Blockchain 15: Blockchain & Society

Peer-to-peer networked forms of social organization have always been there from the earliest days, however, previously they have remained the domain of the local and the personal as they do not scale well without supporting communications technology.

Throughout the modern era, formal hierarchical social structures came to replace informal communities as the dominant organizational paradigm. It is only in the past decades that we have seen the emergence of a new form of social structure that reverses this process, the social network. With the advent of blockchain technologies, these forms of distributed organization are presented with an opportunity to sustain more and more areas of social life, establishing themselves as a core pillar of a world where peer-to-peer is the way forward.

Blockchain 8: Distributed Applications

A Dapp is an application that runs on a network in a distributed fashion with participant information securely protected and operations executed in a decentralized fashion across a network of nodes. Dapps use open source code, operate autonomously with data and records cryptographically stored on a blockchain

Social Privacy and Immutable Distribution

The problem of “whales,” or outsized influencers on blockchain media, such as Steemit, is well known. Few people with lots of social clout can disproportionately support or demote other perspectives. Such is antithetic to the ideals of decentralization but has come about as a way to incentive early adopters to help promote a platform based on blockchain’s immutable distribution. This will change. It may change on Steemit in the future. But it’s already changing on other blockchain social platforms, such as Trybe. Even so, the issue of how much or how little privacy should be required in such a community is unclear. This thread touches upon a discussion of related points.

Steemit vs Trybe

In terms of time on blockchain as a social media entity, Steemit is the granddaddy and Trybe is a grandchild.  Steemit launched in March of 2016 out of NY and Trybe is brand-new in 2018, out of Australia.

They both offer the potential to incentivize content producers by providing cryptocurrency to creators whose content is liked by others.

However, Trybe offers a unique factor, which is the ability to lose cryptocurrency via down-votes for low quality. Although they have established a rule against down voting content based on disagreement (as opposed to its quality) it remains to be seen how this will work out.  Regardless, it’s at least a step in the direction of attempting to influence higher quality contributions.

Steemit is unique in that it’s created on its own Steem blockchain (and cryptocurrency), which powers other content apps, as well.

It’s also more challenging to sign up for Steemit and currently there’s a 2 week delay to become manually verified, unless you pay to be verified via a third party service.

Signing up on is straightforward.

Since Steemit is the granddaddy, it’s considerably well known in the blockchain community and at this point Trybe is not.

They both allow users with more cryptocurrency in the community to have greater weight in terms of up- or down-voting content.  Steemit is already suffering from the fact that “whales” (those who have outsized influence in the community) are already a dominant force and largely inform the popularity of posts.

Trybe is at least trying to mitigate the issue of whales.

The concept of whales is antithetical to the notion of decentralized control inherent within the blockchain community and certainly its technology.  Perhaps time may show such to be a temporary marketing initiative to drive more engagement in the early days, only to be phased out later when it will have outlived its purpose.