When social media platforms first started to appear and attract attention, they were hailed for their capacity to revolutionize the world. The optimism wasn’t contained to techies — everyone from consumers to academics and even politicians saw how social media had the ability to improve the world.
A few years into digital integration, cracks started forming. There were growing privacy concerns, the spread of misinformation, algorithmic bias, polarizing effects on societies, and even mental health implications for its users. With time, people learned to be critical of social media. Young people, for example, who use social media the most to stay on top of the news cite social media as the least trusted source of information, Gallup found.
A growing number of individuals have seen the increasingly centralized nature of social media — and the internet as a whole — as a significant contributor to these issues. For some, the solution would include a radical restructuring of social media, leading it to be decentralized.
“The massive change that is coming is the decentralization of every single major industry,” says Luke Lintz. “It started with Bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies disrupting the financial industry, and decentralization is coming to other industries, specifically the internet and social media landscape, to create web 3.0.”
Luke Lintz is the CEO of HighKey Enterprises, a public relations firm that primarily offers services in public relations, social media, influencer marketing, and traditional broadcasting. Lintz got involved early on with Bitclout, a novel blockchain.
“It didn’t have the best launch. They went back to the drawing board and fixed all the flaws with everything to do a massive relaunch,” says Lintz, explaining how Bitclout evolved into DeSo. “Bitclout was rebranded to DeSo so it could be seen as much more than an individual app and instead as a Layer 1 blockchain. A decentralized version of YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram can be built on the DeSo blockchain.”
A decentralized, blockchain-based social network offers solutions for some of the more significant problems that plague traditional social networks. With DeSo, users can retain ownership over their own data. Because data isn’t stored in a central server, decentralized social networks can offer a different data security and privacy model. A significant difference is the reduction of censorship — the lack of a central authority makes it difficult to enforce such rules. This might also make content moderation difficult if it proves to be necessary.
According to Luke Lintz, one of the most significant disruptions is the ability to monetize content and engagement in a wholly different way. “When massive changes happen, massive opportunities arise. The bigger the change, the bigger the opportunity,” he says.
“Imagine a world where your favorite online personality is akin to a stock, tradeable on a decentralized marketplace,” Jordan wrote. “The decentralized social (DeSo) framework facilitates this by letting individuals own digital creator coins and securely maintain custody through private keys. Unlike the traditional stock market, this gives power back to the hands of individual users and creators, presenting a real-time, dynamic market that mirrors a celebrity’s career trajectory.”
Jordan sees this as a trillion-dollar market just waiting to come into being, disrupting the prevalent models of revenue creation offered on traditional social media.
“The re-iteration of BitClout is launching on January 11th with the incentive to creators where they can earn layer 2 tokens, allocated based on daily posting,” Luke says. “This approach encourages more active and consistent content creation, potentially boosting user engagement on the platform.”
So far, DeSo has developed features such as the most advanced Block Explorer across the crypto industry, which makes reading the blocks easy and significantly increases transparency. They’re now transitioning from a proof of work model to a proof of stake model. This will allow users to stake their tokens much as they would with a termed deposit. And while the platform still has hurdles to clear, the Lintz brothers and their team at HighKey are optimistic and invested.
“It comes back to being fearful when others are greedy and being greedy when others are fearful, as Warren Buffer said,” Luke concludes. “Right now, no one’s talking about this. So now is a better time than ever to set ourselves up for generational wealth.”