The Trust Standard

Part of a collection of essays on TRUST by @futurepaul

In a shameless to attempt copy Saifedean Ammous’ tactic in The Fiat Standard, I’d like to try explain the “technology” of trust in terms a Bitcoiner might best understand.

Trust is a simple, one-sided protocol. That is to say, it doesn’t need both parties to agree that trust will be happening. Trust is an action, not a feeling. It’s simply this:

I will act as if you will do the thing you said you would do

Trust is typically “minted” automatically: when someone acts in a “trustworthy” manner repeatedly over time, we are more likely to trust them, or at least feel as if it is appropriate to trust them.

A trust “balance” is private, only exposed when someone acts in a trusting matter to someone else.

Trust is not in itself fungible or transferable like money, but it does have a bit of a “transitive” property at times, akin to Lightning channels: I trust you, you trust them, I’ll trust them.

A trust balance can be easily wiped out for any reason. A truster could detect a lie or betrayal from the person they’re trusting, or perhaps one large betrayal from someone else leads them to trust nobody.

I don’t know how these relate to Bitcoin, but here are more things:

Posted Sep 8, 2022