Сentralised social networks were a common sense until recently.
In Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and others users are somewhat directed to consume particular content. Organic reach constantly loses power opening the way for paid promotions. Armies of bots and fake accounts raise hugely filling our news feeds with forced content. Some may admit it becomes more like delving into garbage.
Creators spend time and effort to deliver quality content. Sadly, traditional social networks don’t recognise and reward them. Quality content attracts new users, generates huge advertising revenues, while for creators being rewarded somehow is sort of a private business. Personal data gathering and constant tracking raise many questions after the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica news that many thought about to delete Facebook. If you deleted Facebook probably you continue to use Instagram which belongs to Facebook. How can you replace these social networks if you don’t like to write but have some visuals to share?
Visual-based social networks on a blockchain are evolving as the high potential is seen contemplating 800 millions of monthly active Instagram users who strive to share visual content. A few significant developments prepare to traverse the 1st known working visual-based social network application in the nearest future: Steepshot, APPICS, SocialX and Lit.
Steepshot and APPICS built on Steemit blockchain. SocialX and Lit build their own blockchains. If you didn’t hear about Steemit take a look at their reward system based on 3 cryptocurrencies: STEEM, Steem Dollars and Steem Power — each with own purpose.
The concept named Steemstagram was presented at SteemFest 2016 in Amsterdam. Project aims to focus on quality content and bring more people from Instagram to Steem community. Steepshot beta versions already available for Android and iOS devices. You can also use the alpha web version.
According to team’s marketing research up to 53–74% of people would definitely use Instagram-like application that rewards users. Steepshot's reward system is simple: users post content or comment and get SBD depending on their popularity among the network.
Application pretty much reminds of Instagram. There are Home screen with your feed, Trending content screen (divided in Hot, New, Top), Take photo/Upload button and My Profile. User profile pulls up from original Steemit account, showing the total balance and value of each post.
The interaction with Steepshot somewhat depends on Steemit as they are both connected. Once user edited a Steemit profile it will be automatically updated on Steepshot too. If user is following someone’s blog on Steemit he/she’ll be automatically following their Steepshot content if they post any (and vice versa). Everything user posts on Steepshot appears on Steemit blog. The Steemit voting system and users power may be an obstacle for being discovered for the new users with history and reputation gained.
Team constantly releases new features and post the latest updates in a blog. The recent ones give user an ability to post short videos and to promote posts.
APPICS is on its early development stage in cooperation with Steemit Inc. The team raised around $4 millions during the ICO this year. Unlike Steepshot APPICS designed to operate with own token named XAP (a Smart Media token type) on top of the Steem blockchain. With such a move application promises to bring some innovations into current Steemit algorithm.
First, buying or earning XAP token brings a greater influence without building an audience. The more XAPs user holds the more power he/she has. Second, a marketplace for brands will allow to sell items directly from APPICS via token. Third, there will be up to 15 content categories for creators if they want to be discovered. Each category will have a director or representative, “who has built a reputation and audience on other social media platforms”. Representatives will be chosen via community voting.
Roughly speaking, XAP token can help APPICS network to become less dependable on Steemit algorithm. Instead of having a prior reputation on Steemit someone can buy XAP to deal with it. In general, this will form another layer of power users. No drastic changes but this is a chance if you strive. The biggest concern is the group of curators to choose the best content for users. Currently team accepts submissions from influencers and brands to join the network.
Revenue will be distributed among all contributing parties: 65% for the content creator, 25% for the voters or curators, 10% remaining will sustain the network. The app is not ready for public usage but you can send a request for early access at APPICS website.
The SocialX ecosystem takes the social media experience to the next level.
SocialX has own blockchain, more privacy features and can be used not only for photo and video sharing, but sending encrypted messages, making payments, livestreaming and selling licenses for creative content. SocialX target is emphasize social interactions rather than just visuals posting.
ICO has finished in January 2018 and raised $2,2 millions in ETH.
SocialX team will adopt an upvoting system but promise to implement it with changes which brings hope to increase social network transparency. Voting system should also allow and disallow certain ads to generate more revenue for the SocialX community as rewards. Small governance system will check images regarding license abuse or content suitability. According to SocialX website they plan a prepaid debit card to spend earned rewards at partners, for example, to buy a coffee at Starbucks.
As mentioned in the white paper team doesn’t plan to let people exchange assets into SOCX tokens in the SocialX ecosystem but via exchanges directly to other ERC-20 tokens. Team focuses on transparency and decentralization so they took a step and published an open-source code recently. One of the other features towards transparency is cutting an ability to buy influence.
Currently SocialX app is in the mid-Beta test. You can request an ealy access here. Team also mentioned in the blog to announce new bounty programs in the nearest future. If you are interested, check the prototype beforehand. It shows all necessary features to be available in the app.
Lit shares the same vision and values of the emerging social networks on a blockchain: creators should have an ability to monetize their content in a more feasible ways and crypto makes it easier. Mithril calls it Social Mining. To make this come true Mithril Inc. launched Mithril (MITH) in the early spring of 2018. Basically, MITH is an utility token and a fuel for the decentralized social media platform based on Ethereum blockchain. MITH probably more familiar around crypto communities than the Lit app. You can trade this token on 18 exchanges.
For the launch Lit prepared all the typical features of visual-based social networks in addition to content sharing such as instant messaging, story feeds and discovering new friends. Users who contribute Stories to the Lit platform get rewards in MITH. To store it, use or exchange Mithril provided the Mithril Vault — a platform to sync, stake and trade MITH for BTC or ETH. According to the white paper Mithril wants to integrate in existing and new social networks without hassles, seamlessly and provide everyone an opportunity to monetize own fame.
There are many reasons to try social networks on a blockchain instead of Instagram. The new generation platforms avoid users tracking and data gathering to increase personal security. They reduce advertising significantly or don’t provided such features at all. While traditional social networks can even use microphones in people’s smartphones, decentralized platforms use encryption to prevent intruding into private life.