What will be the decentralized social media that Aave and Twitter want to do?

When that famous Poly Network attackers take many hours and high transfer fees, through dialogue with the public on the chain of trade rumors, he proposed that the Ethernet Square network into a truly anonymous Twitter or WhatsApp. This idea may be gradually realized.

Author | Richard Lee

For a long time, social media is no longer a good space to promote public dialogue and discussion. The giants of centralized network platforms have complete control over the retention of content. At the same time, the risk of users’ privacy leakage has been criticized.

Through decentralized networks, returning private data and content censorship rights to users is what many teams have been doing in recent years. In 2016, the decentralized content sharing platform Steemit running on the Steem blockchain network was released; in July 2020, Block.one launched the decentralized social media application Voice; outside the encrypted community, the decentralized social media application Mastodon It was once popular, and it was on the hot search on Twitter.

However, these attempts are far from achieving the same level of success as traditional centralized social media. The Steem community is split, and Voice is shut down and transformed into an NFT creation and trading platform. Mastodon, which relies on a similar interface to Twitter, has achieved greater success. At present, its registered users have exceeded 4.4 million, but there is still a big gap between the number of users and the activity level of Twitter.

The teams of Twitter, Aave, and EOS founder BM have all been running on this track this year.

As the object of decentralized social media transformation, Twitter proposed the BlueSky blue sky plan in 2019 to decentralize the current highly centralized platform. “Our goal is to become a client of this standard, used in the public dialogue layer of the Internet.” Twitter founder Jack Dorsey said.

Recently, Bluesky announced that it would operate independently. Jay Graber, the early developer of Zcash, officially took the lead of the project. Mask Network, Audius, Mastodon, etc. became the first community projects, and the overall development progress was significantly accelerated.

In July of this year, the founder of Aave also disclosed on Twitter for the first time that he is developing a decentralized social media and plans to launch its product within this year.

Aave’s social media strategy

When Stani Kulechov, the founder of Aave, announced on Twitter in July this year that Aave would build an Ethereum version of Twitter, it was not just talking.

It is understood that this head DeFi project is building a decentralized social media protocol based on Ethereum, which will act as an infrastructure-allowing anyone to create social media applications like Youtube and Snapchat on the protocol . At the same time, the first social application created by the Aave team based on the agreement, the “decentralized version of Twitter”, is planned to be launched within this year.

Jordan Lazaro Gustave, co-founder of Aave, is mainly responsible for the project. According to The Block report, more than half of the Aave team members (about 30 people) are currently involved in this project.

The centralized content censorship of traditional social media and the platform’s monopoly on revenue are the reasons that triggered Aave to create a new agreement. “Twitter gets all the income from the tweets you post and the content you share. Twitter uses algorithms to determine which of your content gets attention.” Kuechov said in an interview with Decrypt.

According to Kulechov, in Aave’s decentralized version of Twitter, users will be able to realize “monetization of content”, that is, content monetization, through the cryptocurrency transaction function. At the same time, users will have a unified identity and social relationship graph at the protocol level, ensuring that their fans will not be lost when users switch between different applications.

Kulechov said on Twitter that the agreement will be “monetized by default” and will not use a social token model. At that time, each registered user can attach his own Ethereum wallet. However, Kulechov also told The Block that the project will not issue tokens or achieve “monetization” as soon as it is launched.

In terms of data storage, the Interplanetary File System (IPFS) will be the main storage site for content information such as text, audio, and video. At the same time, the transaction information of the project will be stored on Ethereum, and the agreement will use the roll-up Layer 2 solution to execute transactions on the second layer, and periodically send transaction information back to Ethereum in batches to deal with Ethereum owners. The short-term throughput of online transactions is low, and the gas fee is high.

However, there is also a risk of privacy leakage. Anyone can access any information stored on Ethereum or IPFS at the protocol level. The solution provided by the Aave protocol is that a single social application can establish a separate database on the basis of the Aave protocol, store the user’s personal information and other private data, and set access permissions.

Kulechov revealed to The Block that no content censorship mechanism will be set up at the protocol level, and social media applications based on the protocol can introduce their own content censorship rules. In addition, Kulechov also encourages the construction of a cryptocurrency as an incentive content review protocol based on the Aave social media protocol, giving users a “net net” motivation such as reporting fake accounts.

Twitter’s Bluesky blueprint

In December 2019, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced the establishment of the Bluesky plan, which aims to create a decentralized open source social media protocol to provide an open and decentralized standard for social media development. Based on this standard, recommendation algorithms and content review mechanisms will be in the hands of users, not private platform giants such as Twitter and Facebook.

It has been nearly two years since the announcement date, and Bluesky only recently announced the establishment of an independent entity and confirmed the team leader. Yisi, CTO of Mask Network, one of the first community projects announced by Bluesky, told Chaincatcher that it has been impossible to determine the person in charge of the project, which is a major reason why Bluesky has not started.

During this period, the first work Bluesky completed was a 60-page review of the current decentralized social ecosystem. Starting in February 2020, Bluesky will take the lead and convene a group of 40-50 people to sort out existing protocols and decentralized social media applications and their respective advantages and disadvantages.

Yisi told the chain catcher that the group not only includes practitioners from the decentralized community, but also includes the inventors of some traditional protocols. Everyone investigates and discusses the design of existing protocols in preparation for the real design of Bluesky in the future.

At the beginning of this year, Bluesky released the document. In August, Bluesky announced the establishment of an entity, independent of Twitter, and announced that the team leader is Jay Graber, the early developer of the privacy cryptocurrency project Zcash.

Jay Graber had previously created his own decentralized social media application Happening, but Graber eventually abandoned the project. According to Graber to Techcrunch, the reason was that the project was blocked in attracting potentially interested users. And Twitter’s own audience traffic is also a major reason why Graber chose to join the Bluesky plan.

“The real power of Twitter’s decentralized protocol attempt is that if you can design an ideal protocol, you don’t have to cultivate a user base from scratch, because Twitter will bring a lot of users.” Grabe said.

But on the other hand, Twitter, as a centralized social media overlord, has been questioning its motives for launching Bluesky. When Jack launched Bluesky in 2019, he mentioned that Twitter hopes to use this protocol to disperse the pressure it has been facing in content review. But Mastodon, a well-known decentralized social media official, once commented after the release of the Bluesky news: “This is an announcement of the establishment of a protocol that Twitter can control, just like Google controls Android.”

In this regard, Jack said in January this year that Twitter is only acting as a funder of Bluesky and “will not control.”

Currently Bluesky is still in the team building stage and currently only recruits one senior protocol developer and one front-end developer. Recruitment information shows that the work content of the protocol developer includes collecting requirements, designing solutions, and “researching and contributing to existing protocols and standards.”

Whether the Bluesky protocol will introduce blockchain or cryptocurrency is the focus of attention. According to Yisi’s observation, many people in the Bluesky research group are more resistant to blockchain and cryptocurrency, but Yisi also stated that the community “never rejected the blockchain” and also depends on the opinions of Jay Graber and Jack.

As we all know, Jack himself is an avid enthusiast of Bitcoin . When he announced the plan in 2019, he also explicitly mentioned the blockchain: “The emergence of new technologies makes decentralized methods more feasible. A series of decentralized solutions for open and durable custody, governance and even monetization.”

And Jay Graber has done a systematic review of this. In a Medium blog in early 2020, she concluded: “Storing volatile and short-lived data (such as user posts) on the blockchain is an important part of global distribution. Improper use of the ledger, but the use of blockchain to manage identity may be a good direction.” In addition, she also said that some of the functions that may be controversial and difficult to track in a full P2P network, such as “like” counting, etc. Can be placed on the blockchain.

After Bluesky completes the formation of the team, it will enter the “mechanism design” stage. Whether the above-mentioned views will be implemented in the final agreement is unknown.

In terms of the specific protocol design, Yisi revealed to the chain catcher that identity and social graph are one of the focuses of Bluesky’s initial research and experimentation. In addition, JayGraber also said in an interview with Techcrunch that how to achieve better, non-single-source content review is also the focus of Bluesky.

Recently, Bluesky has announced the first batch of community projects, including decentralized social networks Mastodon, manyver.se, Planetary, Iris, encrypted chat tool Element, peer-to-peer browser BeakerBrowser, video conferencing tool Meeting, video playback tool Watchit, music streaming platform Audius, and the Web 3.0 privacy and data protection project Mask Network, etc.

Yisi told the chain catcher that in the short term, the batch of projects has no substantial cooperation with Bluesky. At present, it only serves as a showcase for co-signing with Bluesky, helping interested users experience existing products and services, and has an intuitive view of decentralized networks. impression. But Yisi also said that after Bluesky releases the beta version of the agreement in the future, Mask Network and others are willing to try to access the network.

The worries of “content monetization”: Are you pursuing a dialogue or an attention economy?

Aave and Twitter started a dispute over an agreement. The big difference between the two is that the Aave protocol is sufficient for the Ethereum ecosystem, and it is suspected that crypto enthusiasts are the target audience. Bluesky may rely on the advantages of Twitter to seek a wider range of mainstream users.

Another difference is that based on the information currently disclosed by StaniKulechov, Aave seems to be more inclined to build a more “attention economy friendly” decentralized social media network.

On the one hand, when Kulechov talked about the advantages of the Aave protocol over centralized media platforms, he repeatedly emphasized that based on a unified identity and a consistent social relationship map at the protocol level, users will be able to “own” their own audiences, and content monetization will not be limited. On a single platform. On the other hand, Kulechov also revealed in an interview: “Ultimately, every creator can allow their followers to vote on the type of content published through DAO.” This move may devolve the choice of content production to The possibility of the audience.

It is not known whether Bluesky has a “monetization” related plan, but its head Jay Graber has expressed doubts on the Medium blog. She believes that content monetization will make user behaviors obviously driven by monetary incentives and become unnatural. “Ideally, currency should be the facilitator, not the driver of interaction,” she said.

Steemit may be a typical failure of “content monetization” for social media. According to Steemit rules, users who create posts with high voting rates can get rewards from the reward pool, but voting power is measured by reputation, and reputation is accumulated by the age of website registration. Therefore, early users of Steemit have greater voting rights and monopolize The right to select and motivate content.

At present, Steemit and its forked community HiveBlog have basically become money-making tools, filled with mediocre and repetitive content, such as a common-sense message “People who sit for 8 hours a day are more likely to have a stroke. “7 times as much” received a high vote on Steemit and was ranked on the homepage.

At the end of last year, Daniel Larimer, the founder of Steemit, also announced a new plan for decentralized social media Clarion. In order to learn from the lessons of Steemit and Voice, Clarion will not introduce a blockchain network, but may adopt a P2P protocol to strive for the ideal. Centralization level and censorship resistance.

Do users need a unified identity and social relationship?

In the future decentralized social media network, whether we will maintain a unique identity and unified social relationship in different social applications is also worthy of attention.

The Aave team made it clear that users will have a unified identity and social relationship graph at the agreement level, but whether users have the right to refuse this feature when using specific applications is still unknown.

“Owning your own audience” is the empowerment of content creators by social media agreements. However, not everyone is a KOL, and the needs may be diverse.

In Yisi’s view, the identity in the cyber digital world should not only be unique, but should be determined according to the user’s own wishes. “Because we (in real life) also have social identities and social relationships. I am the same me in front of you, and I am another person in front of my family.” Yisi said that the so-called “identity” is actually It is personality, “We should allow such different personalities to appear on decentralized social media.”

Yisi also revealed that when the Bluesky research group talked about account creation and identity, most people agreed with the idea that users should be given the right to choose-the user decides to enjoy or reject the social relationship graph. However, whether this concept has become a deterministic principle of the Bluesky team in the design of the agreement is still unknown.

What will be the decentralized social media that Aave and Twitter want to do?

On August 19, shortly after the Bluesky entity was announced, StaniKulechov, the founder of Aave, posted a picture of a purple sky on Twitter, and marked Twitter and Jack in the picture, and said, “The sky is purple.” (Note: Aave loge color is purple, Bluesky logo color is blue)


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