LikeCoin 3.0 Green Paper. Introduction

If we consider the creation of the LIKE ERC-20 token on Ethereum on February 8, 2018 as LikeCoin 1.0, then the launch of our own L1 blockchain with the genesis block mined on November 15, 2019 marks the arrival of LikeCoin 2.0. Since then, there have been earth-shaking changes in the LikeCoin ecosystem, the blockchain industry, our home base Hong Kong, and the entire world. As we enter the seventh year, it’s time to discuss the next steps for our community, which I call LikeCoin 3.0.

To keep pace with the times, LikeCoin must not only innovate technically but also coordinate with DApps, adapt to changes in peripheral tools, adjust the token economy, maintain governance continuity, safeguard stakeholders’ interests, help users adapt, and plan for migration. In the next few articles, I will express my views on various aspects, stimulating discussion within the community to seek consensus and gradually implement changes.

Before diving into specific recommendations, let’s first examine several key factors that have influenced LikeCoin’s trajectory amidst the technological and social developments of recent years.

LikeCoin Community

First and foremost is LikeCoin itself. Since the launch of “2.0” (I’ve never been a fan of this term, it always feels a bit awkward), LikeCoin, as a protocol, has begun to operate on the principles of liquid democracy. Any proposals related to token economics, protocol updates, community funding, etc., must first be discussed in the forum, then formally submitted as proposals. Once approved, they are executed directly on the blockchain. For proposals involving manual intervention, legitimacy is established through the approval of the proposal, authorizing individual stakeholders to execute them.

Over the past four and a half years, this liquid democracy mechanism has processed a total of 81 proposals. Among them, 73 received enough deposit to proceed to voting, with 68 being approved and 5 being rejected. Due to the large number of proposals, below are just a few representative examples to outline the contours of liquid democracy:

  • Proposal #4 on September 21, 2020: Opening up direct user voting, initiating the direct democratic part of the referendum mechanism. Approved, developers were authorized to implement it.
  • Proposal #7 on January 6, 2021: Adjusting the inflation rate dynamically between 7-20%. Approved, executed directly on the chain.
  • Proposal #25 on December 11, 2021: Utilizing community funds to distribute Fairdrop LIKE tokens to the Cosmos community according to a specific formula. Approved, funds were automatically disbursed on-chain, developers executed it.
  • Proposal #32 on January 27, 2022: Dissolving the community delegation committee. Rejected, not executed.
  • Proposal #52 on July 13, 2022: Updating the StarFerry version of the validator software to include NFT functionality. Approved, automatically executed on-chain, validators cooperated with the upgrade.
  • Proposal #62 on March 2, 2023: Paying outsourced workers with assets belonging to the community, managed by a multisig wallet. Approved, authorized the multisig wallet manager to sign payments.

On one hand, on-chain governance is advancing, while on the other, traditional governance is receding. I had hoped that after ten years, the LikeCoin project would be taken over by the community for decentralized governance. However, unforeseen societal deteriorations prompted me to accelerate the process significantly. On November 30, 2020, I resigned from the foundation and began the process of dissolving it. Finally, on December 10, 2021, LikeCoin Foundation Limited was officially dissolved, marking the transition to DAO governance.

Losing the status conferred by the system and the income provided by the position doesn’t mean I won’t be involved anymore. As I’ve said before, I’ve committed to this project for ten years, and that hasn’t changed. Besides being a founder, I’m also a stakeholder, reader and creator, using LikeCoin every day. However, given my unique position, I’ve been seeking an appropriate distance to continue contributing without overshadowing others or becoming an obstacle to the development of LikeCoin DAO. After much deliberation, I’ve decided to turn my myriad thoughts into the LikeCoin 3.0 Green Paper, offering concrete suggestions on how this decentralized publishing protocol should move forward.

It’s well-known that in the blockchain community, projects often publish white papers outlining their goals, designs and operating mechanisms, but green papers are rare. The practice of white papers and green papers comes from traditional governance. White papers are typically used by governments to announce policy outlines, while democratic governments often present initial proposals in green papers for discussion, gathering public opinions, adjusting them and finalizing them as white papers. For example, the Hong Kong British government released the Green Paper on Representative Government on July 18, 1984, followed by the White Paper on Representative Government on November 21, 1984, before implementing related policies in 1985.

Legitimacy is the foundation of governance. The reason I position my suggestions for LikeCoin as a green paper is fundamentally because the development of the community is determined by the DAO, and I’m not qualified to unilaterally publish a white paper to set directions. Green papers, on the other hand, are different. There’s no need for qualifications, and any stakeholder can express their views. It’s more of an obligation than a privilege. The so-called “LikeCoin 3.0 Green Paper” is merely an integration of a series of suggestions. Actual implementation doesn’t require packaged decisions but is better suited to be broken down into multiple proposals for individual review. Additionally, revisions can be made during the process. As long as there are ideas, the community can even propose entirely different counter-suggestions.

As a Civic Liker, I will do my utmost to propose development suggestions beneficial to LikeCoin. Ultimately, whether they are adopted and how they are implemented will be decided by the entire community.

Ethereum Infrastructure

Back on November 25, 2017, when LikeCoin was just getting started, I attended the Taipei Ethereum Meetup in Taiwan. Despite Vitalik and several core developers being there in person, and even amidst a bullish market, with Ether trading at around 400 dollars, there were fewer than a hundred people in attendance, and the cowork space in a basement on Changchun Road was more than enough to accommodate everyone. I remember Vitalik’s topic at the time was Ethereum 2.0, where he discussed technologies like sharding and Plasma, and it was anticipated that 2.0 would be launched shortly. I also naively believed it (and it was during this event that I met the author of Blocktrend, Astro Hsu, whom I had been following for a while. So, you could say I practically grew up reading Blocktrend).

As they say, changing the engine mid-flight is the hardest part. Ethereum 2.0 turned out to be much more complex than initially envisioned, undergoing numerous revisions in the process of implementation. The development time far exceeded estimates, with sharding still not implemented even today. However, with its active and robust community, Ethereum overcame many obstacles over 6 to 7 years, gradually realizing the vision of 2.0 through a series of upgrades. The most critical upgrades include:

  • December 1, 2020: The launch of the Beacon chain marked the beginning of Proof-of-Stake, with pioneers staking ETH to secure the Ethereum network.
  • August 5, 2021: The London upgrade, which reduced gas fees and began burning some of the ETH used for transactions (EIP-1559).
  • September 15, 2022: The Paris upgrade, a historic moment known as The Merge, officially transitioning into the Proof-of-Stake era.
  • April 12, 2023: The Shapella upgrade unlocked staked ETH, allowing nodes to claim rewards and exit the network.
  • March 13, 2024: The Dencun upgrade significantly lowered transaction costs on Layer 2 networks (EIP-4844).

Although ongoing upgrade work is still in progress, since the Dencun upgrade, the usability of the Ethereum mainnet along with the L2 ecosystem has become quite high, largely fulfilling the promise of low-cost, high-performance transactions. For most applications, infrastructure is no longer the bottleneck.

Furthermore, with the implementation of abstract accounts (ERC-4337), issues such as high barriers to entry for newcomers and poor user experiences that have plagued the entire industry are expected to be gradually resolved.

Creative Ecology

LikeCoin is a community token for creators and journalists, from its inception of turning likes into rewards, to content conservation since 2020, and then decentralized publishing since 2022. Although it continues to evolve, it has always maintained its original aspiration of focusing on the needs of creators.

Looking at the creative ecology, it’s clear that we just can’t forget our original aspiration. In LikeCoin’s birthplace, most citizen media have been forced to shut down, even the highest-selling newspapers have closed their doors, losing not only their future but also over two decades of content in a single night. Although the example comes from a single city, citizens around the world must be vigilant and guard against the trend of authoritarian censorship.

In terms of livelihood, with the popularity of subscription models, the income of a small number of creators has improved. However, subscription models not only exacerbate income disparities among creators but also trap content behind paywalls, preventing information from circulating. Coupled with increasingly authoritarian algorithms on platforms and readers’ dwindling attention spans, in this information age, public discourse faces its most daunting challenges.

In summary, compared to seven years ago when LikeCoin was founded, blockchain infrastructure has come a long way and is now entering a golden age, gradually realizing its initial vision. However, beyond technology, the problems facing creators have rarely been resolved and have even become more severe.

This is the context of LikeCoin 3.0.

P.S. I’ve been procrastinating on this simple short piece for months, not knowing where to start, delaying it for a whole two months. I hope that after taking the first step today, I can smoothly complete the remaining parts of the green paper.


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