Blockchain Could Solve Social Media’s Problems

March 9, 2018 - 4 minutes read

By now, you’ve probably heard of blockchain technology. Thrust into the spotlight last year, blockchain development forms the backbone of popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. In fact, many celebrated facets of Bitcoin are actually due to blockchain — security, decentralization, and validation all stem from this technology.

But blockchain is quickly growing out of its cryptocurrency niche to disrupt other industries and fields. One surprising candidate is social media. And if it receives the blockchain treatment, how we interact digitally will never be the same again.

Common Shortcomings Across Industries

At the start of 2017, most people dismissed the term ‘blockchain’ as just another funny-sounding buzzword making the rounds in San Francisco developer communities. But as the year progressed and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin went on a rollercoaster of skyrocketing and plummeting price points, blockchain began to emerge in the foreground.

It didn’t take long for tech pioneers and established enterprises to posit possibilities for the technology in other fields: IoT, AI, entertainment, business, you name it, and someone’s probably cooking up an idea for how blockchain can enter that industry.

Usually, these solutions address some sort of discrepancy revolving around inequality of control. It’s a problem that transcends categorization, but the reasons for this issue’s rise to prominence differs from industry to industry. A great example of this is modern entertainment. Even if you’re a cable cord cutter, platforms like Netflix and YouTube probably have quite a heavy hand in dictating what you consume. Similarly, a handful of organizations like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, and Snapchat control how you socialize at the end of the day.

And while these entities may have become ‘too big to fail,’ they’re still not too big to disrupt. That’s where blockchain comes in.

Changing Content Consumption, Access, and Authentication

Currently, there are already a few blockchain endeavors in progress to reshape social media. They revolve around content consumption, access, and authentication.

Kik, a chat app known for its popularity with teens, recently launched Kin, a cryptocurrency aimed to incentivize users to create value for the Kik network. The main objective is to generate real-world economic value by building an in-app marketplace where users can sell services to others and brands can directly advertise to users. While not proven to work yet, it does offer an option to evening the playing field between app users and the app itself.

As mentioned, major social platforms do limit our scope of what we get to see. But around the world, many governments do this to their citizens in much more stringent ways. DECENT is a company utilizing blockchain and cryptocurrency to decentralize content. Similar to Kin, users can sell and buy content from one another without fear of any possible censorship or other repercussions.

Of course, one of the biggest issues with social media nowadays is the spread of fake content. AI and machine learning now allow for the creation of fake news and videos that appear uncannily real. Prover is a startup that’s working on a video verification platform which runs on blockchain. Social media giants like Facebook have had trouble dealing with propaganda and false information. Prover hopes to bring trust back to content by validating each new video that gets uploaded to its platform.

Social media has become an integral part of modern society, but everyone can admit that it has some problems in dire need of a solution. Blockchain can offer more than most people are currently aware of.

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