Global vs local trust networks

Many moons ago, I made a comment in the Open App Ecosystem Loomio about the difference between global and local trust networks and why I’m most interested in local trust networks. This conversation keeps coming up, so I want to refine what I mean and elaborate further.

Trust networks§

Systems that organize agents (people, groups, or bots) into interacting together create trust networks.


In global trust networks like Bitcoin, Ethereum, or MaidSafe, the intent is to only have to trust cryptography and the algorithms that run the network. This lack of inter-agent trust comes at a cost, which is usually duplication of work. For Bitcoin this cost is large amounts of duplicate CPU work in Proof-of-Work cycles, or in MaidSafe this cost is large amounts of duplicate data.


In local trust networks, we hope to centralize the system on our identities, both us as a person and us as a member of groups. Between these identities, we hope to create trust relationships. These trust relationships form the topology of the network, so if we are sharing resources (CPU, data, food, shelter, …), we can share directly instead of through a global network. This does mean though that we have to trust cryptography, the algorithms, and the identities we have trust relationships with.


Further reading:§