Subsocial — the next all-in-one generation of blockchain-based social networks

What happens if we mix together Facebook, Medium, Twitter and Patreon, put it all on a blockchain and give users the opportunity to customize their pages to their needs? Then we’ll get Subsocial as a result. Subsocial is a new social network project running on a very advanced Polkadot blockchain. Here we’re going to analyze what it is for and how does it work.

The purpose

This one is for those who wonder why we need any new social network when we have Facebook, Twitter and so on. Even more specifically — why do we need to run it on a blockchain network. But the answer is obvious for anyone who followed the news last year. The current media giants have become too powerful and now they can censor anything that doesn’t suit them, which means they aren’t trustworthy. In addition, they gather too much information from their users and sell it indirectly by providing user databases for advertisements. Of course, they also have to make money to cover the cost of maintaining all their infrastructure and servers, and since users don’t pay for using these platforms, it’s fine that they give something in exchange, in this case, their data. The problem is that there’s too much data gathered. Also, the main reason users come to these platforms is the content that content creators produce. The content creators don’t get paid for that, having to resort to such platforms as Patreon to make money. To summarize all that, the existing centralized social media have 3 problems: censorship, selling of users’ private data and the lack of payment for creators. All these problems potentially can be solved by decentralized platforms such as Subsocial.

The basic layer

Subsocial is an open-source project going to work as a Parachain for Polkadot. Polkadot is the next logical step in the development of Blockchain technology, and one of its founders is Gavin Wood, one of Ethereum’s founders. Polkadot is everything Ethereum could be if it was designed with all the knowledge that we have now about blockchains (even though Ethereum will have its spotlight later, but only after the complex update). Polkadot is highly scalable and secure, relying on the Proof-of-Stake model with its set of validators elected by nominators. Currently, there are hundreds of validators with a total stake of 610 MDOT, they can be checked here. These validators secure the Relay chain and all Parachains in the network. Parachains are very similar to child chains in Ethereum, they work as separate blockchains that rely on the Relay chain’s security.

The Subsocial Parachain layer

Subsocial is the open-source set of templates built on the Substrate framework. It’s highly customisable and anyone can use it to launch its own Space with a separate version of Subsocial. Every separate Subsocial community s called “Space”.

Aside from Polkadot, Subsocial also makes use of the IPFS technology for storing content posted in the network. IPFS is an alternative to HTTP protocol, allowing to store and access files in a decentralized network of user nodes instead of one centralized server. It’s very similar to the Bittorent protocol, each file could be accessed using a unique link, a content identifier (CID). Every file with a size of more than 256 kb gets split, hashed, and various parts of this file can be stored on different nodes. They can be reassembled using an index file with links to all parts. Subsocial stores the list of all CIDs in Substrate storage. Each post and every space in the network is associated with a public account as well as all its content.

Main features

Subsocial is a unique network in a way that it can be customized for any needs and provide the same functionality as all the other social networks. The network has a set of basic blocks, such as spaces, posts, comments, likes, and follows.

Spaces are similar to groups or pages on Facebook or to account on Twitter and Instagram. Every space owner can do whatever they want and customize the space to their liking. The amount of possible customizations is really astonishing — the owner can enable and disable likes and dislikes, comments and shares. The system of permissions allows setting the rules for every space, deciding who’s able to write posts, delete posts and edit them. For example, for a Twitter-like space, only the owner should be able to write posts, it shouldn’t be allowed to edit posts and comments, and there are no dislikes. For a Facebook-like space, there can be many users allowing to make posts. Everything is up to the owner. It’s even possible to recreate Steemit using these permissions and the tips donation model, which is one of the many monetization models planned in Sobsocial.

Monetization

As we previously said, one of the main problems of popular social media platforms is the lack of tools for making money for content creators. Subsocial addresses this problem with a set of monetization models:

  1. Tips. A casual feature that we see on Twitch and Steemit, however, it’s not that common on the other platforms. Tips allow you to reward the author of the post or the comment that you like.
  2. Message-delivering tips. It’s also possible to pay a tip to pin and highlight the comment to be seen by everyone. Owners of spaces can set the price for these tips because the more popular the person is, the more people will come to their space to seek their attention.
  3. Subscriptions. Those who use any online service are pretty familiar with this type. It allows creating a space similar to Patreon or (God bless us!) OnlyFans. It allows creators to work on expanding their fanbase and have a more predictable income. That’s a feature we’ve never seen yet on blockchain platforms.
  4. Selling or renting content. Given that all content posted on Subsocial belongs to its authors, they have complete control over it, which opens new unique possibilities, such as selling or renting, not possible with Web 2.0 technologies. If you have a popular post, you can rent it out to another space and move to someone’s blog to give them traffic.
  5. Other ways of monetization. There are also more features in plans, a per-per-view feature, shared monetization for the content with multiple authors and smart contracts that allow creating even more sophisticated schemes.

Space governance

Anyone who creates a space can set rules for it. After that, they can decide if they want to be the only owner or allow anyone to participate. Every space owner will be able to issue their own tokens of the space, these tokens can be used to vote or to get access to private content or to get permissions to write posts in the space, or simply traded for other tokens of the Polkadot ecosystem. Every space can become a DAO-like community, where its members govern and decide what’s good and what’s bad for it. Currently, there’s no censorship in Subsocial, but it’s probable that in the future there will be some kind of a moderation team chosen by the users which will be able to block prohibited and extreme content. Anything that’s allowed by the law is okay.

What to start with

You can start by joining the Subsocial network at https://app.subsocial.network. Then you can create an identity that will be yours, will be stored on your devices, and can’t be accessed by anyone else. The identity serves as the user profile and can be used to access any community on any Subsocial parachain. Then you can create your own space and start writing posts.

Pros and cons

At first glance, Subsocial is great. It’s running on a very popular blockchain network, Polkadot. It got support from Web3 Foundation and the Polkadot main team. It still has a lot of plans and a big roadmap ahead. Will it become the next Steem or something even more successful? It has all features that potentially could make it a great product. It still lacks clarity about its tokenomics, but that’s the problem of all new projects. Only time will tell and we wish all luck to Subsocial.

This article was created in collaboration with Naikee ( dktgsitu@gmail.com )

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We are the international team of Polkadot fans with experience in different activities– community growing, business communications and strategy, promotion, advertising, mathematics, programming, entrepreneurship and others. Our main task — increase the value of Polkadot and Subst

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Alex PromoTeam

Alex PromoTeam

Polkadot Ecosystem PromoTeam Leader | Crypto and Blockchain enthusiast, entrepreneur | Disclaimer: all articles is my own opinion and not financial advice |

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