Social networks have risen to prominence over the past decade, with now household names like Facebook (FB) and Twitter (TWTR) most prominent. Some critics, however, have been troubled by the centralized nature of these social networks, where a single company controls the aggregation and distribution of information and media. This has led some to look to blockchain technology, a decentralized, secure network structure – the same technology that has enables Bitcoin to operate. Using this same technology, developers are hoping to create completely decentralized, open-access, Democratic social networks. The latest of which is Akasha, which will utilize the smart-contract optimized Ethereum blockchain.
Akasha, A Decentralized Social Network
Truly peer to peer social networks are lauded for the promise of being democratic, uncensored, and permanent. A central authority cannot come in and bloc a user, delete posts or promote certain information over others. In the P2P setup, users themselves would vote posts up and down based on their merit. Adding this idea to a blockchain backbone adds a digital money incentive to creating meaningful, compelling content where authors are rewarded with up-votes. For Akasha, for example, a highly liked article would accrue units of the Ethereum digital currency, Ether (ETH). One ETH currently is worth around $11 on cryptocurrency exchanges.
According to industry new outlet Cryptocoinsnews.com, Akasha is in alpha testing as of January of this year, using a testnet version of Ethereum. Cryptocoinsnews acaully downloaded the alpha version and gave it a test drive. They report that installation was easy and that the service itself has an intuitive graphic user interface. To prevent “signal noise” in terms of fake or suspicious voting activity, Akasha will employ a so-called quadratic voting system that can provide not only an up- or down-vote, but also signal how strong that vote is.
Akasaha is not the first P2P social network to use blockchain, although it appears to be the first to have a testable interface using Ethereum. Steemit uses its own independent blockchain, with its own internal cryptocurrency incentive structure, known as Steem.