There’s been a lot of drama on crypto twitter over the last 48 hours that stems from a tweet that Jack Dorsey put out basically implying that he believes Ethereum is a scam (I broke down this drama here). Now, this isn’t the first time Jack has acted with hostility towards Ethereum and I’m sure it won’t be the last but today’s piece isn’t focusing on that drama - today’s piece is focusing on how Ethereum can disrupt Jack/Twitter’s favoritism towards Bitcoin.
As many of you would be aware of by now, Aave is currently developing its own social media protocol on Ethereum that aims to be credibly neutral, decentralized and web3-native. This is a very ambitious goal and not something that’s going to be able to be built overnight, but if the Aave team gets this right then they stand to really change the game in a space that’s typically been plagued by issues stemming from centralization and gatekeeping.
I’ve actually been quite bearish on the idea of decentralized social media platforms for quite a while. The ones that have existed in the past such as Steem have been plagued with issues - namely, it’s full of really low quality content because people are just posting random stuff to earn money off of. On top of that, there’s upvote buying, bots everywhere and whales who manipulate the whole system for their own benefit. In saying that, I don’t think that this means decentralized social media can’t work - it’s just going to have to be built in a different way.
On that note, I think for decentralized social media to actually work (aka be an actual improvement over its centralized counterparts) it has to be built from the ground up with crypto-native features at the forefront. That means it needs to be web3-enabled (sign in with Ethereum), it needs to allow people to customize their experience (choose your own front-end), payments infrastructure needs to be embedded directly into the protocol (tipping services or otherwise), people should be able to interact with their NFTs (setting them as their profile picture and whatnot), there should be native DeFi integration built-in and, of course, everyone’s handle should be tied to their ENS name.
Lastly, the technology stack for this type of protocol needs to be able to handle the immense amount of activity that users will generate. Obviously you can’t build something like a decentralized Twitter on Ethereum’s layer 1 (though there have been attempts) - but you should be able to build it using one of the various layer 2 technologies (Reddit is using Arbitrum albeit for only the community points part). There are certain parts that you can keep off-Ethereum - such as the frontends which can be hosted on IPFS - but you’ll want to keep the important data (such as user state) on a layer 2 that is secured by Ethereum.
I really hope that the Ethereum ecosystem can crack this admittedly difficult nut and work to replace centralized social media completely. I don’t want to be at the mercy of what Jack thinks I want as Twitter features (hint: I don’t care for Lightning Network integration) so I’d like to have the option to choose between different tools. I hope that Aave’s new platform can make this happen for all of us as it’s something that I believe can deliver an immense amount of value.
Oh and Jack - we’re coming for you - so be ready.
Have a great weekend everyone,
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All information presented above is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice.