Social Media Platforms based on Blockchain
Blockchain Technology is being explored by the innovative minds around the world in order to solve even the most complex of problems that us humans face today. Social Media, too, is an important component of our lives, is being scrutinized heavily in order to fix it with the immutable-unhackable-and- decentralized blockchain. In this blog, we will be discussing what has led us to even think of introducing Social media platforms based on blockchain and how we’ll go about it.
Out of the 7.6 billion people on earth, a whopping 3.5 billion use the Internet and more than 3 billion can be termed as “active” social media users. Social Media, as we know it, has never been the same way for too long. Continuous improvisation and experimentation have made the social media what it is today. Be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or even lesser known platforms like that of Pinterest, Reddit or Tumblr, they didn’t create this ecosystem of 3 billion users overnight. The same way, social media platforms based on blockchain that we are going to talk about would take time to gain traction.
A lesser-known fact here:
In 1994, way before Facebook and even, it’s initial rival Myspace, world’s first social network, theglobe.com was founded. It was founded by Stephan Paternot, a Cornell University student and led to become the largest ever IPO back in the time and had an opening share price of $97 USD.
So, the 2018 social media is nowhere similar to what it looked like 25 years ago, or even 10 for that matter. In these 25 years, social media has become the main way humans communicate, and the main way for humans to connect. It indeed has changed the world, and for good in many cases. Having said that, if we were to perform a multivariate analysis based on how we as humans want the ideal social media to look like, the present social media platforms would lose by a mile.
In this article, we are going to discuss how the social media has stopped serving it’s purpose over the years and hasn’t been right to the users which make the network itself and put some light on how Blockchain can fix these issues. Following this, we will be explaining the projects which aim at solving the present scenario among the social media networks.
Problems in Present Platforms
These social media platforms act as a single point of failure to a big number of data breaches and hacks around the world. Looking at the Facebook Gate with Cambridge Analytica of that. Not only this, the notion that even the owners of these social media can manipulate the user data to such extent in itself is not settling, if not disturbing.
Not only this, the hosted data can be accessed without even the approval or knowledge of the customer. The social media platforms based on blockchain, if executed, must not have a single point of failure.
Also Read: How to make a Decentralized App
Censorship Issues with Social Media Platforms
The social media houses can no more be counted upon to provide an “uncensored” platform, which by the way happens to be it’s core services in the first place. Content takedowns by Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube are more than often in 2018. As the Co-Founder of Onlinecensorship.org said, “The user base is what powers these social media platforms, yet these users feel like they don’t have any control or even understanding of this system”. Censorship problems shouldn’t be there in the social media platforms based on blockchain.
Rewards for Content Creation
The content creators who strive so hard to create content on these big social media platforms are rarely compensated, and even if they do, the reward they get for that isn’t even 30 percent of what these platforms by putting up advertisements on the user-generated content. Be it the Youtube or the Twitch, advertising partners, as well as the content creators, are more than unhappy with the unsettling policies. These social media platforms based on blockchain will be rewarding for the content creators in a more transparent and just manner.
Speaking of revenue, the revenue for a big chunk of content creators on Youtube went down the tubes, these were the channels with gaming/wrestling videos, which as per the Youtube’s policies, is offensive as they show “violent, feature adult language or may even show nudity”.
Privacy and Security Issues
Since these social media platforms act as a single point of failure, needless to say, they are prone to data breaches and hacks more than frequently. These social media platforms are basically a centralized network with users needing to give up on their personal privacy, data protection, and even ownership of their own content. A few data-points to notice here:
- Ads decrease the phone battery life by 21%.
- Up to 50% of the user’s mobile data is being used for ads and trackers, which eventually costs them $23 every month.
- The content-creators do not get a fair share of annual total $40 billion USD ad revenue even after being the entity that makes these platforms what they are in the first place.
All of this is just not right.
Authenticity of Content
Countries and cities around the world have been exposed to a lot of fake news in recent times. And the present social media behemoths have offered no solution whatsoever for this, which is disturbing.
The recent elections saw magnanimous amounts of fake news spread over platforms like Facebook and Twitter which was targeted for a specific audience. An ad was circulated in a North-American country going as far as asking the voters to not to cast their votes and telling them to vote in a Facebook poll instead. Voters looking to save their time did exactly the same only to find out that it was bogus. Although the big houses like Facebook and Twitter have told that they’re “Doing-all-they-can” to stop it, these fake news instances don’t seem to cease anytime soon.
The security that the social media platforms based on blockchain along with its sealing system that is immutable in every possible way makes blockchain suitable to combat fake news. A social media platform based on blockchain will have to derive an algorithm to keep scores of contributions by creators based on how the community members vote for it, which is considered to be a fair assessment of the subjective value of the contribution by the creators.
What Blockchain has to offer:
As all of us know, Blockchain has started disrupting industries quite radically, especially in the last couple of years. Blockchain has the potential to revolutionize the social media platforms using tokenization and decentralization in order to rebuild or reshape the social media ecosystems as we know them at present. As we know that these social media networks rely heavily on the ad-based business models, it is only obvious that the users and content creators aren’t compensated enough for what they do. Using Blockchain, these social media platforms will have the capability to track the contribution and level of participation of a particular creator, or even users.
Thus, the quantification of user’s worth has been done using Blockchain. Following this, the users and the content creators will be able to get compensated for their work. The magical word in the cryptosphere, and the Blockchain-Universe – Decentralization. Once decentralization is carried out fully for the content on the social media platforms, the fight against censorship will be won. Not only this, Open-Source protocols can be developed which, using a distributed ledger, would make impossible for any entity to block valid content. Open-Source protocols would be the backbone of these social media platforms based on blockchain.
Now that you’ve got an idea What Blockchain has to offer in making the decentralized and immutable social media platforms based on blockchain we all direly want, let’s have a look at the Blockchain-Powered Social Media Platforms at present:
Or Steem is a blockchain database which aims at supporting community-building and social interaction by rewarding with their cryptocurrency. To describe more accurately, it can be called “An Incentivized Social Media Platform”. A fair account is necessary to be kept in order to inspire adoption of people into any community, or any free market economy for that matter which is exactly what their currency Steem does. Their cryptocurrency is used to accurately and transparently reward an unbounded number of individuals totally based on their contributions. Steemit is perhaps the most important social media platforms based on blockchain at the moment.
The fundamental unit of account on the steem blockchain is called STEEM, which is a liquid currency tradeable on exchanges and transferable to other users too. Steem Power(SP) and Steem Dollars(SBD) are two components of the steemit’s cryptocurrency. Since Steemit wants to build a community which asks for long-term commitment, they have introduced the concept Steem Power(SP).
SP is basically the STEEM which is committed by the users to a 13-week vesting schedule. The important thing here to note about SP is that it’s non-transferable and non-divisible making it unsuitable for trading in exchanges, thus unlocking the benefits of the long-term commitment by the users. The users are paid interest on their SP balance that they have vested, and the amount of SP a user has is also used to determine it’s influence on the distribution of rewards by voting on content. The way SP asks for long term commitment is something that every social media platforms based on blockchain needs to incorporate.
The stability aspect is taken care of by the Steem Dollars(SBD) which is created by the combination of a reliable price feed and rules to prevent abuse. In order to combat plagiarism, steemit rewards the users who flag/upvote such content in an honest and legitimate manner. The success of steemit is sure a hint, to say-the-least that the incentivized social media has the potential to prevail.
An open source project is a social media platform powered by the Ethereum world computer and IPFS. Akasha is aimed at solving the two most overwhelming problems in today’s information-based society: freedom of speech and creative perpetuity. It took a long series of prototyping and testing for the Akasha team to figure out the cornerstone of their stack: Ethereum and IPFS, augmented by Electron, React with Redux and Node.js. This is something that makes a great social media platform based on blockchain technology.
A built-in infrastructure for micropayments will be there in Akasha since it’s built on Ethereum. Akasha has somewhat created an uncluttered user-experience focused on creating and publishing of the content easily while all the complicated stuff takes place in the background.
Indorse is an Ethereum-based decentralized network for professionals aimed at creating a platform for the skills economy which makes it something that can be compared to the LinkedIn in the blockchain universe. This way, Indorse could be a promising social media platform based on blockchain.
The problems that Indorse looks forward to solving are:
- Flawed skill-validation
- Need for users to give up their data for free.
Indorse plans to use different methods in order to validate skills in a simpler and more objective manner. Real-time validation of skillsets declared by the users using Decentralized consensus and AI-based chatbots is also something that the team proposes. The reputation score can be evaluated based on the user’s activity on the platform and reviews by other fellow members of the community.
Now, it wouldn’t be fair to say that these platforms are ready to take over their centralized web 2.0 counterparts just yet. There are certainly a lot of wrinkles to iron out before we see a mass adoption of these social media platforms based on blockchain. Some of these issues are:
- Scalability – Scalability of these platforms is a major concern as of now. It can be realized by looking back at the time when the traffic from the blockchain-based game, cryptokitties was enough to clog the Ethereum blockchain, and this traffic is nowhere close to what facebook or twitter have. However, it’s only fair to cut some slack since these platforms are basically working on a micro-service architecture unlike the big servers the social media platforms on web2.0 use. That being said, the statement that “scalability would be the key to a social media platform based on blockchain to achieve mass adoption” cannot be more right.
- User-Experience is the key – Adapting to the demands of users and providing them with the right user-experience, and delivering on their promises with full promises is something that they need to work on.
Get In Touch
Sodio understands how overwhelming setting up a social media platform is. If you are looking forward to making the next Facebook, YouTube or Twitter, or just have an idea to change this paradigm, and need help or consultation of any manner, feel free to get in touch with us.
Sodio, having worked upon numerous blockchain development projects, has a team of over 20 experienced, energetic and effective Blockchain developers along with a pool of UI/UX experts ready to make the best social media platform based on blockchain with you.
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