Tru is dedicated to the exchange of factually verifiable information necessary to address the serious challenges we now face on Earth.
Tru makes the world smarter.
Tru began at the Planetwork conference in San Francisco in May 2000. Our focus was global ecology and information technology, but that seminal event attracted everyone from online activists after the WTO protests in Seattle, to techies searching for meaning after the dot.com's had "dot.bombed".
A group came together around a shared vision of a global network for civil society – before Linkedin. We formed LinkTank, an invitational network of 50 tech and media professionals, who met for two years to publish the Augmented Social Network ASN White Paper in 2003 – before Facebook.
Planetwork also launched the “user centric digital identity” community. Identity Commons was a fiscal project, which started the Internet Identity Workshop (IIW), a bi-annual “un-conference” where many standards and protocols for digital identity were first proposed over the past 13 years.
A developer community gathered around the idea of a decentralized network protocol called XDI. I served on the board of XDI.org for almost a decade and Victor Grey, who had written one of the first social networks in the 90’s, emerged as a thought leader in the XDI technical development effort. But, XDI was ultimately not a viable approach.
I returned to my focus on climate, founding Biochar Engineering Corp in Colorado, which became a finalist for the Branson Prize to remove a gigaton of CO2. I had also helped fund a key social network patent, later acquired by Linkedin, resulting in founders shares in the IPO.
Following the Linkedin IPO I hired Victor to build a collaboratively curated cross-site media platform. While working on that, we realized how to finally create the truly decentralized technology required to fulfill the XDI vision. We filed the core patent on JLINC in April 2015, founded Portable Data Corp and began work on the technology stack that was to culminate in Tru.
JLINC provides cryptographically signed, human-readable, and therefore legally valid, automated data exchange contracts across the internet – with audit proof written to any combination of logs, ledgers or blockchains. It offers a truly decentralized, scalable way to comply with all “personal data rights” laws.
JLINC was ready for GDPR on May 25, 2018, but the EU regulators were slow to move. So, in Dec 2018, when it was announced after COP24 that we have carbon accounting standards, but need binding agreements, I said to myself, "JLINC can automate data accounting agreements," and I founded a new company to provide a social marketplace built on JLINC specifically to address climate.
Tru Social Inc. was originally founded in April 2019 as Carbon Path, a California Benefit Corporation, with both personal data rights and environmental covenants in its articles of incorporation.
In many domains, including COVID, the world literally needs a new way of “thinking together”, new ways of engaging in a deliberative process, where content can be traced to its source, information has real accountability, and we can choose what to disseminate across society-at-large. Social media has instead been fueled by a business model that earns ad revenue by circulating disinformation and lies in place of news. As the realization of the need for a real alternative erupted into the mainstream, it was clear that a network solution is needed across all sectors, and Tru was born.
Founder & CEO
Tru Social Inc. has both data integrity and environmental convants written into its founding articles, as follows:
A. The purpose of this Corporation is to engage in any lawful act or activity for which a corporation may be organized under the General Corporation Law of California other than the banking business, the trust company business, or the practice of a profession permitted to be incorporated by the California Corporations Code.
B. This Corporation is a benefit corporation.
C. This Corporation shall have the following specific benefit purposes pursuant to Section 14610 of the California Corporations Code:
1. Many businesses cause environmental degradation in pursuit of short-term profits. Such behavior has been proven to undermine both long-term profits and society. This Corporation shall avoid such short-sighted errors by considering the impact of any company action on the earth’s climate, biodiversity, and the well-being of future generations. This Corporation shall prioritize these considerations above short-term profits of the company and its shareholders.
2. This Corporation shall collect, collate and analyze stakeholder supply chain data based on the best available scientific methodology and report the aggregated results on a neutral and unbiased basis. The company shall neither solicit nor accept financial or other consideration in exchange for exceptional treatment.
3. This Corporation shall operate network infrastructure that allows all parties to exchange information under mutually binding terms and conditions in a manner that protects both entities and individual users, by preventing personal information from being exploited for financial gain without prior knowledge and consent.
4. This Corporation shall connect individual users with other entities according to user-defined preferences applied in combination with objective selection and consistent ranking criteria, without any manipulation based on compensation offered or paid by such connected entities.