ties.network is a business platform with an integrated public noSql database (TIES DB) designed to find partners, establish professional relationships and transact secure business deals.
ties.network is a business platform with an integrated public noSql database (TIES DB) designed to find partners, establish professional relationships and transact secure business deals.
Modern technologies allow us to rediscover the issues of decentralization and freedom for millions of people. The surge of interest in cryptocurrencies and decentralized economy is a direct proof of people's disappointment in the classical system of commodity-money relations and professional networking, and their attempt to escape into the counter-economy. This document presents the Ties.Network project - a new “LinkedIn” for crypto-community, a distributed business platform that allows traders, investors, developers, consultants and enthusiasts to find business partners, offer their services, close deals based on smart contracts, hire staff, advertise their own services in a comfortable and secure environment, and also finance projects (individually or as a part of a particular community). The platform allows you to get maximum exposure to the crypto-community through a system of ratings and reviews. It also allows you to act anonymously while keeping transactions with other community members safe. Ties.Network satisfies the need of crypto-community to connect and the need to secure P2P business transactions in a new counter-economy. Today the community is fragmented and connections are fragile for two reasons. It’s still a new market (though it’s growing rapidly), and because it is so new, it is hard to find professionals one can immediately trust and strike a deal with. Ties.Network aims at resolving the issue of trust for crypto-community on a fundamental level by giving people opportunities to find each other and do business in a new, yet safe environment in accordance with the principles of decentralized economy. The platform utilizes a system of ‘geniune rating’, which means only those, who actually did business with a user have a right to rate them as professionals - thus basing their reviews on real successful business transactions, and not assumptions or marketing information. This means that reviews can not be fake, and that the platform will become a credible, solid source of information about viable blockchain-related projects globally, decentralized technologies, real due diligence reports on upcoming token generation events, and will give voice to real blockchain experts who have a track record of successful deals. Using Ties.Network people can connect and strike business deals via smart-contracts, launch projects, promote their businesses, find projects to invest in, and groups to join. Additionally, such platform would help in recruiting collaborators, posting jobs as well as CVs with all parties profiting from these features. Currently, there is no platform providing this array of services. It is time to introduce a large scale public network based on blockchain technology that would include a decentralized ledger for business and social networking purposes. This will allow the crypto-community to have access to a single, universal and public platform that allows cooperation and gives opportunities to discuss and strike business deals in the same environment.
As a business tool Ties.Network is a decentralized social platform where business professionals can connect and strike business deals via smart-contracts in no time. The platform uses a trustworthy rating system, thus making sure all participants can focus solely on business and benefits of beneficial relationships, and leave the verification and trust issues to the platform’s integrated solutions. As an IT product, Ties.Network is based on TiesDB – a public, decentralized, and distributed noSQL database that allows to store huge amounts of dynamic data, and search within the content of the files. TiesDB is a public, open-source solution that can be utilized by other dApps and decentralized blockchain-related projects to facilitate their entering the market and structure large amounts of data. Ties.Network is the analogy of LinkedIn for the crypto-community. It is a decentralized platform for traders, investors, developers, consultants and enthusiasts that allows to find and hire partners, employees and volunteers, sell their products or services, secure business deals via smart contracts, promote themselves, and finance their projects, among other items. People can work individually or as teams to accomplish their objectives. Free rating and reviews (“crowdsourcing”) give each participant maximum PR opportunities, while also giving them the option of anonymity. In all cases, all transactions are 100% safe and secure. At registration, each user receives a default rating based on objective observations of user activity in the crypto-community and based on provided documents. The community will modify this rating based on the review of the deals that have already been processed on the platform though impartial and decentralized voting.
Ties.Network (see chapter 3) integration of smart contracts into a business platform lets its users do the following:
Trade goods and services
Hire and recruit specialists
Participate in token generation events and blockchain projects
Receive feedback for startups or token generation events
Promote token generation events and network with startups
For the last few years the blockchain community has been rapidly growing. Today blockchain not only gives people the opportunity to make safe financial transactions, but also provides a broad range of other services. Smart contracts have become a big breakthrough in this field. Smart contract is a program that is executed in the blockchain core allowing flexible custom processing of each transaction. Smart contracts in Ethereum  are Turing-complete and allow programming algorithms of any complexity.
That is why Ethereum has created a new market of decentralized applications – applications that are running directly on the blockchain inheriting its distribution, decentralization and security as well. However, this market growth is restrained by the absence of an appropriate data storage. Serious applications require large and fast data storage and should be able to perform complex search within the files. We faced it ourselves while designing the architecture of Ties.Network.
There are some implementations of decentralized data storages such as IPFS (4.9.3), cloud file storages (4.9.4) or special blockchains (4.9.6). But all of them have significant disadvantage - they do not allow complex search within the stored data. There are also distributed databases (4.9.5), and they have all the required features except the main one - Byzantine Proof Tolerance (4.9.1). So they can not be used in public untrusted environment.
The Byzantine problem is an experiment meant to illustrate the pitfalls and design challenges of attempting to coordinate an action by communicating over an unreliable link, where failures of communication are possible. With that in mind, Ties.Network programmers developed a resilient public decentralized noSql database, TiesDB, that can be built in any blockchain with smart contracts; it supports replication, sharding, secondary indexes, full-text search and allows users to modify and delete data. The database is public in the sense that anyone can establish a TiesDB node and participate in the network processing user transactions and earn money from this. Equally, anyone can use it for storing data.
At the same time, TiesDB maintains the same powerful processing system and speed that you find in private (intra-corporate) noSql databases. Since TiesDB can be made compatible with any blockchain that supports Turing-complete smart contracts, members can use it to perform transactions on any platform. Learn more here (chapter 4.4).
2.1 Business contracts
Ties.Network can be used to make the following business contracts (inside or outside of the crypto-community): Outsourcing jobs (e.g., programming, white paper submission, translation, design, advisorship etc.), where terms and conditions are regulated by smart contract automation. Engaging in freelancing, temporary or contract work, where smart contracts regulate project terms and details. Obtaining feedback from experts on the platform.
2.1.1 Making connections
The user uses keywords to find profiles of potential employers or business connections.
Both parties discuss and negotiate the deal.
The user finalizes the deal by depositing the agreed-upon number of tokens in the smart contract wallet, which acts as guarantor of the deal. If either party reneges, tokens are returned. After the service or trade has been performed, the smart contract wallet deposits the tokens to the recipient (or client) as contracted.
System moderators act as per-diem arbitrators and use the contract terms to settle disputes, when and if necessary.
Moderators (chapter 5) are rewarded by the company since they need a financial incentive to regulate the blockchain ledger and supervise its dealings.
The profile serves as a single entry point for the user to the community. Registration denotes agreement with community rules and is completed by opening a wallet that contains TIE currency (Ties.Network platform tokens) (chapter 6). The keys to the wallet are attached to user’s profile. There is an option to use/restore the wallet from multiple devices. When filling out the profile, the user allocates the degree of anonymity that he or she wants. Even if the user selects total anonymity, platform mediators can still investigate and regulate user conduct (through geography, personal data, photos containing personal information, stylistics, spelling and punctuation of texts, etc.) to maintain platform trust. Further, the platform gives a user a crowd-sourced rating, implements a review system and allows advertisers to place and manage ads.
188.8.131.52 Your profile
Your profile is a page that describes your career history, education, and other related content that you may want to publish.
The user information includes:
Name and surname
Date of birth
Current occupation or position
A professional headshot
Skills and experiences
Keywords to be included in the search
A rating and review form (which can be filled out by other users based on previous business transactions), as well as advertising form for their goods and services.
Chat – This refers to communication between the users in real-time. All messaging history in the chats is stored client-side (mobile/desktop) and encrypted using an end-to-end protocol. The content of the chats (photos, videos, files) is also encrypted and stored in the same manner.
This refers to an agreement that two or more parties enter for their mutual benefit onTies.Network. In our case, a “deal” denotes the economic exchange of TIE tokens for some products, goods, services or currencies of any form. It also implies investing in startups, projects and participating in token generation events.
A list of goods sent or services provided, with a statement of the sum due for these. In reference to Ties.Network:
A user named A contracts a deal with party B to complete a job or a service. B then presents A with a form that proves the job/service was completed and requests payment.
A accepts the invoice and pays B with TIE currency.
184.108.40.206 Escrow and disputes
Payment is transferred to a smart contract escrow, which is only released when the results of the transaction are accepted by all parties involved. When and only if necessary, Ties.Network arbitrators would intervene to resolve disputes (for further information see further “Self-organization and motivation”).
220.127.116.11 Cryptocurrency and fiat currency exchange for TIE tokens
The essence of the platform indicates trade and exchange, give and take, and purchase and sale with TIE tokens. The platform will allow P2P exchange of TIE token to other currencies and fiat money.
3.1.3 Search results
Users can search profiles of wanted employers, services, organizations, individuals, and the like. The search results are presented as a list with filters (e.g., individuals, projects, connections, ratings).
A project on Ties.Network is an instrument for users’ collaboration within a certain industry allowing users to discuss/share their ideas, make P2P financial transactions between the project team members and collect finance from other users of the platform.
18.104.22.168 Basic attributes of a project:
The existence of a project owner (public or anonymous).
The existence of a project moderator (role within the project).
The existence of multiple signature owners of the project wallet.
The existence of a solid idea and a project description.
Possibility of creating a short name for the project to promote it outside the network.
Possibility of creating public and private projects.
Possibility of creating temporary or permanent projects.
Possibility of publishing project materials (photos, videos, documents, text, comments).
Possibility of discussing project materials.
Possibility of shutting down the project.
Possibility of adding new people to the project and creating a channel for entry.
Instruments of collaborative financing of the project (fund raising in the project’s wallet).
Possibility of creating derivatives for funding different parts of the project.
3.2 Work process example
Access to the platform is provided via a mobile client (Android, iOS, Windows Phone) as well as desktop versions of the platform for all main operating systems (Windows, MacOS, Linux). The registration process involves setting-up a wallet (personal or public with signatures) and an account (with or without personal data).
The user chooses a certain industry/field and either creates a project or joins an existing one for discussion, participation or investment purposes.
The platform helps find contacts or clients, conduct deals and issue invoices.
Users buy TIE (the token used for deals and invoices) through a simplified registration process.
TIE wallets are available for instant P2P transactions using Internet payments or for paying in person (using NFC or QR codes).
TIE can be traded for either fiat currency or other cryptocurrencies on the platform’s exchange or an outside exchange.
Ties.Network platform does not take a commission from money received from goods or services, nor does it take a share of any project. Instead, Ties.Network imposes taxes and commissions on services to repay moderators and maintain its service.
3.3.1 Platform revenue sources
Ties.Network gains its revenue from the following proceeds:
Advertising (self-advertising by the platform users)
Each of these proceeds will be used to pay moderators and ensure optimum platform efficacy (for further information see “self-organization and motivation”). 3.3.2 Revenue sources for nodes
Ties DB gains its revenue from the following sources:
Storing content on the node server
Retrieving content from the node server
When the user places the content in the database on the node server, he or she pays the node's service fee for storing and processing content. The system does not only motivate node owners to utilize the process, but also prevents attackers from littering the database. Later the platform refunds user expenses in case users show no signs of malicious activity and there is no collusion between the participant and the node (for further information see further “Self-organization and motivation”). User costs for storage as well as for content retrieval come from the platform budget.
4.1 Architecture features
Ties.Network, as a platform suitable for striking business deals, conforms to the following requirements:
Decentralization. The Ties.Network platform represents a decentralized network of servers (nodes). Client applications connect to nodes within the network. At the heart of each TiNode is the blockchain that fosters decentralization. At the moment, various blockchain versions can be used for Ties.Network. Ethereum  will be used for the initial stage but we can transfer to another blockchain with smart contracts, for example, RChain , if necessary, to meet network growth and other requirements such as scaling and speed, if Ethereum cannot address scalability issues.
Stability. The platform is resistant to malicious activity of the participants (stability to Sybil attacks, the Byzantine Generals Problem, etc.). Blockchain intrinsically resists the malicious behavior of individual network members. However, if there is something else besides the blockchain in the system, additional efforts are required to ensure sustainability. We will return to this issue when we consider data storage (chapter 4.4).
Anonymity of individual servers and users, as well as privacy of communications between servers and users. Traditionally, IP masking and traffic encryption methods such as TOR  or I2P  have been used to provide anonymity and privacy for both platform clients and individual nodes by hiding their IP address. However, these methods are too slow and server-synchronized data require far more powerful speed processing. To resolve the issue, we use a Hyperboria mesh network  that uses the cjdns protocol .
Storage of data. The ability to store data and conduct a search through a large amount of structured data.
Scalability. The capability of the platform to handle a growing amount of work in order to accommodate member growth.
Open-source. All platform components have open-source code and are published with an open license.
Publicity. Anyone can join the network support system by installing the open software of the system.
Profitability. Users can profit from the platform.
Speed. The platform includes fast processing to achieve real-time computation and overcome the lag caused by current cloud-based models.
Expansion possibilities. The platform supports third-party applications (dapps) and provides a new model for building successful and massively scalable applications.
5.1 Platform revenue sources
Profits come from the following sources:
Income for nodes comes from the following:
Placing content on the node server Retrieving content from the node server
Users must pay for storing their data on the database servers. That allows the network to sustain itself by making its support profitable. It also prevents flooding the network with garbage or malicious data. But such a model of networking is not very popular at the moment. For example, Jim (hypothetical person) signs up on Ties.Network. Before he can do anything, he needs to place a deposit on a smart contract "chequebook." That is his paid registration. For ordinary social networks, where users just have fun, such a step would have meant the end of our network - why pay for something you can get free somewhere else? Since Ties.Network is different in that it earns you money, we feel justified in asking for an initial payment and commissions down the line to help us continue offering you this service. Unlike centralized competitors who get their revenues from advertising or from using freemium models, Ties.Network belongs to the community, so its revenues must be spent on developing and maintaining it. One of the ways that revenues will be used will be for paying moderators and for platform maintenance. Thus, the profit of the project will be distributed to pay for key individuals who support the project. These are: Content moderator (who has the authority to delete content and ban users).
“Super-moderator” (who investigates collusion between nodes and participants, manages the budget, and rejects, or fires, participants). Moderators (who arbitrate disputes).
Technical positions that include Developers (who develop software for Ties.Network).
Ordinary users (covering fair user expenses)
The platform will cover the users’ expenses of their fair use of the platform making it eventually free to use. Fairness of platform use will be observed by budget Super-moderators.
5.2 Platform roles
Content moderator (individuals given special authority to enforce the rules on the platform and to regulate, delete, or ban content) Budget defense super-moderator (this moderator investigates collusion between nodes and users, banning nodes and users if necessary) Judges (settling disputes between users) Ordinary users
Developer (develops software for Ties.Network)
5.3 Referral system
We propose a referral system to motivate individuals to join Ties.Network and affiliate initial investment. An already registered member of the network invites another participant through an alternative channel, giving them a special invitation code. A new participant enters with this code, while a part of the money from the inviter is immediately transferred to the deposit, that is, a new user can start using the system immediately, without any initial investment. At the end of the reporting period, the cost of invitations and payment for data storage can be offset from the profit of the project. For this system to work, the budget is managed by the budget defence super-moderators who must only use coins set aside for this purpose.
6. TIE tokens
TIE tokens are the digital currency used by members on the Ties.Network platform.
6.1 Operations with TIE tokens
Purchase and sale of tokens is conducted via the internal platform exchange or via an outside exchange which lists TIE tokens.
At registration the user sends a participation fee to the system, which is then refunded out of the platform budget.
All deals transacted over the platform are paid for with TIE tokens (which can be converted into other cryptocurrencies (e.g., BTC, ETH, or Ripple) and into fiat currency).
This paper reviewed the proposal of Ties.Network, a platform for business and social networking transactions. The platform is a publicly distributed system of self-motivated servers that serve a common purpose. The paper also outlines the architecture and key interfaces of TiesDB. These include: that it is a public distributed noSql database with powerful processing speed, that it supports a secondary index and full-text search capacity, and that it can be used in conjunction with any blockchain that supports smart contracts.
Leslie Lamport, Robert Shostak, and Marshall Pease. The Byzantine Generals Problem. ACM Transactions on Programming Languages and
Systems (TOPLAS), 4(3):382–401, July 1982. http: //research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/people/lamport/pubs/byz.pdf.
https://docs.bigchaindb.com/en/latest/bft.html и https://github.com/bigchaindb/bigchaindb/issues/293
viktor trón et al. “Swap, swear and swindle incentive system for swarm”, http://swarm-gateways.net/bzz:/theswarm.eth/ethersphere/orange-papers/1/sw%5E3.pdf http://www.elassandra.io/