The Multiverse of (Hard) Value: How We Question and Verify Consensus


The Multiverse of (Hard) Value: How We Question and Verify Consensus

Team member names

Pixeldog, Bigbin

Short summary of improvement idea

"We have it in our power to begin the world over again," declared Thomas Paine. It is not only a call for independence but also for a profound transformation of societal norms and governance structures. However, it prompts an essential question: Who does “We” really include? History shows that numerous groups were left out of this vision for a new world, marginalized and dismissed as “The People Out of Doors.”

Addressing the question of how ordinary people(in opposition to “elites”) can express their dissent within the existing power structure, this protocol proposes a new value assessment framework. It aims to redefine and evaluate values in a more democratic manner. We categorize the old and new evaluation systems as change and challenge modes, with the challenge mode introducing a public verification step. This allows ordinary people to directly participate in the value judgment process. This approach not only challenges the existing power of discourse but also breaks through the monopoly on power.

The ultimate goal of this protocol is to establish a truly scarce hard value, inspired by the hard and soft protocols described in The Unreasonable Sufficiency of Protocols. Unlike manipulated soft values, hard value is rooted in human emotions and souls. It distinguishes between people and objects or other symbols through its heterogeneity. To this end, we begin by enhancing existing FILM rating mechanisms from an ART governance perspective, aiming to foster public participation and establish a multi-dimensional narrative evaluation system. This system will provide a more just and diverse value reference for artworks and the NFT market, and help reduce the cultural homogenization and value distortion caused by a capital-dominated market.

By establishing this multi-dimensional evaluation system, we hope to enhance ordinary people’s sense of value and identity in society. This grassroots-driven change will also provide solutions to the existing problems of algorithmic bias. Moreover, this process will help address the issue of unequal income distribution, as it encourages broader social participation and value creation, ensuring that economic benefits are more fairly distributed to those who genuinely contribute to society.

Ultimately, our goal is to create a protocol that truly reflects the intrinsic value and diversity of people, a new world where everyone’s voice is heard, and everyone’s value is recognized.

Key concepts
The People Out of Doors: a phrase commonly used at the time of the Revolution to refer to people outside the political system or on its edges who made demands on legislators and officials who ruled “within doors.”(Alfred F. Young, 2006)

Change mode: Review-Rating-Transaction;

Challenge mode: Review-Rating-Verify-Transaction

Hard value: it represents the intrinsic, sustainable worth of an asset that can endure the test of time. This kind of value is typically generated through the interactions and needs of diverse groups, reflecting a broad consensus rather than the interests of a narrow group. It is rooted in true scarcity and genuine demand, such as commodities or historically proven investments that maintain their worth even through varying economic cycles. Hard value is resistant to market manipulations and less influenced by superficial factors.

Soft value: it refers to the perceived or speculative value of an asset, often influenced by market sentiment, trends, or manipulated scarcity. This type of value can be unstable and prone to sudden declines, as it relies heavily on continuing investor or consumer interest. Examples include the valuation spikes seen in certain cryptocurrencies and NFTs, where prices are driven by hype and liquidity rather than fundamental, enduring worth. Soft value is characterized by an asset’s ability to attract attention and capital in the short term but lacks long-term sustainability.

In conclusion, if something can pass the Acid Test, it represents hard value; if not, it’s considered soft value.


Q1. What is the existing target protocol you are hoping to improve or enhance? Eg: hand-washing, traffic system, connector standards, carbon trading.

We are attempting to structurally improve the existing system of value assessment and exchange. The current value system can be divided into three stages: review, rating, and transaction:

Review is a subjective value assessment act, typically conducted by experts. The criteria are set by these experts and are mainly manifested in various professional awards (such as Nobel, Oscars, Grammys, Turner Prize) and professional reviews. The issue here is that the opinions of ordinary people are not valued; the system is singular, elitist, and highly professionalized.

Rating quantifies the reviews, with typical examples being credit rating agencies and various rating websites. These are highly monopolized by a few corporations or platforms: the three major credit rating agencies—S&P Global Ratings (S&P), Moody’s, and Fitch Group—dominate 95% of the global market share. In the movie rating market, Rotten Tomatoes, IMDb, Metacritic, and Letterboxd are predominant.

Transaction is the market trading behavior based on personal motives and available information, and it is where values are actualized. This stage is often influenced by reviews and ratings. In situations of asymmetric information, people tend to trust assets and commodities with high reviews and ratings. Although blockchain technology has made code and ledgers public, people still find it challenging to assess the value of tokens and NFTs, thus tending to follow market trends, prioritizing short-term benefits over long-term interests.

These three components constitute the cycle of value production and consumption, where reviews output value, ratings parameterize value, and transactions consume value. The underlying value flow is top-down, where the elite establish value standards, and the masses follow these standards. This is true in politics, law, economics, culture, and technology. If an individual wishes to change this value system, there are only two ways: either become a member of the elite and redefine the rules, or unite with others to petition. For most ordinary people, becoming part of the elite is out of reach due to its scarcity. Thus, we see the emergence of websites like, which meet the needs of ordinary people to change the status quo, but such petitions can only play a role at the level of public opinion and cannot go against a country’s laws, such as petitions against Donald Trump that cannot change the reality of presidential elections.

Therefore, we have named the review-rating-transaction value system as the “change” mode, where change primarily occurs top-down and is easily manipulated by economic capital (leading to a greater wealth gap), cultural capital (leading to elitism), and social capital (leading to cliquishness).

To compensate for the deficiencies of the inherent mode, we propose a new “challenge” mode. This builds on the change mode by adding a verification step—verify challenges the singular evaluation system. We encourage every individual, based on their own life experiences, to challenge the existing authoritative standards, thereby redistributing power, broadening the dimensions of value, and incorporating more ordinary people who are currently overlooked by the existing value system into the new value framework.

Q2. What is the core idea or insight about potential improvement you want to pursue?

Consensus should be born out of questioning. As Socrates said, " The unexamined life is not worth living for human beings," similarly, an protocol that has not been fully questioned is not worth enforcing.

Imagine a scenario where a contract is being signed, and before the friendly handshake, there is a series of bargaining and even debate, where consensus is gradually formed through continuous arguments.

The formation of an protocol can be divided into the following steps:
图片 1

  1. Questioning. Through constant questioning, the real primary issues that need to be addressed are identified.
  2. Trust. A foundation of trust is built around the solutions to the common problems.
  3. Consensus. Consensus is reached on the basis of mutual trust.
  4. Protocol. A formal document is created based on the consensus.

However, when this protocol is subjected to new questioning, the consensus may collapse, leading to conflicts and contradictions, and only by sitting down again to discuss and reach a new consensus can a new protocol be established. From this process, it can be concluded that good protocols are signed from the bottom up, while bad protocols are imposed from the top down. The U.S. Constitution and the Treaty of Versailles are typical examples of good and bad protocols, respectively.

The drafting process of the U.S. Constitution was a crystallization of collective intelligence. In 1787, to resolve conflicts between the states and between the states and the federal government, representatives gathered in Philadelphia and engaged in four months of debate and bargaining. During this process, every word and clause was thoroughly discussed and deliberated. For example, the framers debated issues such as how to elect the president, the division of powers between the federation and the states, and how to protect the freedoms and rights of citizens. Although the process was filled with disputes, a balance was ultimately achieved, which is reflected in what is widely considered one of the most enduring constitutions in the world. The success of the U.S. Constitution lies in its ability to adapt to changing times, allowing subsequent generations to update it through amendments, thus maintaining its vitality and adaptability.

In contrast, the signing process and consequences of the Treaty of Versailles present a starkly different example. This peace treaty, signed in 1919 after World War I, aimed to end the war and plan the post-war order. However, the protocol was not based on equal and fair discussion, but was completed under the harsh conditions imposed by the victorious nations on the defeated nations. Germany was forced to accept enormous reparations, territorial concessions, and significant reductions in military power, terms that did not consider long-term peace and stability but were based on punishment for the past and distrust for the future. As a result, the treaty did not bring lasting peace but instead sowed the seeds for World War II in Germany and other countries.

By comparing the cases of the U.S. Constitution and the Treaty of Versailles, we can see that only consensus formed through sufficient questioning and discussion can establish effective and lasting protocols. The success of the Constitution is due to its foundation on broad consensus, providing a balance for different interests and views. The failure of the Treaty of Versailles reminds us that protocols that have not undergone sufficient scrutiny and consensus may bring short-term victories, but in the long run, they can lead to greater disasters and instability.

Q3. What is your discovery methodology for investigating the current state of the target protocol? Eg: field observation, expert interviews, historical data analysis, failure event analysis

The target protocol is formed on the basis of analyzing and summarizing historical failure cases. Since the 2008 financial crisis, the change model has encountered numerous failures. The film “The Big Short” revealed the hypocrisy of credit ratings to audiences. Driven by economic interests, value orientation has been distorted into price orientation, and to sell assets at higher prices, rating agencies have packaged problematic assets as AAA-rated high-quality assets. Cryptocurrencies, represented by Bitcoin, were born against the backdrop of traditional finance losing public trust. However, blockchain still has many problems; code cannot completely solve issues of trust and unfair distribution, and supply-demand relations regulated by algorithms do not bring real value. The rise and fall of Luna Coin and Stepn NFTs demonstrate the unsustainable nature of the cryptocurrency liquidity game—once liquidity is exhausted, asset prices also rapidly fall. Thus, artificially created scarcity leading to false prosperity will eventually burst over time, while only true scarcity can serve as a support for value. We refer to the former as “soft value” and the latter as “hard value.”

Hard value should be generated through the collision of different groups and be able to withstand the test of time. If a small group of people is allowed to dominate the discourse for an extended period, the system will lose vitality. When a system is entirely built by experts, any review or criticism of the system is ineffective, a problem particularly typical in the field of contemporary art. The 15th Kassel Documenta, which ironically closed with a predominant victory of Western centrism and singular values under the banner of decentralization and value sharing, illustrates this point. This is not to say that popular rating websites represented by Rotten Tomatoes are completely effective; they still suffer from the problem of having a single dimension of evaluation. Overly simple evaluation standards and very small sample sizes only amplify biases.

Therefore, to achieve an agreement based on hard value, two prerequisites are necessary: a sufficient and diverse sample size, and a sustainable evaluation model.

Q4. In what form will you prototype your improvement idea? Eg: Code, reference design implementation, draft proposal shared with experts for feedback, A/B test of ideas with a test audience, prototype hardware, etc.

A robust protocol is not created overnight but is born through continuous exploration and improvement. Based on the two key elements of protocol success we summarized in the third question, we need to select an appropriate initial protocol subject for model verification. The subject should possess professionalism, popularity, categorizability, and commerciality, making films the best object for protocol restructuring. We plan to start by improving the existing film rating mechanisms to establish a multidimensional narrative evaluation system that could also be applied to a broader range of artistic fields. Art has long been considered a hard-to-assess heterogeneous asset. If it can be evaluated, another heterogeneous asset—NFTs—can also be appraised and endowed with hard value, allowing it to transcend symbolic levels to become a truly transactional digital asset.

From an implementation perspective, achieving the above goals requires the following specific steps:

  1. An evaluation scales (or dimensions) system
    The main issue with current evaluation systems is the reversal of end and method. For example, in film rating, the process typically involves watching the film first and then rating it. However, in an environment where Internet information is freely accessible, we can see a film’s rating before watching it, thus influencing our viewing experience. Early audience evaluations can affect subsequent viewers’ judgments, amplifying biases. To reduce bias, it would be simple to reverse the process of publicizing ratings by hiding them until after viewers have provided their scores. Moreover, these scores should not just be a simple numeric value but should incorporate multiple dimensions. Like the MBTI test, we don’t know our type before completing the questions; only after submitting the questionnaire can we see the result, which is a detailed report that we can share and compare with others, forming a sort of consensus.

  2. An index with hard value
    The most valuable hard assets are human emotions, which fundamentally differentiate humans from AI. Each person’s unique emotional responses form their soul. Regarding film ratings, Rotten Tomatoes’ simple binary rating system does reflect direct human emotions. Thus, the issue isn’t with the binary system but with who makes the judgments. Different ages, genders, races, and classes react differently to the same movie. The challenge is how to multifacetedly represent these reactions. We can take cues from index funds and GitHub’s forking. Combining the diversity of emotional reactions with technological solutions could pioneer a new method of film rating. Index funds track a series of indicators to reflect the overall market performance, while GitHub’s fork feature allows users to branch off from the original project for personalized modifications. Applying these concepts to film rating could help develop a system that captures and reflects the diverse emotional reactions of the audience.

  3. A public-oriented art evaluation and governance website
    This site would be contributed to and maintained by users, covering not just films but any artistic entity they consider significant. If E.H. Gombrich’s statement, “There really is no such thing as Art. There are only artists,” holds true, then at least artists should be nominated by the public rather than designated by the art system. Similarly, the scarcity of a non-fungible token should not be decided by the NFT issuer but by its intrinsic hard value. To better integrate site data with NFT data later, website registration and login will need to be compatible with Crypto wallets.

Q5. How will you field-test your improvement idea? Eg: run a restricted pilot at an event, simulation, workshop, etc.

We plan to conduct a “Movie Review Impact Experiment” to validate and improve our idea.

  • Objective
    This experiment aims to study whether audience ratings of films are influenced by existing evaluation information.

  • Design

    • Participants: Invite 100 participants through advertising and social media, ensuring a broad distribution of ages and backgrounds.
    • Random Assignment: Participants are randomly assigned into two groups: a control group and an experimental group, with 50 participants in each.
    • Movie Selection: Select 10 non-popular but released films to create the test pool. Ensure these films cover different genres and styles to cater to diverse audience preferences.
  • Procedure:

    1. Preparation Phase:
      Conduct a brief survey before the workshop begins to collect basic information and movie preferences from the participants.
      Explain the blind testing procedure, informing participants that they will be involved in a study about movie evaluations, but not revealing the specific objectives of the experiment.

    2. Viewing Environment Setup:
      Ensure both groups view the films in the same environment, with consistent factors like cinema size, screen quality, and sound effects.

    3. Viewing Process:
      Each group watches the same film at one time.
      The control group is not allowed access to any evaluation information about the film prior to viewing.
      The experimental group can review internet ratings and comments for each film before viewing.

    4. Rating and Feedback Collection:
      After viewing, all participants are required to rate film based on their emotional response and overall impression using a 1 to 10 rating system.
      Participants are also asked to provide keywords that influenced their decision on the ratings.

    5. Data Analysis:
      Use statistical software to analyze the collected data, including descriptive statistics, analysis of variance (ANOVA), and mixed model analysis to explore differences in ratings and potential influencing factors.

    6. Follow-up Interviews:
      Conduct in-depth interviews with a randomly selected subset of participants to discuss their rating decision process and their perception of the rating information.

  • Expected Results
    It is anticipated that there will be significant differences between the ratings of the experimental group (who were exposed to evaluation information) and the control group (who were not exposed to evaluation information). Specifically, the ratings of the experimental group may tend to align more with the trends observed on the internet.

Q6. Who will be able to judge the quality of your output? Ideally name a few suitable judges.

The term “judge” commonly evokes images of professionals, but as previously analyzed and demonstrated through examples, the institutions and systems established by expert reviewers have become ineffective. The values built into these systems lack solid worth, rooted in the similar and monotonous identity backgrounds of the expert circles. Such values are not only detached from the real world but also permeated with an isolating and monopolistic language context. With the advent and spread of technology, “The traditional relationship between producers and spectators as established by the mass culture of the twentieth century has been inverted.” (Boris Groys, 2010) Previously, curated content was directed at millions of viewers and readers, but now millions of creators are generating countless images and texts. The traditional division of labor in the arts was initially clear-cut: artists were responsible for creating and producing artworks, while curators selected works for public display. However, the contemporary art-making process itself has become an exhibition of art—if we consider protocols as a form of curation, a process of seeking consensus on value between creation and display, then today’s true curators are the public.

Of course, the public’s value judgments can be biased, and thus the role of experts should be to guide and reveal the multiple dimensions within what seems to be a singular judgment, which is precisely the purpose of the diverse indicators, vocabulary, and emotional indices previously discussed. On this level, experts truly educate—not by inventing public aesthetics, but by uncovering them, allowing consensus and value to withstand scrutiny and judgment, achieving genuine protocols and collaboration.

Modern artists often appropriate readymade objects, a practice exemplified by Marcel Duchamp, who similarly commandeered the living labor of workers by signing his name to a product under the guise of conceptual art. Art should be living labor, an invention with singularity—not just the replication, appropriation, and collage of symbols in the art commodity world. This singularity is the continual self-revelation of a diverse subject participating in the construction of the world. “The beautiful is not the act of imagining, but an imagination that has become action. Art, in this sense, is multitude.” (Antonio Negri, 2009) Therefore, the best judges are those who live in the real world and partake in its construction. Professionals should break the monopoly of myths, foster dialogues, and not impose or manipulate any predetermined rules with their knowledge capital.

Q7. How will you publish and evangelize your improvement idea? Eg: Submit proposal to a standards body, publish open-source code, produce and release a software development kit etc.

  • Submit the SOP proposal and collect feedback from forums.
  • Revise the proposal based on feedback, ultimately producing a publicly released project white paper.
  • Launch a #HardValue topic on social media platforms to gather cases of hard value, compiling them into a manual.
  • Curate and conduct public workshops based on the concept of the protocol.

Q8. What is the success vision for your idea?

  • Building the Multiverse of Hard Values.
  • Reducing algorithmic biases.
  • Reconnect art with the public through public governance of art.
  • Let “The People Out of Doors” into the door.
  • Establish a decentralized identity (DID) system based on individual value assessment.
  • Achieve Unconditional Basic Income (UBI) through value governance.