As technology advances, so does social media. A new wave known as Web3 is emerging, ready to revolutionize how we connect and share information online. Web3 social networks are decentralized, built on blockchains rather than controlled by individual companies. Its goal is to give users greater control, privacy, and security. For those concerned with issues like data misuse, biased algorithms, and content control on today’s mainstream platforms, Web3 could be the future of social media.
What are decentralized social networks?
Many decentralized social networks exist as alternatives to established social media services, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Medium. Decentralized social networks are blockchain-based platforms that allow users to exchange information, as well as publish and distribute content to their audiences. No single entity owns or operates them, therefore user data and digital assets belong to individuals rather than platforms. Content is not subject to sudden removals or censorship due to algorithms from a central authority.
The rise of decentralized social media platforms
In recent years, many people consider decentralized social networks to be a liberating alternative. As issues like a lack of privacy, opaque data use, and biased content moderation on popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter sparked further outrage, blockchain-based networks gained more interest. Major centralized social media platforms store large amounts of user data on centralized servers, making them vulnerable to hacking and exploitation. However, with Web3 platforms using blockchain technology to prevent unauthorized changes, Web3 can offer greater security and permanence. Furthermore, blockchain technology has brought transformative benefits not only to decentralized social media platforms, but also to financial inclusion and empowerment. CoinEx is a reputable global exchange with no recorded accidents that aims to protect user assets. For example, if someone is interested in investing in a new cryptocurrency that could change the world of decentralized social media, they can sign up with CoinEx, fund their account, and buy the cryptocurrency, knowing that their money and assets will be safe. Decentralized social media systems view users as those who have full control over their data and experience. Consider Kathy, a freelance journalist who has been constantly following the political climate in her country. She is concerned about the increasing censorship and repression on major social media platforms. Her accounts or her posts that discuss sensitive topics may suddenly be removed or restricted. Kathy is looking for an alternative where she can share her articles and opinions without fear of retaliation. She discovers a decentralized social media platform that uses blockchain technology that allows her to share and circulate her articles, videos, and comments openly without tampering or interference.
How do decentralized social media platforms work?
Decentralized social networks use blockchain technology to build open and secure platforms for sharing information. By using the distributed ledger technology known as blockchain, which stores data across multiple nodes, it is nearly impossible to change or delete content without detection. This allows users to maintain control over their details. In contrast, traditional social media platforms are powered by databases that store user data, code, and other items in one place. However, this creates single points of failure and introduces significant risks. For example, Facebook’s servers were famously offline for hours in 2021, leaving users disconnected from the platform. Decentralized social networks exist on a peer-to-peer network made up of thousands of nodes around the world. Even if some nodes fail, the network will continue to function without interruption, making applications resilient to failures and outages. Imagine Joe, an avid traveler who loves to share his experiences on social media. Recently, he posted a photo from his last trip on a decentralized platform. Instead of being stored on a single server controlled by a company, Joe’s photos are stored on multiple nodes on the network. This means that even if one node is compromised, the photo remains secure and accessible on all other nodes, ensuring its integrity and availability. In addition to increased security, decentralized platforms offer users greater control over their data and online experience. Users can choose how their content is moderated, opting for community-driven models or custom algorithms that align with their values and preferences. This fosters a more diverse and inclusive online environment, where different opinions and perspectives can coexist.
Examples of Decentralized Social Media Platforms
Here are some examples that show the potential of Web3 to transform online interactions:
Mastodon: Mastodon is an open source and decentralized alternative to Twitter that allows users to share short messages called “toots”. The platform operates in a federated system, where users can join or create independent servers called “instances” that share content within their community and with other instances. This allows users to tailor their online experience and avoid the problems of centralized moderation.
Steemit: Steemit operates as an alternative to Reddit, rewarding users with cryptocurrency for posting and rating content. It is a blockchain-based social media and blogging platform that works on a decentralized system, where users vote on the value of content and distribute rewards accordingly. Users who contribute high-quality content and curate posts can earn STEEM tokens. This incentive model promotes equity and transparency. In addition, STEEM is available for trading on some of the world’s most recognized cryptocurrency exchanges, such as CoinEx, one of the friendliest for new cryptocurrency users that offers a simplified and easy-to-use interface.
Minds: Minds is an open source decentralized network built on Ethereum, offering an alternative to Facebook and Twitter. Users can earn cryptocurrency tokens called Minds Tokens for engaging with content and spending tokens to promote posts or support other creators. The platform also features end-to-end encrypted messaging to protect privacy.
The future of social networks in the age of Web3
Imagine small business owners who want to promote their products on social media. On a decentralized platform, they can directly invest in promoting their content using tokens native to the platform, thus avoiding relying on advertising algorithms controlled by centralized entities. This allows them to more effectively and transparently reach their target audience, fostering a more equitable online marketplace. As decentralized networks gain acceptance, social networks will diversify to become more transparent, inclusive, and resistant to censorship. While Web3 is not perfect, with technical limitations, moderation uncertainty, and a steep learning curve, decentralized platforms are building an alternative with the goal of empowering users and communities. By giving control and voice, Web3 could transform social media from a threat to a resource for relationships, shared purpose, and the common good in the future.