Social Networks like Twitter and Instagram greatly influence an individual’s life and opinions these days. This gives a major responsibility to these platforms to maintain neutrality and not become a weapon of political or social agendas. In reality, however, social media has been used by ill-intentioned people to spread propaganda or certain political agenda like when Facebook was reported to have manipulated the 2016 US Elections. They are in control of public discourse and earn massive profits off of user-generated content.
We need to create a platform that removes this trusted middleman and gives power to the users and creators. A platform that does not censor the rights of an individual and provides accurate information.
Elon Musk has recently finalized the Twitter acquisition, with a goal to create a social media platform that enables free speech while being an accurate source of information. Musk is amongst the first who has tried to bring a major change to how Social media works. He is hoping to fix the problems of Twitter and create a New Era of social media.
However, to enable a censorship-resistant and incorruptible system, you require decentralization. Musk has a crypto-positive approach, which leads to the speculation of decentralizing the service and accepting cryptocurrency like Dogecoin as payment for services like Twitter’s Blue membership.
Charles Hoskinson, CEO of IOG and founder of Cardano, has proposed how Elon could create a decentralized Twitter on a Cardano sidechain and use Doge for payments. You can watch the 60-minute video here: How to Build Decentralized Twitter.
Let’s first understand the issues in creating a decentralized Twitter:
Social Networks have billions of users, and enabling a decentralized solution can lead to onboarding the masses to blockchain technology. There are a few hard problems that need to be solved to create a decentralized version of Twitter:
Twitter doesn’t require users to KYC and allows for anonymous users. This, however, allows bot-run accounts that spam Twitter with irrelevant content. A solution to spam should be able to prove proof of humanity while allowing flexibility in the information being shared.
This can be solved through solutions like Decentralized Identity DIDs and Verifiable Credentials VCs, which allow proving your identity and information in a decentralized manner. A DID is like a folder that allows you to add as many Verifiable Credentials as you want, so users can add their Age or Nationality information as required.
Various cutting-edge research like Zero-Knowledge cryptography can allow you to prove something without actually divulging any information. You could prove you are over 18 without actually divulging your age if you are not from North Korea without divulging your Nationality. This gives a way to reduce bot spam and makes it hard to impersonate anyone.
Misinformation and negative information are much more likely to spread like wildfire. Various research proves that negative and sensationalized content is much more likely to reach a wider audience. The algorithm favours this engagement, which makes social media a hostile space.
You could use a two-pronged approach to solve this problem - you could use crypto micropayments to set up bounties to fact-check, and you can use NFT-based reputation scores where misinformation can lead to a decrease in score. There could be other solutions, like putting a slashable bond where you can lose money for violating policies.
Crypto progresses fast because it allows for permissionless innovation. You can build on any chain or app without requiring permission. So, how can we translate to decentralized media?
Content curation is subjective, and a central algorithm doesn’t meet the requirement of everyone at all times. This algorithm doesn’t provide enough personalization to each user and can force users to watch irrelevant content. Let’s say Alice prefers to see content only from verified users, and Bob prefers to see content related to politics. Today, they don’t have the freedom to curate their Twitter feed but it is essential to enhance a user’s experience. You need to let users choose for themselves how to curate their feeds.
A programmable interface that lets users codify the rules of curation and only see the content they want. Third-party providers can create different content curation algorithms, opening up the space for permissionless innovation. There would be different circles based on different curation rules.
We can learn from a novel advertising model innovated by the browser - Brave. It lets users keep their data private and pays them in BAT crypto tokens for any advertisement they see. The users can curate advertisements instead of being forced to see them and get rewarded for them. This token can be used for micropayments or tips.
This is where it all ties in and how Cardano can be the best solution. Operating at this scale would not be possible on global decentralized blockchains like Doge or Ethereum. It’s, however, easy to build as a Sidechain on Cardano.
A Cardano sidechain can utilize a fast consensus mechanism like Narwhal and Tusk to process up to 600,000 transactions per second. The sidechain can borrow the security from Cardano by utilizing the decentralized Stake Pool Operator network of 3000+ operators.
Cardano has spent years working on infrastructure for DIDs and VCs to provide verification-as-a-service with the help of third parties.
But where does Dogecoin fit into this story? For this, we have to understand Musk and Doge.
As the first meme coin ever created, Dogecoin has a strong community worldwide and has received strong endorsement from Elon Musk. Unlike other types of crypto, meme coin’s concept is way easier to understand, most likely because it often doesn’t have a concept at all and is purely viral-based. As peculiar as it sounds, this has sparked huge public interest, hence bringing more people to blockchain and crypto.
In one of his Dogecoin-related tweets, Musk even touted Dogecoin as People’s Crypto!
Musk had also hinted that Dogecoin would be included in the social media network after he takes control of it before completing the takeover of Twitter. He has not yet provided details about his ambitions for the meme coin. Rumors even suggested utilizing $DOGE to pay for things on Twitter, just like Elon Musk does for Tesla products.
So, where does Doge fit in?
For the decentralized social network, $DOGE can serve as the native token which can be utilized for payments by users. You can utilize doge to pay for services or to send tips. it can serve as the de facto currency.
Cardano is faster and more reliable than Dogecoin. It can handle smart contracts, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), decentralized applications, and financial protocols.
Dogecoin would acquire functionalities like smart contracts and NFTs in exchange for getting used to its new existence as a sidechain of Cardano. In other words, Dogecoin can be supercharged as a token on a Cardano sidechain.
Social media has to maintain the delicate balance of curation and free speech. Today, social media is a closed box, but true decentralization can allow for an open, permissionless network that empowers users. It provides censorship resistance and immutability while still holding people accountable.
There is a real chance of building a decentralized Twitter that fulfills these requirements. A Cardano Sidechain with Dogecoin as the people’s currency,