The literal marketplace of ideas
Ideamarket replaces the "arbiter of credibility" function (typically played by media corporations) with a public market.

Table of contents:

  1. 1.
    Problem: Media corporations are central banks of narrative
  2. 2.
    Solution: Ideological risk management
  3. 3.
    How Ideamarket works (3 steps)
  4. 4.
    Making credibility expensive + other effects
  5. 5.
    Epistemology for the future
  6. 6.
    Prominent weirdos agree
  7. 7.
    Common objections
  8. 8.
  9. 9.
    Full Docs

1. Problem: Media corporations are central banks of narrative

In the same way that fiat currencies are valuable only because governments say they are, fiat narratives are true only because media corporations say they are.
If Bitcoin is money without banks, Ideamarket is credibility without corporations.

2. Solution: Ideological risk management

Pascal’s Wager popularized the metaphor of beliefs-as-bets. Pascal argues people should believe in God because, as a bet, it's high-reward and low-risk — and to disbelieve is a high-risk, low-reward bet.
All beliefs work this way — no matter what we believe, we expect to be rewarded more for betting on that belief than we would for betting on an alternative.
But there's a twist: Research on numeracy, cult behavior, science denial, and scientific suppression shows we're most attuned to risks/rewards involving social status and sense of identity — not the satisfaction of genuine understanding, or the consequences of being mistaken.
This is natural, but it makes humans lousy belief-investors. We do not manage “ideological risk” well.
Rationality is risk management; nothing more. — Nassim Nicholas Taleb
To achieve collective “rationality," we need a mechanism for ideological risk management — an idea market that rewards people for popularizing ideas that "outcompete" alternatives and withstand the scrutiny of due diligence (and of history).
Introducing financial markets to “belief betting” alters the risk management landscape for our decision-making about beliefs. They shift our priorities away from social status and tribal affiliation, and toward the common goal of profit.
Not only do markets accurately reflect how beliefs work (making a bet), they non-coercively reward better thinking and punish worse thinking — regardless of status or tribe.
A few metaphors to consider:
  • An intellectual gold mine — Ideamarket allows users to profit by identifying and popularizing under-appreciated information (you might call this venture philosophy). Since anyone can participate, an “intellectual gold rush” will occur, as millions of people comb the internet to find obscure genius and usher it into the spotlight.
  • A scientific and cultural revolution engine — Ideamarket crowdsources a continuous renewal of our fundamental assumptions about the world, enabling an environment of perpetual scientific and cultural revolution. William Gibson wrote, “The future is here; it just isn’t evenly distributed yet.” Ideamarket is a future-distribution protocol.
  • Humanity’s memetic immune system — By making it profitable to identify under-appreciated information, Ideamarket in turn makes it expensive to promote information that can’t withstand the scrutiny of due diligence. Propagandists will need to continually spend money to maintain an appearance of credibility, while competing with the purchasing power of entire populations.

3. How Ideamarket Works

3.1 Buy account tokens to vote on the attention-worthiness of that account, and sell to revoke your vote. Buying votes says "I think others will want to see this," just like a reddit upvote.
The first 1,000 tokens for each listing cost $0.10 each. Token price automatically increases by $0.01 for each 100 tokens bought afterward, managed by a bonding curve algorithm.
You can list anyone's account (even @elonmusk) as long as it's not already listed. If you add an account owned by someone else, interest will accrue to their wallet after a purchase, and they can claim it anytime.
3.2. Money spent on account tokens is held in, a decentralized lending protocol. Compound lends these deposits to borrowers, who pay interest on these loans (usually 1-10% annually).
3.3. All interest generated by account token deposits is paid to the owner of the associated account. [Q4 2021: Interest generation is currently paused, given money markets for DAI are not yet available on Arbitrum.]

4.1 Credibility without corporations

Ideamarket creates a new voice for the public, and a new expense for propagandists.
This makes credibility prohibitively expensive to fake.
Genuinely high-interest URLs crowdsource a high rank "for free," as their audience buys tokens out of financial self-interest and sincere belief. Propagandists must pay out-of-pocket for a high rank, while competing against the buying power of entire populations.
Over time, market cycles shake out both deceivers, and the deceived.

4.2 Capture the value of obscure genius

Ideamarket rewards the public for discovering and popularizing the world’s best knowledge.

4.3 Make fake news expensive

By measuring credibility in dollars, Ideamarket makes fake news prohibitively expensive to spread. Perpetrators must now purchase an Ideamarket rank commensurate with that of the crowdfunded listings they wish to mimic.
The cost to fake "minimum viable credibility" will increase in proportion to Ideamarket's maturity.
Our free browser extension will display Ideamarket data across the internet, relieving social media companies of the impossible burden of making epistemic judgments on the public's behalf.

5. Epistemology for the future

Ideamarket shifts public epistemology from the “facts model” to a “risk management” model.
The false certainty created by the notion of "facts" obstructs consensus, leading to tyranny and other forms of social conflict. (Read a full exploration of the failures of fact-based epistemology by Ideamarket founder Mike Elias on Ribbonfarm.)
By contrast, the risk management model acknowledges uncertainty as fundamental — much like the original spirit of scientific inquiry. The risk management model also encourages personal due diligence, openness to possibilities, and rapid iteration.
Ideamarket replaces the public pursuit of “authoritative information” with a public pursuit of “valuable information."
For more on our philosophy, see the Philosophy sections of these docs in the left panel.

6. Prominent weirdos agree

7. Common objections

"Doesn't this mean only rich people can influence public opinion?”

That sounds like today's situation. But today, the connection between money and public influence is hidden, and available exclusively to those with access. Ideamarket makes the connection between money and public influence explicit, and gives the public the same tools for “financial speech” as the elites. This is a significant net gain over the current system.

"Isn't this just a popularity contest?"

Ideamarket is only a popularity contest to the extent that there aren't terrible consequences for being mistaken. Given there often are terrible consequences for being mistaken, people are often forced to distinguish between popularity and credibility.

8. Endgame

The goal is not to make lying and falsehood impossible — it's to make integrity and honesty the only profitable path for influencers of public opinion.

9. Full Docs

To see the User Tutorial, FAQs, smart contract audit reports, philosophy details and more, open the table of contents in the left panel.
Some favorites:
The Docs table of contents looks like this on mobile:
Last modified 12d ago