Social media has alway been the cornerstone of the internet, although it’s not always been called social media. If you’re of an age, like me, you’ll probably remember dialling onto the internet to discuss some novel subject in a forum or chat room with complete strangers. These were some of the most enjoyable conversation I’ve had. And at the centre there was freedom to be as honest and as open as you wanted with zero recourse. And no, we weren’t trying to be criminals, social activist or immoral, mostly we were talking about music, films and video games. You should also know, that loading images was near impossible on 56k internet.
The idea of someone external looking in on our conversation wasn’t even a thought, and the need for decentralisation was already happening. As things progressed, and with each update, systems got better and better and more convenient to use. Government passed communication bills and tech companies took control, a handshake to dominate the narrative and conversation. All under the guise of stopping criminals and protecting citizens.
So, here we are, back at a nostalgic fork in the road. Continue on the path and reduce our freedoms and privacy or use the advancements in cryptography to emulate the original principles of Tim Berners-Lee World Wide Web.
The emergence of a new P2P web
The talk of a decentralised internet is yet another fake narrative. Determined by the same profit models that came out of web2. But there’s an evolution, the non-custodial web. Where you control your data and content. Where no centralised server holds meta-data on you and your activities. And no middle man profits or takes a percentage of your content or intellectual properties.
A recent podcast called “Decentralised social media – From co-founding Tinder and Bumble to the blockchain” summed up how web2 aims to deal with this threat.
This was an interesting discussion and completely relevant based on the release of Bison Relay. Although they are saying the right decentralised words. What you’re hearing, is web2 wrapped in web3 talk, but it’s the same outcome. They are trying to find ways of generating funds from their users content and activities.
Current profit models will fail when they come up against a non-custodial model. The only barrier is convenience. In the interview, they said they had no problem with paying the 30% to Apple to operate. A telling point, if you aren't concerned about the 30%, how do you intend to recoup? Selling your Data, Advertising, Product placement and Content commissions.
I thought the bit about every community being a DAO was interesting? Who distributes the tokens and at what value?
The future is paved with promises
I think the next two years will be a race for centralised products to build out their new “decentralised” offerings. The social media world now realises that a crypto payment gateway is the cornerstone for a successful product. Most will aim to maintain a custodial wallet and have means to generate funds from users content and activity. More of the same, but under a new name.
Ultimately, Bison Relay has raised the bar by offering a Lightning Network solution that is non-custodial. The fact that it works exceptionally well in its first release is breathtaking. With this in mind, it’s hard for me to remain grounded and not think about what the future might offer.
What could the future hold:
- Non-custodial payment gateway (Done)
- Peer to peer direct messaging (Done)
- News feeds and public messaging boards (Done)
- Communities and groups (Done)
- Peer to peer tipping (Done)
- Personal and public content areas
- User created paid content, courses, pay walls and subscriptions-based services
- Digital marketplaces
- Decred’s own wikipedia
- Integration with DCRDEX
- A register tab for bricks and mortar merchants
- Social gaming
- Gamification and reputation
When you start thinking about the possibilities, it’s hard not to get excited. Jake and his team have front-run the competition, and based on the concern trolling I’m seeing today on web2 social media, they are mad as hell!
Well done guys, Bison Relay is an outstanding product!