In the process of thinking and building Pocket Network I have been obsessed with learning about proper cryptoeconomic design.Reading through the recently announced Plasma white paper inspired this post. It has nuggets of cryptoeconomic definitions and analysis like this:
This assert/challenge construction allows one to assert a particular state is correct, and if the value is incorrect, then a dispute period exists where another observer can provide a proof challenging that assertion before a certain agreed time.
About a week ago I came across this talk by Vlad Zamfir -
I watched the video, and he mentioned literature in cryptoeconomic design. I was curious, and asked him about the kind of literature he was talking about:
Vitalik never answered back, but I started to compile a list of academic papers, books and blog posts that involve blockchain, cryptography, game theory and distributed systems research. This is really just scratching the surface - every academic paper has a wealth of references that lead to more academic papers.
I'm finding that reading the papers closely (It usually takes me a couple read-throughs to internalize) has been the most comprehensive way to learn this stuff. Here is the list of work that I believe can give you a decent base in at least thinking about cryptoeconomic design for your project (in no particular order):
Blogs (These are prolific writers - reading through everything will take many hours)
- Richard Gendal Brown
- Ethereum blog (Mostly Vitalik, start from the beginning)
- Nick Szabo
- Vitalik's blog
- Werner Vogels
Distributed Systems Papers
- The Seven Deadly Sins of Distributed Systems
- Theory and Practice in Large Distributed Systems
- Dynamo: Amazon’s Highly Available Key-value Store
- Paxos Made Live - An Engineering Perspective
- Spanner: Google’s Globally-Distributed Database
- Bigtable: A Distributed Storage System for Structured Data
- The Google File System
It's a lot. It would take many years of study and practical application to reach any kind of real proficiency in this field. Since we're standing on the shoulders of giants we can design novel cryptoeconomic experiments on Ethereum at a small scale, iterate and learn from our own and others mistakes.
I wrote this as a resource for everyone. If you think I should add anything you can find me on twitter or email@example.com.