NEAR AMA with Connect3 🗣
The NEAR Concierge Team was thrilled to host an AMA last July 5, 2022, with Cox Z. and Drew from the Connect3 team!
Read through this page for a complete recap:
Introduction question: Can we get to know you guys a little bit?
Drew: I’m Drew, from the US, I previously lived in China for 10 years (huge WeChat fan!). I’ve worked in a variety of tech-related startups in the past and most recently worked at TikTok as a data scientist on the algorithm. I’m very excited for web3 and the future it will enable us to build!
Cox Z.: I am Cox, founder of Connect3. I used to work at Meta and several startups working on social products. Now on Connect3, very excited to see that Web3 can better help us build an autonomous, permissionless, and universally accessible social infrastructure.
Question 1: What is social networking?
Drew: Social Networking is a tool for quickly finding and displaying useful information about people and enabling you to connect and engage / communicate with these people.
Social Networking enables people to create an identity, and use this identity to quickly and efficiently share/display information about their particular identity to others (broadcast/propagate themselves and their interests), as well as engage and communicate with other identities.
Broadly speaking, Social Networking can be broken into three core components:
1. Identity (who you are and your interests)
2. Messaging (communication between people, like friends or strangers, as well as third parties, like businesses and services)
3. News Feed (where you post and consume content posted by other identities)
A great social network efficiently combines these three core components into one.
Cox Z: Just as in our name, I think the core of social networking is “connect”: connect people to their favorite people, content, and services.
Question 2: You say Connect3 is a gateway to Web3 world as a next-gen decentralized social networking platform. How is Connect3 different from other similar platforms? Can you talk about some of the distinguishing features of Connect3?
Cox Z.: Different from most Web3 “social” projects on the market, we’re not trying to build a decentralized social platform from day 1 (because it’s almost impossible). We’re not trying to replace any Web2 social platform either (because it’s also impossible). We think the best way to cut into the market is to build a tool that can provide added value to users taking advantage of Web3. In the early stages, Connect3 is building playable, monetizable social tools in Web3 for normal users and creators to gain initial traction on user and content growth. Later, Connect3 will evolve to a content ecosystem with a creator economy when the user and content base is solid enough to build a platform on.
Question 3: Have you decided on important milestones and timelines for your roadmap? What are your short-term and long-term visions?
Drew: As Cox mentioned, we aim to Connect (i) people (ii) content (iii) services. In the beginning, we want to provide tools for users to connect these three things. The first tool we want to build is a “monetizable profile” where people can easily display and monetize their digital assets in the Web3 world.
Cox Z.: In terms of features, now we have a user profile that you can use to showcase (or show off) your digital items. And later we will introduce social content features on top of these digital items (such as your posts, NFTs), and some monetization tools to help our users easily convert their creations into revenue.
Drew: Different from web2 platforms, Connect3 will allow you to (i) own, (ii) permission, and (iii) monetize your identity.
Cox Z.: Short term: monetizable web3 profiles/identities, long term: a decentralized social content ecosystem with creator monetization
Question 4: Why did you choose to build on NEAR?
Cox Z.: NEAR is an advanced blockchain with low-cost and developer-friendly tools that allow us to build fast. Its fast-growing ecosystem also enables us to quickly acquire our seed users and get feedback from the communities. The NEAR team is diligent and has helped us with many resources.
Drew: In the creator economy, we are all creators of data. But currently, there is no way for users to accrue data to their identity because their identities are fragmented across all of the web2 platforms and owned by these web2 platforms. We aim to horizontalize and unify your identity so all of your data creations accrue to you. You can permission who can and cannot access any specific data about you, as well as monetize the use of your identity.
Question 5: Any incentives for early birds of your platform?
Cox Z.: Haha yes. We’re still early from airdropping tokens, but we do have something for our early users.
The first 500 users who drop their profile link in the # 👀 DROP YOUR PROFILE channel in our Discord server will obtain the role of #🧙♀️ OG, and the users with this role will have a greater chance to get more airdrops in the future.
Please note that to be eligible, the profile must have a customized username, display name, avatar, and cover photo.
Questions from the community:
Question from Can: What kind of social networking platform do you intend to become? Are you planning to build on Videos (Youtube), Posts (Twitter) or Pictures (Instagram) or will it be a platform that includes them all?
Cox Z.: We aim to build an open social content ecosystem that everyone/every platform can have access to without the limitation of a centralized platform. With the open protocol and standard, the content can be in any form, and we will let our users to decide the way they want to display themselves to others.
Question from Squidward: In my subjective opinion, in this Web3 era, no more than 15–20% of content has at least some artistic value. The rest are uploaded there either for testing the site or just for fun. So Are you working on some kind of concept for the evaluation of artistry, or maybe a different ranking of content? What should ultimately motivate people to “connect” their content to Connect3 ecosystem?
Drew: Thanks for asking this! Blockchain is a new technology, one of the first adoptions is NFTs and smart contracts, but as you mentioned, most nfts are worthless pictures. As mentioned earlier, we want to horizontalize your identity, allowing you to accrue the data you generate on the internet. We are all creators of data.
(i) Passive Data Generation: Just swiping through videos on TikTok is the creation of data, but you don’t own this creation, TikTok owns it. You should own all of your data generations, and be able to use the data generated for personalized recommendations, monetization, and enabling a better life for yourself.
(ii) Active Data Generation: when you post a photo on Instagram or upload a video to YouTube, you are actively generating data, but you don’t own this creation, YT and IG own it. We want to enable users to own, permission, and monetize both their (i) passive and (ii) active data generations.
To begin, we must have a universal identity. You can use this identity to log in to decentralized apps, which will collect the passive data you generate, and federate that data to your Connect3 identity. That data can then be used for your own personalized recommendations (and this is how we can connect you with Content, People, and Services in the future).
For active data generation, we want to enable you to create NFTs from any digital asset that you have, photos, videos, music, Excel file, Photoshop file, or any digital asset, you can upload to Connect3, and mint as an NFT. You can own, permission, and monetize all of your digital assets.
These digital assets you upload will be ingested by our system and used to recommend to other users or businesses services, enabling your assets to find the right audience seamlessly. And you own these assets and permission who can and cannot use them.
Question from Eddict: Decentralized Social Networking sounds awesome but still there is a chance for harassment, bad behaviour, hate speeches and at last bots too? Can we report them? If yes then Where and how?
Cox Z.: This is a very good question. I think at later stages we still need some mechanism to identify the content that is bad/harmful to the community. The mechanism can be decentralized, or centralized, can be manual, or automatic by programs. The difference with web2 platforms is the rules are transparent. If a post is flagged with a harmful content tag and is hidden from our UI, there is still a way to get access to that content on-chain and the reason.
Question from Prashant: I was a user of WECHAT too and loved it but it got banned here. Can we see any impact of WECHAT too, Since you are Social Networking platform too? Would you use your experience and inspiration from WeChat in Connect3?
Drew: Yes, we love WeChat. The Framework of WeChat actually fits Web3 brilliantly. Here are the components I see that we are inspired by:
1. Identity: WeChat uses a real name identity and this identity is trusted by everyone. There is little to no Spam compared to email, telegram, discord, etc… You can trust who you are talking to. You can log in to mini apps. Your identity is everything you are, not just your professional identity like LinkedIn, or your social value identity like Instagram, or your political identity like Facebook, etc… Unified and standardized Digital identity is the most important problem we are facing in the next 5 years in my opininion. How do you enter the metaverse and how will we interact in the metaverse with no identity?
2. Payments: WeChat has the best mobile payments in the world. Crypto enables seamless payments. We must eliminate cash and slow bank transfers and develop a quick, frictionless, safe payment system.
3. Messaging: there is no email or text messaging in China! No discord, no telegram. Only WeChat! WeChat actually eliminated email (QQ Mail) and WeChat is the best INBOX ever made. There is NO spam! NO folder systems. The best communication platform ever made.
4. Newsfeed: a PRIVATE newsfeed that is not public. You can only see content and comments from people you are friends with. This eliminates STALKING (which Facebook and Instagram used as their growth kernal) and greatly enhances people’s mental health. There is little hate for social media in China because WeChat’s social mechanisms are built on private interactions. It’s your HOME.
5. Mini Apps and Official Accounts: Businesses and services can tap into the social ecosystem WeChat created, making it easy to connect with businesses and services, people, and content.
In the long run, we aim to connect these 5 components to create a much improved social ecosystem to drastically improve your experience on the internet, just like WeChat did in China.
Question 5 from Orhan: How will monetization be, will everyone be able to earn money? Will we be able to watch the video, like, comment, and win? What idea do you have in mind?
Cox Z.: The one who contributes to the content ecosystem earns. The means of contribution can be creating high-quality content or curating the content you like. The monetization can be transactions between creators and consumers or incentivization from the platforms.
Question from Ozgur: Why should I join Solcial when there are popular social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin?
Cox Z.: We don’t think current Web3 social platforms can be a replacement for anyone you mentioned. So that’s why we’re looking for the *added value* we can provide to our users in web3 that web2 platforms are not providing. NFT is definitely a very successful case that is well adopted. So that’s why we start with the tooling around NFT, decentralized content, and monetization to ease the issues that are not resolved well in the Web2 era.
Drew: Great Question! For business, we view it as the Creator Economy. Once people have an identity, they will either be trusted or not trusted. Think of LinkedIn actually just like a publically viewable blockchain of YOUR historical WORK. Viewing this chain of a person’s previous WORK, either gives you trust or no trust in the individual.
Thus, we believe blockchain will enable you to showcase and display your WORK, as well as your digital assets, creating your identity. People can search and find you, view your identity and potentially work with you.
This leads to the creator economy because everyone has an identity, as well as proof of their work. Invididuals can create NFTs which can be used and monetized. Example: Uber disrupted the Taxi industry. Now, you just need a phone, and you can be an Uber driver, and you get ratings / reviews from your passengers. Uber system arranges all of the rides for your seamlessly (a form of recommendation). It’s decentralization, exaclty the same as Airbnb.
But a car and a home are both ASSETS. They can be DIGITALIZED. So, imagine in the future, I have a car. Today I am not using the car. I can create a smart contract that enables anyone to use my car for the day. They can find my car on the map, scan a QR code, log in with their identity and drive my car. The same could be for my home. This is what we mean by creator economy.
How do we establish (i) identity and trust, and then write smart contracts so that any individual can seamlessly interact and conduct business with any other user user and exchange payments and ratings.
Question from Prof. K 🍀: #NEAR is one of your main partners too. What can we expect in the future from this partnership? Do you encourage the community to participate in the development of Connect3 Project?
Cox Z.: We’re partnering with platforms in NEAR eco to build social features through our C3 Open Social Protocol. Stay tuned!
Question from Eren: I personally tried your platform and faced a repetitive error while uploading my PFP which was an NFT in my NEAR wallet.
Where can we submit the bugs that we face on the platform?
Cox Z.: Pls join our social channels, or send an email with your uploaded image to email@example.com
Connect3 is a next-gen decentralized social networking platform for creators and users on the Open Web. As a gateway to Web3, Connect3 provides a profile page to showcase your digital items, a set of tools to monetize your creations, and a social platform to connect with others.