%gora: Urbit's Decentralized Attestation System
%gora is one of the first apps to have been shipped with Urbit's software distribution system, initially announced at Assembly 2021. It is Quartus's founding product and continues to be its flagship as well as an integration point for additional Quartus software and middleware.
What is gora?
Simply put, it's a platform for making attestations sans central authority.
Anyone running %gora creates/hosts a "token" that contains an image and a title along with some other settings. Once minted, the host can subsequently offer this token to anyone else on the network. The recipients may choose to accept the offer - and thus irrevocably hold that token going forward - or to ignore it.
How is gora used?
The Dalten Collective issues gorae as proof of weekly meeting attendance. All in attendance receive a gora stamped with the date of the meeting. Dalten has some special rules around membership that hinge on meeting attendance and they use %gora to reliably track this metric.
As we can see in the image, ~mister-dozzod-dalten hosts this gora and that's all anyone needs to know in order to trust its validity. If Dalten says you were there, that's all that matters. In this particular application, a global consensus mechanism - like a blockchain - is inappropriate or at least overkill.
In this way, %gora is used as a sort of verified credential. If Neal says you graduated from Hoon School, that means something! Peer-to-peer credentialism is not only cozy, but feels intimate and meaningful.
The author of this document uses %gora to issue something like a personal "upvote". In this case, I can stak additional gorae up as points awarded to people who make me laugh or say something profound. Looks like ~minder-folden is in the lead and there's an exciting tie for second place.
Some people issue gorea as proof of having met the host in person. Speaking of ~minder-folden...
Others use %gora for... various fun things?
Get your banana gora on Urbit!
%gora has additional features today - and plenty more on the roadmap - that you'll need to check out for yourself after installing. We'll touch on a few here.
Cults and Gated Access
Thanks to the integration of the %cult wrapper middleware from Quartus, you can use a gora to gate access to a private group. Creating a cult around a particular gora will generate a secret group that only the holders of this special gora can access. We've got a video that goes into greater detail.
For standard gorae, each recipient holds just a single copy of the token. With a stak-type gora, the host can dole out additional copies to current holders, forming a stak of "points" (seen above in my upvote gora).
Maybe you only want those who have at least 10 of your club's attendance points to have access to the private inner sanctum?
Public / Gossip
By default, newly-minted gorae are in private mode and will only be seen by those to whom they've been offered. However, you can choose to mark a gora as public which will propagate it out to your %pals (and their %pals...) on the gossip network. You can request a gora that you see on the gossip network. It's up to the host to accept or reject your request.
One Protocol, Many Faces
Presently, there are two interfaces for accessing the single %gora agent on your ship.
We believe that one of the promises of Urbit is the way in which UIs can be fungible and personalized without compromising on "backend" consistency. We've begun experimenting with that in %gora but these are merely fun, early steps. There's a lot more to say about this topic, but not here, nor now.
Install the "light background"/English interface from ~dister-dozzod-dalten
Install the "dark background"/Japanese interface from ~mister-dozzod-dalten
Oh, and feel free to swap between the two to test them out. Installing from one will overwrite the UI (but not the backend state) of the other.