Duniter is a cryptocurrency software, which means it is software providing the ability to create currencies. Duniter is different from other cryptocurrency software you may know (Bitcoin, Litecoin, Peercoin, ...) for 2 main reasons : its currency code includes the concepts of a Universal Dividend and Web of Trust; but also its Blockchain code, which is far more energy efficient, getting rid of the massive waste of energy introduced by Bitcoin.
Any member is co-producer of the money without doing anything, just for being a part of the monetary Community.
This is where the money comes from: every member regularly receives a Universal Dividend (i.e. monetary Basic Income) coming from new money directly issued by members and to members.
Any member needs signatures from other members to join in or simply stay in the Community.
Every member is strongly identified through a Web of Trust mechanism to prevent any one individual from receiving multiple Universal Dividends by using more than one identity. This implies a regular and renewed verification of each member's identity so we can be confident that each individual is real and alive.
Data is fully distributed through the P2P network to avoid centralization and, in turn, Single Point of Failure issues.
Data is fully managed by the P2P network; a free currency does not fall under minority control and can stay a free currency.
A bit more
Money is co-produced by all the community members
This is the main feature: money is equally co-produced by the members of the community (a.k.a. Web of Trust (WoT)). Such equality is ensured in both space and time so that newcomers won't be excluded from the money production process as is so with Bitcoin, therefore it isn't necessary to create yet another "Bitcoin" to have your part of the money. This co-production implies that members be identified in the software, and thus is a mechanism to prevent people from being able to create fake accounts and produce more money than others.
No more CPU race: an energy efficient Blockchain
Classical blockchains use CPU power for addressing security issues. Even if it works (at least, it seems to), this is a very energy-expensive process. Duniter believes it is possible to have a similar but more efficient process, which is not the little brother Proof-of-Stake (the power by the richest). Duniter benefits from a particular resource to reach this goal: its identified community: its members. Here is how Duniter Blockchain is built: each block is computed exclusively by members. Which means neither super Google nor any superpower would be able to control the chain. Moreover, Duniter adds a rotation rule, meaning a member cannot control the blockchain alone. A group of users could, but this would imply that their computing power is higher than the rest of the members of the network. This is where Web of Trust comes into play: each member is recognized (its identity is trusted - not its actions) if they fit the WoT rules:
- the members must have enough signatures (links) from other members
- the member is close enough to any other member
given the facts that:
- signatures expire (they are valid for a set amount of time)
- a given link must wait a while before being relayed
- a member must wait a while between each signature they make (perhaps a week)
- a member has a limit in the number of links they can make to others
- links cannot be made in the future
- links cannot be made too far in the past
These rules are what reasonably ensures that most of the WoT is composed of unique and living individuals. Depending on the currency parameters, these rules may become either very hard or very easy to pass. For example, if each member must be directly signed by every other member (distance = 1), then it won't be possible to have fake accounts (unless everyone agrees with that). But such a community would be small. In the opposite, a distance of 5 would mean there is a path of 5 links between 2 members (from one to the other). This would be much easier, making a wider community, but making fake accounts easier too. This is all a matter of which parameters are used for which maximum community size.
Want more details?
To get a deeper understanding of Duniter's concepts, check the Theoretical page.