Decentralized social media protocol DeSo has announced a $1 million bounty to incentivize the development of a decentralized alternative to Reddit using its native blockchain. The move comes as developers express concerns over the monopolization of content and data on centralized social media platforms.
The decision to offer the bounty stems from recent controversy within the Reddit community, following the platform’s decision to restrict API access. This move led to widespread protests in the form of 48-hour subreddit blackouts. Third-party developers were hit particularly hard, as the increased API costs made it financially unfeasible for them to continue maintaining their applications.
The limitations and controversies surrounding centralized social media platforms have raised questions about the future of online content sharing. Elon Musk’s decision to impose reading limits on new and verified Twitter accounts, citing data scraping and system manipulation, further highlights the ongoing issues faced by centralized platforms.
DeSo’s founder, Nader Al-Naji, views these protests and controversies as indicative of a societal shift, where users are increasingly seeking autonomy over their social content. Just as people embrace ownership of Bitcoin for financial independence, this new paradigm calls for greater control over social media interactions.
Founded in 2019, DeSo offers various monetization features such as creator coins, nonfungible tokens (NFTs), tokens, and tipping. Notably, DeSo claims to store user identity, profiles, content, and social graphs entirely on its blockchain, preventing censorship at the protocol level. The company recently introduced new in-app proposals, including Openfund 2.0, a decentralized exchange platform.
In September 2021, DeSo secured $200 million in funding from prominent investors like A16z, Coinbase Ventures, Sequoia, Pantera Capital, and even Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. Presently, the DeSo community lists over 150 projects, although their market caps remain relatively modest.
The $1 million bounty by DeSo aims to encourage developers to create a decentralized Reddit alternative, addressing the growing concerns surrounding centralized social media platforms. As the demand for greater user autonomy and content control continues to rise, decentralized solutions like DeSo could reshape the future of online social interactions.