The social media world is facing some serious problems.
Fake news is spreading like wildfire. During the 2016 presidential election, fabricated stories favoring Donald Trump were shared on social media over 30 million times, according to a study conducted by Stanford University. It’s come out that Russian troll farms used hundreds of fake Twitter accounts to tweet in support of Brexit during the days before the vote. And just recently, it was revealed that more than half of the 21.7 million public comments in support of the FCC’s decision to end net neutrality were, you guessed it, completely fake.
And that’s not the only problem we have on social media. Our personal data is being collected and used by companies that turn around and sell it to the highest bidder. Last quarter alone, Facebook raked in over $10 billion in ad revenue — all that money is made off the activity of its users and the collection of their data.
What do users get from those billions of dollars in revenue? Nada. We’re basically allowing giant corporations to invade our privacy for nothing. Social media platforms depend on their users to create content, but the overwhelming majority of these sites provide creators with zero compensation.
How Can We Take Back Control Of Our Social Experience?
Such colossal problems require groundbreaking solutions. Luckily, we now have blockchain technology to aid us in the fight to take back control over our social media lives. The blockchain is proving to be a vital tool that is currently transforming the internet as we know it.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a democratized social platform, decentralized on the blockchain, that truly serves its users?
Say hello to Sapien — a democratized, tokenized, reputation-based social news platform capable of rewarding millions of digital content creators without any centralized intermediaries. Even better, Sapien shares advertisement revenue with its users.
They set out their mission in their whitepaper:
Our team believes it is now feasible to combine the innate human desire for social networks with the immense power of the Blockchain to give each individual unprecedented control over their online social experience.
That Sounds Great… But How Will It Work?
The team behind Sapien is building a new social media platform on the Ethereum blockchain. It will be fueled by a flexible cryptocurrency called SPN. The Sapien network will rapidly evolve to include a marketplace, various integrations, and third-party applications.
Here’s a fun little video that explains Sapien in a nutshell:
The platform is created with 4 core values in mind:
- Democracy – Users should have the final say over their communities and be incentivized to contribute.
- Privacy – Targeted advertising is profitable but inherently flawed because it exploits user data and infringes on user privacy.
- Free Speech – A fundamental principle that should be protected online with disruptive tools.
- Customizability – Each user should be able to tailor their social media experience to their liking.
On the Sapien network, each user will be able to tailor their social experience to exactly fit their individual needs. Every element will be customizable. Maybe you want to use Sapien as a podcast aggregator, or maybe as a blogging site, or even a gaming platform.
According to Ankit Bhatia, Sapien’s CEO and co-founder:
The only limit of the platform would be the collective ingenuity of the community of users and developers.
Sapien’s Key Features
Sapien will have a treasure trove of unique features, with additional ones to be added along the way as they grow and expand.
- Public/Private Browsing – Seamlessly switch between public and private modes to experience Sapien with your real identity or anonymously.
- Subscriptions – Subscribe to branches to stay up to date with the latest posts from your friends and people around the world.
- Friends, Groups, and Posts – Add friends, create groups, share posts, write comments, and expand your horizons.
- Feature-rich Chat – Join text and voice channels with their powerful chat interface, which provides a more dynamic and engaging user experience.
- Encryption – Protect your online privacy. Sapien protects your personal data and offers encrypted chat conversations.
- Highly Customizable – Every individual is unique. Have control over every feature and tailor your own social experience.
With all of these features, Sapien could prove to be a viable and popular alternative to current existing social media platforms. More and more people are increasingly getting fed up with the way Facebook, Twitter, and other social media companies are mistreating them — from selling their personal information to third parties, to bombarding them with ads they never asked to see.
Sapien will allow users to have complete control of their relationship with advertisements on the network. By default, users will see no advertisements and no personal user data will be collected without a user’s knowledge.
Here’s a visual of how the ad platform will run:
Should a user decide to see ads, Sapien will split no less than 50% of all revenue generated with the user, in the form of SPN tokens. Furthermore, users can make even more revenue if they choose to stake SPN on Sapien.
Power will be in the users’ hands to decide what, if any, data they want to share with advertisers. In return, users will be able to enjoy an even higher percentage of ad revenue for that shared data. The percentage of ad revenue received by a user will be based on a tiered system, with users receiving a greater percentage if they have more SPN tokens staked.
To ensure transparency, all ad transactions will be publicly viewable on etherscan.io. With this setup, the Sapien team ensures that their users will retain full control over their experience on the platform.
As Sapien’s CEO and co-founder puts it:
Content creators are exploited by existing centralized platforms. A true online democracy should distribute wealth created to its citizens, instead of hoarding all of the profits.
Sapien’s Decentralized Marketplace
The decentralized marketplace will serve a key role in the tokenized economy on Sapien. The marketplace will enable SPN holders to purchase exclusive premium content, services, physical merchandise and virtual goods, including themes, integrations, and features.
With reputation scores implemented, users can be confident that the vendor they are purchasing from is reliable and trustworthy.
Sapien will only charge a 1% transaction fee to buyers and sellers on the marketplace, unless a user has a certain threshold of staked SPN. The minimum threshold will initially be set at the equivalent of $20 worth of staked SPN. If a buyer or seller has staked at least $20, then they will pay no transaction fees at all!
Sounds Awesome? Here’s How You Can Get Involved
There are a lot of ways to get involved and stay updated about the Sapien platform.
Their ICO token presale is set to start on January 31, 2018 and will end on February 15, 2018. They will distribute a maximum of 10 million SPN. They will only accept ETH, with 1 ETH being equal to 4,000 SPN.
Presale funds will be used to cover legal costs, fund the marketing campaign, and pay for the development of SPN. If you are excited about the philosophy and features of Sapien, consider investing in them! Check out their whitepaper and website to get the full details about what Sapien aims to do.
The beta platform is currently live. If you are interested in registering, you can join the waitlist on their site. Here’s a little peek at what the beta platform looks like:
If the Sapien team manages to pull off this ambitious feat and provide the public with a truly democratic, transparent, customizable social media platform that doesn’t misuse and abuse its users, well, all we can say is: watch out Facebook, Twitter, and the rest. There’s a new player in town, and they actually play fair!
It’s about time the social media world evolves to allow humans the pleasure of socializing with others all over the world, without being exploited by the companies that run these platforms. With Sapien, the power will be placed back into each individual users’ hands, and we will finally have the tools to run our social media lives exactly the way we want to.