The Blockchain-based alternatives to your favorite social media platforms

Lately we’ve seen a slow but steady surge of blockchain user applications in the mainstream. Here are my favorite clones and competitors to apps you know:

Nate Simantov
Mar 7, 2019 · 5 min read
Image by Rachel Skiba

There is a whole lot that can be said about technology moving too fast for society to keep up with. While the surge of social media swept the world like a tsunami, in recent years a conversation about the implications of the tech have come into focus. In particular, two primary concerns are getting the attention: The concern over user privacy and data, as well as a concern over consolidated power (including censorship). Since these two areas overtly relate to the technological pain-points addressed by decentralization, it should be no surprise to see a rising awareness in how blockchain can be used to solve these major problems.

We are still in the early stages of blockchain based social media architecture, and even the most die-hard proponents will tell you there are still some aspects that need ironing out (especially in the areas of incentivization and governance). Still, the future of social networks is undeniably forming on DLT’s, so much so that most major SM company CEO’s have voiced their understanding of the facts (including Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Jack Dorsey of Twitter who have expressed explicit interest in blockchain and have admitted to be searching to integrate such tech into their platforms, as to not miss out).

So while, blockchain based social platforms are still in their infancy, I’ve put together a list of some names already competing over this industry. Expect this space to further explode once blockchain reaches mass adoption.

Quick note: When I call something an “alternative”, I’m not suggesting that all of these projects claim to be clones or even compete directly with an original app and its particular features. In most cases they are merely inspired by those original platforms.

MINDS — the Facebook/Twitter style network that pays users

MINDS tutorial by Computing Forever

This list is NOT ranked… but if it were, Minds would be #1. Though Minds is not the only blockchain based app to take aim at Facebook’s appeal, with roughly 2.7 million monthly visits its arguably the most successful. Tagged by many as “The Free Speech Social Network”, Minds was built on the ideology of “ideological neutrality” (less ironic than it sounds) and does not push particular content over any other. A mixed bag of popular features from Facebook and Twitter, Minds is already attracting some of the biggest names in YouTube (*cough* Tim Pool *cough*) who are using it in the meanwhile as a way to lean off YouTube as well as an emergency exit for their fanbase in the event of a mass censorship exodus.

Choon is like Spotify, where the artists are paid transparently

Explainer video by Choon

One of the biggest challenges facing musicians today isn’t actually a new one: How much of their work are they being paid for, and how?

Often compared to Spotify, Choon is a music streaming service built with the goal to get artists their fare share in a clear way and in the form of crypto. Another cool aspect of Choon is that listeners themselves are incentivized to curate playlists and listen to sponsored tracks in exchange for tokens.

Indorse is an experts network for professionals and job candidates

Geared for developers and programmers (for now anyway), Indorse brings greater validation and trust to the world of professional social networking and skills economy. While it shares some similarities with LinkedIn, the innovative interface is totally original.

On Indorse, professionals submit their CV and achievements, which can be anything from awards or certifications to specific projects completed or worked on. Several anonymous experts from your professional network can then “indorse” you, almost like a jury, for that skill. Both the user and the indorsers will be rewarded with an Indorse Buck, which can then be traded for an Indorse Token.

The goal is to incentivize professionals to help to nurture a more honest and reliable professional network while enhancing the reputation of themselves and their peers.

MeWe is a blockchain based messenger with multiple personalities and an emphasis on privacy and anonymity

Ok, this was originally presented to me as a “WhatsApp Killer” but upon closer look MeWe is much much more than that. Almost as if Telegram and WhatsApp had a baby who then was married off to Facebook Mobile… I know that is confusing, but the app is so feature rich with all those elements that you need to see it for yourself.

CEO of MeWe described it like this: “Facebook is for your public life, MeWe is for your real life”. The emphasis on user data protection and security is so strong that users not need to worry about who sees what they share — after all, their data is all theirs. The service doesn’t track share or spy on user activity so its a great solution for all those private Facebook groups you share with close friends. Inspired by Telegram (presumably) are features like disappearing messages and other cutting edge chat features.

Really neat, worth a try!

Steepshot is an Instagram-style platform that pays you for photos

The title of this entry is pretty straightforward — Next time someone tells you that nobody cares about your HDR heavy filtered restaurant plate photos, just show them Steepshot! This Steemit platform lets smartphone photographers and influencers monetize content by receiving cryptocurrencyas an award for the engagement their photos generate. Other than that, its pretty much just like Instagram UX wise.

DTube is a YouTube clone that pays you for content engagement directly using crypto

DTube tutorial

Like Steepshot, DTube also runs on the Steemit platform. The decentralized video sharing platform is super similar to YouTube- but the business model is much fairer to content creators. In recent years, YouTube has made it increasingly difficult to monetize content, with steps like forcing a 10 min duration minimum, to the Adpocalypse I & II which sent advertisers running, and subsequently, creators (who increasingly rely on 3rd party donations via sites like Patreon… but that’s a whole other story).

To incentivize creators, DTube awards Steem’s cryptocurrency in return for engagement on content, continuously monetized for up to 7 days after it is uploaded.

Ponder is like Tinder, but algorithms are replaced by actual humans (and it pays well)

To Say Ponder’s UX most resembles Tinder wouldn’t be completely fair, because there are elements in it that remind me of more robust dating sites like OKC and Badoo. Formally named Spritzer, one of the coolest things about Ponder is that it will incentivize you to match other people, actually paying you in crypto for introducing two members who ‘like’ each other (specifically $10 if they like. $1000 is they marry). For single users, Ponder gets you hand-picked matches selected by other humans in the app.

Not only can you get paid to match others, but you can have faith in matches AND an excuse for having the app on your phone while you’re dating!

I’m always searching for new ways blockchain is being used for the real world, and this kind of post was fun to write. If you want real blockchain news for business though, without fluff, I strongly recommend treating yourself and subscribing to our bi-weekly newsletter. It takes 4 seconds:

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Thanks to Ethan Chernofsky

Nate Simantov

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The Orbs Blog

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