Our Story

Our path to the blockchain is a bit different. We're an established application seeking a solution via a smart token. We started PeopleClaim several years ago as an experiment in social justice. Our goal was to learn if technology could fix the legal system—i.e., reduce costs, disintermediate justice, and increase access for people with disputes that were impractical to resolve through traditional law.

PeopleClaim evolved into a process we call “OCDR,” or online community dispute resolution. We learned later that our process is something like how the ancient Greeks resolved civil disputes: they'd hold a public forum where any citizen could win a bounty of gold coins by suggesting the resolution that brought the parties to agreement.

30,000 cases later, PeopleClaim has become a popular way for consumers, patients, employees, and others to resolve disputes with the help of the public. Disputing parties can also invite domain experts (such as mechanics, dentists, or lawyers) from our online community to offer specific expert feedback about their case. (Turns out it’s more efficient to ask a group of experienced mechanics the best way to resolve an auto repair claim than to ask a legal professional.)

Cases are posted online and the public is invited to offer suggestions as to how to best resolve them. Once a case is resolved it's removed from public view and the parties have legal agreement. Our community has about 100,000 registered users. We call the people who help resolve cases by suggesting solutions or offering advice "public mediators"—although we’re using “mediation” in a non-traditional sense, since the process is generally public and participants don’t have to be neutral as they do in traditional mediation.

We don't currently handle settlement execution, cash transfers, compliance, etc.—although settlement defaults can be reposted on the site for further negotiation. We've resolved claims with most major national consumer brands, as well as local product and service providers.

Our process works well for most claimants, and a lot of businesses appreciate the idea of allowing the public to help find the fairest resolution to consumer claims. Businesses also appreciate the fact that there’s no charge to them to settle a case using PeopleClaim; it saves them a lot of money.

Constraints

Our process has had four constraints that have limited our ability to scale as quickly as we wanted and to provide efficient justice to all the people and businesses that need it.

  • 1.The process is binary—either the claimant's case was resolved or it wasn’t. While some claims are resolved in days or even hours, others remain unresolved, since final agreement depends on the claim counterparty's agreement. We’ve needed to be able to create certainty of settlement for some users who didn’t want to go through a mediative process with no guarantee their case would be resolved.
  • 2. Compensation to online mediators has been limited. Since our goal is universal access to justice, we have had to keep the cost of filing and resolving any size claim very low. We charge under $25, and offer a free service to anyone who can't afford to pay. This helps claimants but it fails to create strong economic incentives to members of the mediating community. Many of our mediators are volunteers working pro bono, but we could get much wider participation if mediators could reap higher monetary rewards for helping resolve a case.
  • 3. Settlements have been hard to monitor after the initial agreement. Disputes may be settled outside our system. This creates flexibility but it also makes community bounty payments difficult to track and collect. Mediators must trust the parties to pay their bounty, which can include a percentage-of-recovery fee. There is little incentive to pay this fee if the parties negotiate their final settlement outside the system. But requiring in-system settlement creates confidentiality/privacy and HIPAA issues for some providers.
  • 4. Our process couldn’t work in many developing countries because of online payment barriers: for claim settlement, filing fees, and any bounty payments to community members helping mediate.
The blockchain solution: Rhubarb.

The blockchain resolves most of these issues elegantly and will allow us to accelerate our current application growth rapidly. PeopleClaim will make the RHU its default currency for claim filing, rewards, and settlement. This eliminates the problem of mediator incentives and payments by incorporating mediator incentive fees into the final settlement terms via smart contracts. We can process fee and settlement transactions in developing countries more easily and the parties can post and settle their cases anonymously if circumstances require it.

New model—our eureka moment

However, we still needed to address the cost of incentives to attract and engage mediators to help resolve cases, and the need for certainty of settlement. We've resolved this problem by creating a voting mechanism on the blockchain called Poll Verdicts, whereby our network members—initially the same PeopleClaim community participants who have been helping resolve disputes—can vote to create a consensus for any dispute posted on the site.

As explained in our white paper, participants are required to post a RHU deposit, which they forfeit if their vote falls outside the consensus at the final tally. The consensus voters earn the forfeited RHU as reward for "mining a justice consensus." This process creates risk and reward incentives for members to compete to create consensus around the best resolution to any claim posted on PeopleClaim. However, this same process can be used by other platforms to resolve conflicts in traditional court, in arbitration, and in government policy-making, as well as in the world of proliferating blockchain applications, where we see inevitable conflicts both within an application and between colliding applications.

ROI from network voting can be very high depending on the consensus breakdowns and other factors we’re incorporating in the process. We plan to begin beta testing Poll Verdicts soon within the PeopleClaim community and then offer them to other platforms as an objective and more democratic process of conflict resolution based on informed consensus of our member base. As demand for RHU-based Poll Verdicts grows, we expect demand for the RHU to increase, which should create significant and sustained appreciation in the RHU over time. More importantly, anyone will be able to resolve a dispute of any size quickly, and at no cost—thereby achieving our goal of universal and equal access to justice.

The RHU will be soon offered in a presale and ICO offering to qualified buyers.

Join our whitelist for information on ICO and presale funding.
ICO: estimated Q3 2018
Indicate desired allocation
$USD
  • ICO: $0.25 / RHU
Note: Insider or presale applicants who do not get their full specified allocation will have priority in subsequent rounds.
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