Machu Picchu “White Paper”
(version of February 2022) This document is a kind of White Paper that presents the vision of Machu Picchu. See here a more complete White paper of January 2023, with a bonus companion blockchain coding tutorial.
It collects contents from several presentations made since the project became public in October 2020. The structure is:
- What are the pains that Machu Picchu addresses?
- What is the solution proposed?
- What is the business model of Machu Picchu?
- How is Machu Picchu organised in components and their status in February 2022?
- What is the roadmap and composition of the team?
See here an improved version written one year later, January 2023, with a companion blockchain coding tutorial.
What are the pains that Machu Picchu addresses?
The current world population is 7.9 billion as of February 2022 according to the most recent United Nations estimates elaborated by Worldometer. Also from the UN statistics, the extreme poverty rate is 9.5% in 2020, which means 750 million persons living on less than $1.90 per day (https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/report/2021/goal-01/).
Many helper organisations exist and are doing a wonderful job, but they are all hampered by the 2 following pains:
- Lack of reliable data about the target population: data are proprietary, centralised, organised in silos and mostly inaccurate (https://www.hivenetwork.online/blockchain-for-good/)
- Excessive financial and prudential costs overhead: regulations focus more on anti-money laundering & combating the financing of terrorism than on facilitating assistance to the poor. By consequence the financial overhead cost is very high.
What is the solution?
The current technologies allow affordable networking, affordable computing and affordable storage. This is bringing progressively the society to decentralised solutions, using cryptography to secure, right at creation, the ownership and the integrity of the data.
For the reader who wants to know more about the data transparency and security properties of the blockchain technologies, here is a 2-page introduction by the European Commission: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/ATAG/2018/624254/EPRS_ATA(2018)624254_EN.pdf.
The solution proposed by Machu Picchu is as follows:
Machu Picchu is a decentralised and trusted social network, where the persons-in-need post their profiles, their activities, their needs, while keeping ownership of their data. The mission of Machu Picchu is that all services to the persons-in-need can use this trusted social network to provide assistance to the persons-in-need via decentralised protocols and smart contracts.
- The persons-in-need post and maintain their data using SMS on a simple cellular phone, in conjunction with a “sponsor person” who has a smartphone and a tablet and can access the blockchain. The data is secured by use of multi-signature involving the cryptographic keys of the person-in-need and of the sponsor person. This sponsor person can be their chief of village, their trusted NGO field staff, or any trusted person who has a smartphone or a tablet that can do blockchain transactions.
- The credentials of the person (name, signature, location, owned money etc.) are stored on the blockchain. The data are stored on IPFS (a decentralised storage that is backed-up on several “nodes”). The cryptographic digests (the “hash”) of the data are stored on the blockchain, as well as a list of entities allowed to read the data. This keeps the data under ownership of the person-in-need and complies with the GDPR data protection regulation.
- Any assistance organisation can agree with a person-in-need and the sponsor person to have read access to the data of this person-in-need against a promise of payment of some Cash & Voucher assistance. This promise is materialised as a blockchain token. The higher the quality (accuracy, age of data, match with the purpose) the higher the promised payment. This rewards the person-in-need and the sponsor person to maintain the data up to date and timely.
- In addition to the assistance purpose, among many others, one can consider financial services such as
- * fidelity rewards from agri-food international companies. Nestlé, Lipton, Mars and Pepsi do this to motivate their providers to follow their recommended culture practices;
- * fidelity rewards from international input providers (seeds, fertilisers, pesticides etc.);
- * incentives from governmental agencies: child education, gender equality, health practices, carbon practices etc.;
- * mutual protection against crop loss or international price variations (this is NOT insurance, but a self-help community);
- * informal credit rating data.
- The promises of payment are materialised as blockchain tokens to secure their ownership and usage. Therefore, the reporting to donors of the use of the funds is immediate, using many existing “blockchain explorers”.
- These tokens can be redeemed at the NGOs as cash, as mobile money, or as digital currency once the country has deployed CBDC (Central bank Digital Currency). They can also be exchanged at a DEX (decentralised exchange) against reputable NGO tokens that the local bank can accept.
Important points such quality of the data, reputation of the sponsor persons and of the village, incentive to operate a data storage node, values of the tokens etc. have technical solutions that have been implemented as commercial blockchain protocols such as Ocean Protocol (data quality), Filecoin (storage incentive) etc. They are not explained further in this White Paper.
What is the business model of Machu Picchu?
Machu Picchu has a B2B2C business model. It offers services to all organisations that are in direct contact with the persons-in-need world-wide. By adhering to the Machu Picchu community, these organisations have access to quality data to accomplish their missions.
We can compare Machu Picchu with the USA highway Route 66. It is a public service. It has given birth around it to a successful economy composed of hotels, restaurants, garages, industries, doctors, etc. in all cities along this Route 66. Nobody owns Route 66; nobody owns Machu Picchu either. With Machu Picchu, “ data is a public service”.
Machu Picchu’s business model is composed of:
- a community of operations composed of all organisations providing services to the persons-in-need,
- a community of software developers for good, that is open source and collaborative (as cooperative as Linux, Wikipedia, Open Street Map etc.),
- a commercial company that provides specific training, consultancy, and development services to the operations community.
Software-wise, Machu Picchu is a LEGO box of software components. Each organisation picks what suits best their field needs and develop the complements. They are strongly advised (but not obliged) to share in open source their developments. It’s the MIT standard license.
Any developer may contribute to the software building blocks when possible, and whatever they feel useful to Machu Picchu.
There is no strictly mandatory architecture because the field needs are very diverse and the possibilities of collaborative innovation are vast.
If an organisation has a precise need and can finance the development of the solution, Machu Picchu can generate a sub-project with a different name and manage this development is a more “business-like” manner. It becomes a consultancy sub-project.
Where is Machu Picchu in February 2022?
In February 2022, only the community of software developers exists. These developers gather for a hackathon with the promise of winning eventually a prize. Together they implement a Proof of Concept (PoC) of one specific function in Machu Picchu and leave when the hackathon is done, while staying in touch. One permanent developer is the author of this White Paper. The following PoC’s have been implemented, in February 2022:
- the PoC to create and read on the blockchain the data of a person-in-need (project Pepito),
- the PoC to store on an IPFS node the data, but this is not integrated with the above,
- the PoC of a low cost IPFS node, on Raspberry Pi,
- the PoC to monitor crop vegetation status by satellite at a low (zero) cost, deployed as beta on PlayStore and on AppStore.
- the PoC to combine the use of SMS and desktop app to do multi-signature writing on the blockchain.
There is still a lot of work remaining to make the first field prototype, satisfying real needs.
What is Machu Picchu roadmap and team?
Because Machu Picchu integrates many existing and proven technologies, but remotely linked, it is necessary to make distinct PoCs, keeping in mind their use in the final Machu Picchu system.
Because Machu Picchu has no funding at this moment, each PoC is done in a hackathon, where it is possible to find contributors who are interesting in competing to win a prize. The others are done on a volunteering basis, when possible. Machu Picchu has won several prizes in the 2 world-size blockchain hackathons it participated until now.
The plan is to make a field prototype as soon as Machu Picchu interests one helper organisation with a significant number of persons-in-need to assist and with funding to develop, deploy and operate. Then we can build a project team from the developers of past hackathons. They know Machu Picchu. We’ll keep metrics of the development, of the deployment and of the lessons learned in field operations.
Miscellaneous: why the name Machu Picchu?
Machu Picchu was a 15th century citadel of the Inca empire.
Remember how centralised was the Inca empire? — it was very centralised
Remember what happened to it? — it was conquered by only 168 men, 27 horses and one cannon.
Our Machu Picchu of the 21st century is the exact opposite. It lets the people take care of themselves, in community. Join Machu Picchu.