend most of our lifetime in the Internet, it makes sense to have any conflicts solved in a digital way free and efficient for all citizens. Because any solution which is not based in consensus cannot propose and be actually applied, and this is what our project looks for.
there are some other projects in this field: Kleros (founded in 2018) as a mode of decentralized justice based in International dispute resolutions, so it is not self-compositive: they create a sort of Dispute Resolution Court. And from the moment you have a Court of Tribunal. You already have third trusted parties who are participating in the resolutions… with a similar approach we can also find Court Project, an International Dispute Resolution court… The only project that is betting for a self-compositive model is ours. Globally this is what sets us apart globally.
An I can add that we are also planning to introduce Artificial Intelligence, and as far as I know in our field there are not projects betting on AI. We do, since DEIUS is an acronym for Decentralized Justice. The team working in this project and especially us founders, we come from the world of extra-judicial conflicts resolutions: we are negotiators, mediators and that is our professional experience and specialization wishing the legal world. We are aware of the work by a UK team working with AI in conflict resolution, and this type of AI is designed and trained for this specific purpose. So we are using this technology for one of our protocols. Another one of our protocols is designed to provide legal entities -like Universities, Professional Guilds…-the opportunity to take part in our model, because we created and oracle, a large data base to support us: e a university can bring some data we may need, a professional guild can provide some other data… This way we are offering to the legal world the chance to connect with us and to any professional from the legal world or the conflicts resolution world to get an update and work in our platform. Finally, we have created a third protocol based in a fast process, short but tipically ODR coming directly from the blockchain and to work off-chain remotely with both parties of any conflict with professional specialists in negotiation and/or mediation.
This way we have three consensus protocols. And when consensus is reached it gets time-stamped via cryptographic signatures, such cryptographic signatures then connect with the emitting algorithm so that the agreement gets time immutably stamped in an token NFT.
G. I wonder if you are aware of the problems we authors have to face on the web, especially in the most common platforms. Specifically at the time of studying, researching, working in creative projects, uploading videos… all our work is challenged by many kind of problems where we are never given the chance to reach any kind of agreement. Platforms are in absolute control and the only possibility to protest would be in court, a way that most artists cannot afford in economical terms and also for the time it requires. This is why I really appreciate what you are building and I want to introduce the book you have written with your partner Julio de la Torre. It was meant to explain your project and it’s on sale at Amazon, in thjs link.
On the back-cover we can read: “The goal of this book is to explain what is and how we are designing DEIUS , what are its advantages and its challenges, and how it will contribute to a fairer society, more peaceful and collaborative. […] We need models and creative new ways , fast and flexible, to help citizens solve all those problems that digital life can pose. We know the technology, we work in the legal work and our field of specialty is conflicts resolution…”
The book is in Spanish and to help spread the word about it, here are a few links for anyone interested:
G. It is worth knowing more about the new Internet of Value, the different uses of Bitcoin, and all the interesting projects under development for an Internet which can better respect our rights.
Thank you, Tomás, for this interview, and also for your contribution to the construction of a new technological era, fairer and more respectful for human beings.
In case you are considering participating in this new Internet and start enjoying a new independence with your money in the web, with the security of Bitcoin, the first step is to get a wallet. One of the easiest to manage is Xverse.