Since the development of the blockchain industry, the decentralized social media track has not been proven to have huge market potential, but this does not seem to affect batches of practitioners to test the waters.
On July 17, Aave founder Stani Kulechov tweeted, “Since @Jack (Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey) intends to build Aave on Bitcoin, Aave should build Twitter on Ethereum.”
If you think that Kulechov’s remark is just a simple response to Jack’s recent remarks, you are quite wrong. In an interview with Decrypt, Kulechov not only expressed his own thoughts on existing social media, but also said that the new project will solve two common problems of such platforms: vulnerability to censorship, and exploitability that benefits platform creators rather than users. Salary structure.
At the same time, Kulechov also said that the new project will be launched this year, led by Jordan LzG, chief operating officer of Aave.
1. “Challenge” Twitter CEO, the founder of Aave will issue “Twitter on Ethereum”
Whether Aave founder Stani Kulechov has long ambitions to enter social media is still unknown, but from what we have seen so far, everything can be traced back to a tweet posted by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on July 16.
In this tweet, Jack Dorsey revealed, “Square is creating a new business (joining Seller, Cash App and Tidal), focusing on building an open developer platform with the sole goal of easily creating unmanaged, permissionless and Decentralized financial services. Our main focus is Bitcoin. Its name is currently to be determined.”
When quoting the information, foreign media zycrypto pointed out, “From the details, it is not difficult to find out what this means: DeFi services on Bitcoin. Given that Square has a market value of more than 100 billion US dollars and a huge impact on the market, this may be A warning to almost all DeFi protocols based on Ethereum.”
Regardless of whether the interpretation of zycrypto is too sensitive or not, Aave founder Stani Kulechov’s response the next day did emit a “smell of gunpowder.” “Since @Jack intends to build Aave on Bitcoin, Aave should build Twitter on Ethereum.”
Not only that, Stani Kulechov also counted Twitter slots. “Twitter users currently’do not own’ their own audience, which means that everything that happens on Twitter will stay on the platform. Moreover, Twitter will also earn all revenue from users’ tweets and the content they share, and according to The algorithm determines which tweets of the user can get attention.
According to Stani Kulechov, the more serious problem also includes the lack of monetization of the tweet/retweet process. “You also don’t have your own audience (that is, if you move from one platform to another, you have to start from scratch).”
In contrast, Kulechov revealed that its new project will solve these two problems: monetization of user-published content, content creators can own their audience without permission, and anyone can use the same on-chain social graph and data. Build a new user experience.
2. What does the community think?
As the head of DeFi project, the dynamics of the founder of Aave will inevitably receive attention from many parties, and a tweet about a new project directly increases the number of comments and reposts by several times.
In all the comments on the “Ethereum version of Twitter”, three voices with completely different attitudes appeared, of course, including the support of Aave fans.
Twitter user @LiMoonLambo commented, “No matter what social network you build, it’s better than Voice on EOS.”
Where there is support, there is opposition. In the eyes of opponents, there is no point in building Twitter on Ethereum. There is also a view that both the Twitter CEO’s project and the Ethereum version of Twitter that Aave will release will fail.
Another attitude does not directly express support or opposition, but rather expresses concerns about Ethereum gas fees. “I can only think of paying a gas fee every time I tweeted.” Twitter user @mrsenditt said.
What’s interesting is that @nationalbank_ said when participating in the discussion of Gas Fees, at least this can make people think twice when tweeting. This remark may imply that some users use Twitter to make crazy calls.
3. Decentralized social platforms are not new
In fact, the decentralized social project that Aave wants to build is nothing new. There are many alternatives to large social networks on the market, such as Minds, Mastodon, Diaspora, etc. Among them, Diaspora has been ten years old, four years later than Facebook launched in 2006.
The decentralized social network runs on a separate server instead of a centralized server owned by the enterprise. Compared with centralized social networks, decentralized social networks can provide users with more control and autonomy, protect personal data privacy, and share profit models. More importantly, on decentralized social media platforms, no one can decide what content to show to users. Even if the network sorts content according to an algorithm, this is public.
The following are 9 decentralized social media platforms:
Benchmarking: Facebook, YouTube
Features: open source, blockchain
On Minds, you can post videos, blogs, pictures and set status. At the same time, you can also send messages and video chats with friends in group chats or directly.
In addition, you can unlock new features by purchasing Minds tokens, such as monetizing content creation. That is, you can earn tokens by voting, commenting, or uploading content, and you can use tokens to promote your content.
Features: open source, P2P
Aether is an open source P2P platform that allows users to communicate on online forums without using a centralized server. The user’s computers communicate directly with each other, and all data is stored on the hard disk.
On the Aether platform, users can create their own forums and post posts, and posts cannot be easily traced to the user’s IP address. In addition, the storage time for all posts is 6 months, so users need to save their own data separately.
Features: open source, decentralized
Based on ActivityPub, Mastodon is a network of thousands of communities operated by different organizations and individuals. It is well-known in the circle of FOSS (free and open source software) enthusiasts, and its current number of users is nearly 4 million.
Features: open source, blockchain
LBRY is a decentralized content sharing platform that allows creators to publish video content in categories such as movies, games, and technology. The platform has a built-in payment system that allows users to publish content for profit.
LBC is a cryptocurrency launched by LBRY. Users can get the token rewards when they complete tasks on the platform, and they can also use tokens to reward their favorite creators.
Features: decentralization, blockchain
KARMA is a mobile social application built on EOSIO. Users can download it on the Play Store and App Store. On the KARMA platform, users can earn KARMA tokens by liking or sharing content.
Features: Decentralization, P2P
PeerTube, developed by the French company Framasoft, is a decentralized video streaming platform that uses the BitTorrent protocol to share bandwidth between users.
At present, the number of users of PeerTube has exceeded 60,000, and the number of video views has exceeded 15 million.
Features: decentralized, open source
Diaspora was founded by a group of New York University students and was one of the earliest decentralized social networks. It was created to fight against Facebook. As a distributed social network, Diaspora does not own anyone’s data, and user data is in its own hands.
According to public reports, Diaspora was released in 2010. After the founder committed suicide in 2011, the follow-up progress of the project was slow.
Features: decentralization, blockchain
Dtube is the blockchain version of YouTube, and its interface is very similar to YouTube.
Like most blockchain-based social networks, Dtube launched DTube Coins (DTC). When someone watches or interacts, the creator can earn tokens.
Benchmarking: WhatsApp, Facebook, Messenger
Features: open source
Signal uses its own open source protocol “Signal Protocol” to provide an encrypted chat service, which does not track or share user data.
Signal is well-known, largely derived from the support of Edward Snowden (a former employee of the CIA), and then became popular again because of Musk’s related tweets.
4. Will Aave succeed?
Although there are many decentralized social media in the market, few are well-known by users, and there is no decentralized solution that has successfully replaced Twitter.
In July last year, Voice (running on the EOS blockchain), which was launched amidst anticipation, has since faded out of sight. At that time, Voice attracted much attention from the market, and once attracted the founder of Ethereum V God to participate in the internal test. Today, BM, the founder of the project, has resigned (he said that the platform is “not immune to the pressure of censorship”), and the platform has also announced that it will be temporarily closed in order to transform into an NFT-based social platform.
In a centralized market, Twitter, which hopes to “revolutionize itself”, is also struggling on the road of decentralized social media. In December 2019, the Twitter CEO revealed that a small independent team of five open source architects, engineers, and designers is being formed to develop an open and decentralized social media standard “Bluesky”, which Twitter will use. One of many applications of standard protocols. However, to this day, the standard is still being created.
The wasteland of decentralized social media has never been successfully cultivated, so will Aave’s involvement open up a new situation for the market?
When talking about new projects, the founder of Aave mentioned that user-posted content will be monetized. In a decentralized system, monetizing user behavior can indeed provide incentives, and of course this is also part of the operation of the system. However, the establishment of any decentralized system must not rely solely on currency. It should be the result of comprehensive thinking in terms of governance, voting, identity, incentives, and platform structure. In addition, the aforementioned decentralized social platforms such as Minds actually have built-in tokens, but this still does not help them attract and reach more users.
Content (behavior) monetization is a sufficient condition for the establishment of decentralized social media, but it is not the only key factor leading the platform to success. After all, in addition to economic incentives, user habits are still deeply affecting users’ willingness to move from centralized social media to decentralized platforms. This is almost equivalent to a process of “rebuilding and tearing down”, requiring users to rebuild their network of relationships.
However, in the description of the founder of Aave, we see that its new project will “allow anyone to build a new user experience by using the same on-chain social graph and data.” Although it is not clear about the specific details of this part, if bold guesses, it may support users to build social circles based on their own chain data. If this is the case, users will be able to establish a new blockchain network.
Aside from speculation about new projects, Aave, as the head protocol of the DeFi lending market, naturally has market advantages when opening up new areas, which can more or less bring certain potential users to it. In addition, if AAVE tokens are built into the content monetization design, this may bring potential upward momentum to the tokens; if new tokens are added, the market may experience FOMO sentiment as usual.
It is worth noting that after bidding farewell to Voice, BM has now started to team up to develop a new social project Clarion. If the new project of the founder of Aave is launched at the same time, the market may blow up the trend of decentralized social media.
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