over at stating the obvious there’s been an interesting discussion regarding market-based approaches to p2p networks:

“Adar and Huberman argue that the anonymous nature of Gnutella is a key
factor in its apparent demise. “In order for distributed systems with no central
monitoring to succeed,” they conclude, “a large amount of voluntary
cooperation is required, a requirement that is very hard to fulfill in systems
with large user populations that remain anonymous.”

While Gnutella may indeed be suffering from a tragedy of the commons, I don’t
believe that removing anonymity would make much of a difference. Leaving
aside the obvious legal implications of adding user identities to the Gnutella
network (wouldn’t the RIAA just love that), it’s not the ideal architectural
solution to the Gnutella problem. Even if there weren’t legal repercussions to
logging on as Michael Sippey and sharing that bootleg copy of Kid A that I
happened to get my hands on, I’d still just log on, point my Gnutella client to
an empty directory on my hard drive, and search away. After all, the incentive
of people knowing that they swiped Kid A from me isn’t enough to encourage
me to share. And conversely, the disincentive of people knowing that I’m
searching without sharing isn’t enough to encourage me to point my Gnutella
client to a richer directory.

A more appropriate solution to the Gnutella problem would be a market-based
approach, where the content itself is used as currency.”

and not too long after the above discussion salon has a piece on the ‘mojo’ in mojo nation:

“Home-brewed currency, or “Mojo,” lies at the core of this new
world. Users cannot simply take and give as they do with
Napster and every other file-sharing service. Rather, those who
download the free, open-source new release in November
must use Mojo to buy and sell content for prices that they
themselves determine.

This is how it works: Download a free Mojo Nation “agent”
and set it loose. The 2,000 users who are testing the beta
version earn 1 million Mojo just for signing up, but new
members can earn currency only by sharing what they already
have — unused computer power on their desktop. Mojo
Nation will pay users Mojo for letting the network “rent” their
computer’s disk space, processing power or whatever else the
system needs. The prices change according to the rules of
supply and demand: The more people want of what you’ve got,
the more you can expect to earn. ”

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