Presearch is a planned decentralized search engine, aiming to provide a community-driven alternative to the major search engines that currently act as gateways to the internet. Within the Presearch ecosystem, PST tokens are the means of incentivizing and rewarding participation (usage, contribution, promotion, etc.) as well as of funding operations via a transparent, unobtrusive advertising system.
To be clear, Presearch is more of a vision than a full-fledged model. As stated in the Presearch whitepaper, “[To] build a truly decentralized search engine would be extremely difficult, and currently impossible, because all of the content that the search engine would index and link to would be provided by the non-decentralized Internet. Ultimately, as more content moves to blockchain-based networks, this may change, and there is certainly an opportunity to index that content as it is created, however, it is limited in scope and use at this time. For those reasons, within the context of a search engine, decentralization is likely best viewed as a stepped approach… Due to the currently closed nature of search, simply introducing transparency, open source technology, community participation and consensus, along with the tokenization and distribution of value created would be a huge step forward.”
Presearch also appears to be in large part a reactionary rebuttal of Google’s hegemony; indeed, a significant portion of the project’s whitepaper is a diatribe against Google. The Presearch core team, which is in charge of getting the project off the ground, will begin “with a vision borne from the experience of being marginalized by the Google ecosystem, a unique perspective that provides the initial core team with the insight, vision and drive to pursue the project. Therefore, for the purposes of this white paper, we will not cover many details of the actual ‘search engine’, aside from the fact that it needs to be transparent, open and decentralized.”
Presearch considers the project’s consensus model and constitution to be its cornerstones, saying “If we get these models right, many of the other components of the platform will fall into place as the community iterates and finds balance and equilibrium.“ The whitepaper gives particular attention to blekko’s ‘Web search bill of rights’, but also admits that “This document will be a work in progress, and at the time of writing is only loosely defined.”
Despite all of this, Presearch plans to progress from a decentral-ish Internet-based search tool to a fully-decentralized search engine over the next three years, following a number of release cycles, with a fully-decentralized version likely to be released first on mobile. A working beta release is planned for Q3, 2017, limited to basic customization, rewards, sponsorship and token purchases. True voting and crowdfunding will not be made available until Q2 2018. The beta will serve as a proof of concept and minimum viable product until the technology catches up. In order to incentivize participation, Presearch intends to gamify the core Presearch systems and use the PST Ethereum-based token as both the measure and the reward for participation in sponsored suggestions and other promotions. However, “due to gas costs on Ethereum transactions ($0.02 – $0.50 per), it is impractical to use PSTs for every transaction. Therefore we use credits to track internal transactions and enable exchange to and from PSTs.”
Regarding issues of security and abuse of the system, the whitepaper states that “Tieing a reward / incentive mechanism to key functionality… makes abuse and fraud the biggest technical challenge to overcome. Fortunately, there are many best practices that have been developed, and which we can adopt… Security often comes at the cost of usability, and we will be smart about balancing these factors. As with all aspects of the project, but especially on the technical side, we know there are some very talented developers within the decentralization community, and we will turn to them for input on how best to combat the more difficult challenges posed by fraud and abuse.”
Presearch presents a two-phased operation model: first as a company, and later as a non-profit foundation. The whitepaper claims that a temporary corporation has been created to get started – a Canadian corporation, Presearch Corp., incorporated on July 4th, 2017 – with a single shareholder. This structure is anticipated to persist for an estimated 12-18 months before transitioning to the latter phase, and will operate on revenue from the early-adopter token sale. The latter phase is to consist of: (1) the establishment of a community charter, directors, and a governance / consensus model; (2) the establishment of a permanent foundation in a country and region with the utmost respect for privacy and data integrity, with favorable tax and regulatory environment, and a stable and freedom-respecting political climate, such as Switzerland; and (3) the transition of all IP and assets to the foundation. This foundation will then undertake the general public token sale and operate from that Revenue.
The Presearch core team is comprised of:
- Project Lead – Colin Pape, a serial entrepreneur who founded the community commerce network, ShopCity.com (launched in 2000). In 2011, Colin found himself mired in a battle with Google and realized that the world desperately needs a transparent and open search engine.
- Technical Lead – Rob Calvert, has over 20 years experience in application development, network security and project management. Apparently also from ShopCity.com, prior to which Rob worked in a C-level position for a big three accounting firm in the Caribbean.
- Product Development Lead – Nolan Dubeau, has worked as a web developer with CRYPTOCard, Mercedes-Benz and JDS Uniphase, leading to positions as Creative Director, Interactive at XM Radio and VP Engineering at Guardly, a VC-backed tech company.
- Lead Frontend Developer – David Keefe, also from ShopCity.com, having joined in 2012 as part of the content department and worked his way to senior developer. David is largely responsible for frontend development and customer-facing product improvements.
- Senior Fullstack Engineer – Corey Piitz, has been programming for more than 25 years, working at vertical marketplace Labx.com, instructing college-level programming courses, and serving as lead fullstack engineer for ShopCity.com.
Other team members include Blockchain researchers Jim Terry and Prentice Chang, marketing professional Thomas LeClair, community builder Sherry Cooper, and graphic designer Megan Wojtowych.
Following its pre-announcement on June-9-2017, Presearch is conducting an early adopter token sale between 25-July-2017 and 25-August-2017. Issuance of tokens is scheduled for September-2017.