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How Aura works

Types of users

Based on observations of BrightID user participation, we can divide users into two categories.

App users

App users represent 99% of users. They’re interested in BrightID as a way to use or enhance a particular app they care about. They’ll do what they need to do to get verified and not much else.

Inquisitive users

Inquisitive users represent 1% of the user base. They use apps, but also become interested in how BrightID works. Once they’ve been verified, they begin to explore what else is possible with BrightID. They’re capable of noticing attempts by other users to exploit the system. They think about how attacks might succeed and how they might be prevented.

The Aura social graph

Aura players consist of inquisitive users. They assign honesty ratings to those they know well. This contrasts with normal BrightID users, who in most cases only label how well they know someone and don’t try to assess their honesty.
Aura players send each other energy, which represents the power to verify other BrightID users. This results in an inner graph composed of Aura players and an outer graph of the rest of BrightID users.
The inner graph flows energy between Aura players based on how other players perceive their ability to play the game. Energy flow is done using the SybilRank algorithm adapted for a directed graph with weighted edges. This algorithm is based on the well-known PageRank algorithm. It works better when edges represent a transitive relationship, which is possible in Aura where edges represent "how well A thinks B plays Aura" rather than "how well A knows B," which was the case in previous BrightID verifications.

Decentralization and resilience

Energy flows provide a decentralized way for expert Aura players to select each other. Teams allow Aura to be resilient even if one type of energy becomes corrupted.