Philosophy / Motivation

There's a fine line between genius and insanity.
I have erased this line.
-- Oscar Levant


Who what when and how are covered elsewhere. Where is anywhere with internet access. But: why? Over 1000 cryptocurrency / blockchain projects have already failed; yes, but their primary focus was raising money. Major blockchain innovation projects with strong backing and well developed
*Stellar is a relatively rare non profit non proof of work blockchain group, but they are still "centralizing" many projects' data on a distributed but singular ledger. While there are advantages in being part of something big, independence and simplicity are not among them.
ideas abound; yes, but their goals typically include focusing an income stream back to the controlling investors. Bitcoin made blockchain popular through accessibility: anyone with a PC and internet access could participate in the early network and earn Bitcoins in exchange for their participation. As its popularity grew, the cost to meaningfully participate increased, today specialized hardware using significant amounts of electricity is required to profitably participate, and the transaction fees are growing. Many projects aim to reduce transaction costs, but they are still being developed by investors with profit as a primary motive. Assign Onward is conceived for grassroots development, aiming to be useful and grow without requiring significant financial backing,
*Assign Onward is open source, open license, so, if an investment firm wants to use all or part of the Assign Onward concepts and code in a project of their direction, they are free to do so.
hopefully recapturing some of the early Bitcoin enthusiasm for a project that individuals can profit in by participating.

Save the planet

A large part of what took Bitcoin out of the hands of individuals was the Proof Of Work component and the costs that it eventually created. Proof of work provides decentralized trust based on the expense of computation. Assign Onward replaces this decentralized trust with the established Web Of Trust
*Ironically, Microsoft is leveraging Ethereum to provide a similar Proof Of Authority system. I would assume that the largest monopoly in proprietary software history combined with the best funded and largest centralized blockchain development project would be focused on different target audiences than Assign Onward.
used by PGP and in so doing it tremendously reduces the infrastructure and power requirements to securely process transactions, thereby removing the capital-intensive barriers to entry that Bitcoin and other highly developed projects have grown, and incidentally processing transactions for a tiny fraction of the power demands of a secure Proof Of Work based blockchain.

Simplicity of implementation

Rather than building ever more complex
*and buggy / insecure
layers of application interfaces, security protocols, etc. Assign Onward focuses on simple concepts and attempts to describe their functionality as simply, securely, and flexibly as possible. The hope is that a simple implementation can be more readily understood and adopted by a wide variety of users and developers.

The power of participation

If Assign Onward enables small business owners and individuals to set up their own blockchain systems that they control and derive value from as DIY projects
*this is not to say that I would expect more than a small minority of Assign Onward users to implement all the technology themselves, far from it. This is to say that the technology is easily DIY accessible for those who are so inclined, meaning that you don't have to be a huge consulting firm or marketing operation to support people who use AO. Some people can do it for themselves, safely and effectively. Others can help friends and family, and there will always be a place for professional consultants who handle all the details, for a price.
, then it has succeeded.
*and if it is scaled up and also used by large transaction processors, so much the better.
Interoperability between these DIY blockchains
*including practical trust and security models
is where I can see Assign Onward becoming a significant part in the future of trusted exchange of contracts and records. No single blockchain system can, nor should even try, to rule the world. Millions, perhaps billions, of individually controlled blockchain systems voluntarily cooperating, that's the exciting vision.

One great headline I read recently: "...I'm the CEO of me." Take that attitude, calibrate the energy and investment level to match your life goals and available capacity of the moment, then make Assign Onward a tool for achieving your goals without involving intermediaries you don't want or need to deal with.
*sadly, this doesn't mean you can (legally) run a food truck without health and safety inspections. Nor can you engineer buildings or systems without the traditional licensing and oversight. And, even in the world of banking and finance, regulations still apply, accounting reports still have to be filed, and taxes almost always have to be paid. Direct exchange of value between producers and consumers - that's revolutionary and available today, but regulations will still apply.

Technology that serves the user

Large platforms inherently seek to serve their masters and extract value from their users. By transfering control of the platform to the end users, nothing in the platform is developed with "hooks" to siphon value away from them.
*higher layers in the system will, inevitably, seek "rent" for the services associated with interaction among the individual blockchains, but this should develop as a more competitive market than a top-down technology like Bitcoin or Ethereum.
If one protocol / application variant does include objectionable hooks, a similar one can be developed and deployed without them. Even though current "one chain to rule them all" blockchains run on open source code, they are the antithesis of user controlled systems. Everything in the Ethereum ecosystem is locked in to ETH (and its gas fees) in one way or another. If the shares on your blockchain represent something of value
*even if it is only of value to a small number of people, they can be located anywhere in the world
that can be traded directly among people value it, without using intermediaries.


Ⓐ What's in a name? Assign Onward was chosen as the project name because it conveyed the central concept of transferring shares from one participant to the next, a vague similarity to the well known meme "Pay it Forward," simplicity of the name, and widespread availability/uniqueness.
*By mid 2018, everything with "coin" in the name was in use - most of them twice. ArrCoin was briefly considered for the Beatle-like alliteration to Our Coin, a collective... of pirates? Maybe not the best choice.
The A in circle logo was quick and easy to make in OpenSCAD, and I 3D printed a handful of physical Ⓐ tokens before noticing the similarity to J-Bone's forehead tattoo in Johnny Mnemonic.

So, of course Anarchism is a thing, and mutualism has described mutual credit systems for over 150 years, so even though it was unintentional the symbology fits quite well. Of course, Anarchists have led a rough life with very limited acceptance or success in those 150 years, and I would hope that even if Assign Onward shares much of their philosophy and even symbology, that the Assign Onward systems of personal debt recording and exchange could find more acceptance in the future world than economic mutualism has in the past. I'll reserve judgement on what should or shouldn't be owned or paid for by whom and on what terms, but I will throw out there that: with the technology available today individuals can make their own credible promises of debt and repayment on their own terms and potentially reap much of the benefit that traditional banking and investment systems took from them, assuming that government regulations support or at least don't stifle these type of systems.