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Bitcoin needs a killer app

Now that the initial peak of inflated expectations over Bitcoin is well behind us and we've begun to emerge out of the proverbial trough of disillusionment, thousands of people around the world are working on Bitcoin apps and doing really interesting things. But as of yet, no one has created that one killer app which gives regular people a compelling reason to use Bitcoin.

At Fluence, we think one potential app that could have mass appeal is a decentralized, peer to peer advertising network. The system would allow anyone to target other users directly and pay them to look at any URL and provide constructive feedback or promotional help. You could also earn for your own time and attention helping others.

We’ve already built a centrally managed version of this app at https://fluence.io, but in this post we’ll discuss the steps we could take to decentralize the system and possibly refactor ourselves out of jobs.

Decentralization

One important role we play at Fluence is to look at each review to ensure that it meets our community guidelines. We also validate the information people put on their profiles and estimate their external reach. This important information helps drive our targeting algorithm, but these activities make us the bottleneck and require users to trust that we’ll act with their best interests at heart. It would be better if the system could scale all by itself and didn’t require any leap of faith.

A decentralized version of Fluence would address these issues by providing radical transparency and pushing these moderation and verification tasks onto our users themselves. This self organizing system could incentive productive, honest behavior and would be fully auditable and democratic.

Our transition to a decentralized model will require the following steps:

Change the payment infrastructure

We adopt a cryptocurrency such as bitcoin for all transactions within the system. This lowers transaction fees and reduces the friction involved in managing credit card charges and refunds for all of our users around the world. The money saved by avoiding these banking fees pays users who perform moderation and community management tasks.

Start sharing encrypted, anonymized activity data

All relevant app activity is saved to a shared public ledger of user interactions on the system. This Fluence blockchain is the shared database that users will use to moderate and manage the system.

Refactor the management

The new decentralized autonomous organization will handle tasks previously performed by the Fluence team. Reviews, recommendations and vetting will be performed by the users with consensus emerging from a voting mechanism similar to how Bitcoin verifies transactions.

These moderation and management tasks can be performed by real humans or automated applications and both will be able to earn funds and accrue bitcoin in their account for participating and helping to make the system work for everyone.

Deployment in the real world

A critical success factor for us is to provide a seamless glidepath for our existing users to the decentralized autonomous version. Not everyone will be ready to retain their earnings in BTC, but they can still benefit from the network and its new capabilities. Over time, we believe that people will see the value in Bitcoin and may come to think of Fluence as a safe and easy way to start saving bitcoin for their future. Who knows, perhaps one day they’ll be worth millions?