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Claims arise out of expectations of reciprocity. A claim exists whether or not it is instantiated as a social object (piece of paper, software object, marker, etc.)

So, for example when you buy some goods: If you get the goods before you pay for them, the seller has a claim for payment. If you pay first, you have a claim for the delivery of the goods.

The seller may send you an invoice (an objectified claim), but even if not, you still owe the money.

Likewise if you pay and seller does not deliver.

Either of the participating agents can take their unsatisfied claim to court and they will win.

Contextualization: In Sensorica and NRP, value equation rules define the expectations of reciprocity for contributions of various kinds.

The rules can define the amount and unit of the claim, whether it will be equity-like or debt-like, and anything else that defines the contributor's expectations.

The claim is connected to the contribution event, but is not the same as the contribution event. The value equation rules use the contribution event to compute the claim, but the rules are important, too.

Then the claim is used to keep track of distributions of income (or whatever else) that satisfy the claim (depending on the rules).