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Published 2022-05-18T21:45

Squawker - What, Why, and How


Squawker is a decentralized flagging protocol on the Ravencoin blockchain. What started out as a messaging protocol, Squawker’s potential quickly became apparent. Using flags, you can leave instructions on the blockchain on how to treat the IPFS message attached to that flag. How To understand a flag, you need to understand a transaction. There are five major parts of a transaction on the Ravencoin Blockchain. You have the sender, the receiver, the asset, the amount, and the IPFS message. By changing the sender, the recipient, and the amount we can define what this flag means. The IPFS (Interplanetary File System) message is what we are flagging as having meaning. We could send a message, video, soundbyte, or anything else inside the flagged message. All we have to know is what to look for and how to process it. The solution to the first is to follow a chosen asset’s transactions. It is foolish to send an asset to yourself. You are just wasting the gas fee, right? That's why Squawker chose this path. So that is called a flag. Detecting a planted a flag on the blockchain is trivial especially if you are only looking for transactions on a certain asset. Why You can flag something on the blockchain, so what? A blockchain is consistent regardless of where you are in the world. A blockchain is immutable, permanent, and if it is proof of work, uncensorable. The greed of miners causes them to accept whatever transactions they can get into a block and the next miner is going to sign off on that block for the same reason. So you suddenly have a way to leave a message to anyone on the internet who has access to IPFS and the blockchain. This means no one can take down your content. No one can censor you. Now that doesn’t mean that people have to listen to you which is how Squawker the website will handle moderation. We will choose to not display the extralegal content. It will still be there on the blockchain for anyone to get access to as long as it has an IPFS pin. Squawker was born in the midst of cancel culture. This divisive movement destroyed countless lives and deplatformed many more. The loss of one’s platform or of one’s voice is, to me, a violation of freedom of speech. Squawker protocol defends against this. While one community may choose to stop listening, you still have your voice regardless. What You can post anything. There are a few very exciting things we can now do on the blockchain. Sales Right before Squawker was conceptualized, the Ravencoin Blockchain added Atomic Swaps. These are basically half a transaction. The issue is the transactions couldn’t be advertised on the blockchain. It would be like price tagging all the inventory in a store only to realize there was no door for customers to walk in and buy things. Squawker changed the game. Suddenly, you could flag these transactions on the blockchain. The transactions are very easy to see if they are still ‘viable' because you can simply check that the funds or item is in the location that it is advertised it should be. If it is, you just have to sign your half of the transaction and submit it to the blockchain. The transaction goes through and the deal is done. Auctions Atomic swaps can be used to purchase a specific NFT you want to buy. If you put it out there, whoever has that NFT or can obtain it, can sell the NFT to you by signing the transaction. This means you can place a bid on the NFT. The bid is public and can be signed and transacted at any point. The great part of this is if you wish to retract your bid you just have to move the funds, so the transaction becomes invalid. If for some reason a bid falls through, the seller can sign any of the previous transactions to collect on the bid. Or if you have buyer’s remorse, you can sell that NFT to any of the previous bids still open. Content distribution If you wish to publish a book, music, or even a movie, how do you sell it digitally without fear of anyone just copying it? If you put it on IPFS anyone can download and consume it. Well, for all the issues DMCA has, it does provide legal protections against breaking encryption. This means if you sell someone a decryption key and they share it they are liable for damages. So, all we need is a way to give your content’s encryption key securely to the purchaser. If only we had a tool that could provide a receipt when sending someone the digital representation of that content? Oh wait, when sending a Ravencoin asset you can attach a message. That message could very easily be the decryption key, but you have to encrypt it so no one else but the purchaser has access to it. The standard of peer-to-peer public key encryption is PGP and Ravencoin Improvement Proposal 11 (RIP11) sets forth a way to define, build, and sign a unique asset to an address. This asset defines a public PGP key and is signed by the address meaning they can decrypt with the private key messages encrypted with that public key. So you can encrypt a message that can only be decrypted by the owner of that address. With PGP encryption, you can stick your message into a digital envelope which only the holder of that address can read. Inside the envelope you can place the decryption key to your content. The great part of this is that if you require a signature of the address using the decryption key, you can verify they actually still have that asset–using the blockchain–and thus are allowed access to the content. Website subscriptions While this is not related directly to Squawker, the Squawker API can be used to validate this. You can sell website subscriptions using the marketplace or through your own site. These subscriptions would simply be an asset sent to the wallet. With a signature as authentication, you don’t need to track your users’ information.You can tell they have purchased access directly from you. You can see when the access was purchased, and that it is still within the subscription window. With the content decryption, you could even sell varying levels of access to your site and have areas that need to have the full paid version for the in-depth news articles. All this without the need for trackers, email addresses or even names. Your address is your user, your signature is your password. The best part is there are no chargebacks or auto-renewal hassels. You know the money is there when they purchase. As a provider of digital content, why not accept payment directly in a digital currency? Conclusion Squawker is a platform where you can build your digital life, share your content, and get rewarded by your supporters. There are no 30% fees for content distribution. You keep it all, or you pay one among many competitors to manage the digital distribution portion which is perfectly auditable and immutable. It’s your life, your content, so own it.

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