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Hackernoon logoHow Blockchain is Solving the Biggest Problems in Social Networking by@Katalyse

How Blockchain is Solving the Biggest Problems in Social Networking

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@KatalyseKatalyse.io

It is no secret that social networking is an integral part of many people’s lives. If you are like most people, you are likely to be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and many other social networks.

While these platforms are free and offer untethered access to their services, they are plagued with many problems. Issues such as privacy, data harvesting and content censorship are a great concern to many users.

In this post, we shall explore the primary bottlenecks associated with these conventional social networks and how Blockchain technology can fix it all.

Image: rawpixel.com

So, what is the problem?

  • Control over data

Social network users currently have no control over their data. Once a user has an account on a social network it is as if they relinquish their right to their personal information and control over content. Total control is in the hands of social network owners who dictate what is to be viewed by users and what is not. And with such control, the social network platform owners are able to profit from their users without the users’ consent.

  • Privacy

If the recent Facebook data breach is anything to go by, then the current social networks are proving to have poor security. Users are susceptible to attacks which are known to expose their personal information.

  • Single Point of Failure

Because of their centralized nature, conventional social networks are vulnerable to attacks that often lead to costly losses. Hackers only have one point of attack, which ones breached they can get access to a flood of users’ information. For example, in 2012 a hacker broke into LinkedIn network and got away with some 6.5 million encrypted passwords and posted them on a Russian hacker forum. Four years later another hacker who goes by the name Peace was selling more of LinkedIn hacked user information. He claimed that the total count of data stolen from LinkedIn reached 167 million and not 6.5 million as thought before. Of which 117 million had both email and encrypted passwords.

Why Blockchain is the solution

Blockchain technology is the long-awaited cure to issues affecting the current breed of social networks. The following features are what make Blockchain technology so groundbreaking.

  • Transparency

Blockchain distributed nature eliminates the control of platforms by a single entity. And since every transaction on the Blockchain-based platform is tracked and audited by several servers and developers, it becomes impossible for anyone to tamper with the data.

  • Control over data

By eliminating intermediaries, users on decentralized social networks will own and control their data. Blockchain technology ensures that whatever you post on the social network can be traced anywhere it goes and never be duplicated. And the best part is that if you delete it, it is deleted in the whole system and no unauthorized third parties can access and benefit from it.

  • Relevant content

Once control of your social network platforms is in your hands, you get to dictate the type of content you would like to see. Therefore you don’t get unwanted advertisements on your platforms that only benefit the advertisers and not you.

  • Earning from social media activity

Blockchain-based platforms enable you and your viewers, listeners, readers, depending on the content you create, to build a direct relationship that is monetarily beneficial to you.

Which Blockchain Social Networking Platform can you use?

One platform utilising Blockchain technology to create a revolutionary social network platform is Indorse.

Indorse is a decentralized, Blockchain-powered social network platform that aims to change the way professionals interact.

By incorporating Blockchain technology, Indorse has fortified itself from the vulnerabilities associated with centralized social networks. Therefore, individuals can be assured of a safe and reliable environment of association. Using the platform, professionals will be able to share their skills and experiences and still be rewarded for it.

Indorse platform model

Currently, the following is the logic used in the Indorse platform:

  • First, you join the platform
  • Then you create your personal profile
  • Now you are eligible to make a claim for your profile to be indorsed
  • The system will randomly choose another user to indorse your claim
  • The Indorse Dapp will allow other Indorsers to send in their decisions
  • Indorsers get rewarded with Indorse tokens (IND) based on the maximum consensus reaching a threshold. But the user who gave a malicious indorsement will lose his reputation therefore likely impacting his credibility score on the platform

Now that you have a little know-how of the Indorse platform model, let’s dive deeper into how it actually works.

How Indorse works

The platform offers members two main roles of participation. You are either a claimant or a validator.

Now the first step is for the claimant to make a “claim” associated with his/her profile. The claim can either be that of a personal or professional skill (for example I am a software developer). As a claimant, every claim you make needs to be attached to one or more proofs of information (e.g., GitHub Repository, Bitbucket, etc.)

The second step is for the validator to verify the claims outside the Blockchain platform and either flag or indorse it.

Practical example

Let’s simplify the explanation further by choosing an example of members already using the Indorse platform. In this case, we shall use Jane and Mike, Jane being the claimant and Mike being the validator.

So Jane joins the Indorse network. Once she has successfully registered, Jane will be able to post one claim to her profile. The first step she will need to take is to create a unique profile identity, where she adds a claim. In her claim, Jane states that she has a programming skill that is substantiated with a public Git repository and a certificate of where she earned that skill. Finally, she submits her claim.

Now Indorse, using the Anonymous Indorsement Protocol (AIP), will randomly select a few validators to indorse Jane’s claim. At this point, Jane’s claim will enter a gestation period, which will end with a consensus of indorsements.

The randomly selected Indorse member chosen to indorse Jane’s claim (Mike), receives a notification that shows him that Jane has placed a link to her personal GitHub repository and to the verification page of her certificate. He, therefore, verifies the validity of the claim and indorses it, locking up his Indorse score.

Finally, Jane is rewarded with Indorse tokens (IND). Similarly, Mike is also rewarded with Indorse tokens.

What if a member makes wrong indorsements?

A member who makes frivolous claims (claimant) or is flagging in a dishonest way (validator), will see his/her Confidence Score reduced. However, this same member will have a chance to earn back the lost score by making correct indorsements.

Validation of a Skill

As a member, when you make a claim you will have two options for indorsements:

  1. Using the Anonymous Indorsement Protocol (AIP), a random indorsement will be given — here the Indorse platform will choose a group of random indorsers based on the degrees of separation from the member. In order for the claimant to get their skill validated, the pool of random validators will need to achieve a certain percentage of consensus to pass off the claimant’s skill as verified.
  2. Interact with an AI Chatbot and answer a series of questions where the bot will determine your level of proficiency in the specified programming language!

Anonymous Indorsement Protocol just as the name suggests is for choosing the random indorsers from the platform and keeping them anonymous

Use case

The following are avenues that can use Indorse:

Companies looking to hire — employers won’t have to rely on just the prospective candidate’s word of mouth experience and documents, but on indorsements too. The indorsements will help cement the credibility of the prospective candidate.

KYC — This is through attaching an individual’s identity, profile, and achievements to an Ethereum address in a decentralized manner.

Advertising — the data collected on Indorse will be for targeted advertising, which includes both the individual viewing the profile and the creators of the profiles too.

Freelance service — having credentials indorsed on the platform, members of the community will be able to fill contract work and jobs requests posted.

Final word

Blockchain technology will indeed be at the forefront of re-shaping the social network industry. The possibility of making it more interactive, trustworthy and one that offers a unique experience is simply too good to pass up. Being the trailblazer, Indorse aims to give ownership of data back to members & reward them for showcasing and sharing their skills to the network.

However, there is still one question that goes unanswered in this fast changing industry. Will companies like Indorse be the ones to usher in the new age of social networking or will our existing traditional networks quickly adapt their model to one that is blockchain enabled? 
Only time will tell.

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