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Minds Wants to #Buidl the Future of (De)centralized Social Media with You at ETHDenver

ethdenverJan 17, 2019, 5:44:03 PM

Launched in 2015, Minds is a free and open source social network making use of the Ethereum blockchain. Now, just three years later, Minds has over 1.5 million registered users and an abundance of original content, thanks in part to the native token rewards system the team introduced in 2018. Through a peer-driven, incentives-based system, users can actually be compensated directly for their content on Minds, which is a change of pace from traditional centralized social networks. 

ETHDenver is proud to have Minds joining us next month for our 2019 #BUIDLATHON, so we chatted with Chief Operating Officer Jack Ottman to learn about the inspiration behind Minds, what they have planned for ETHDenver, and what they’re currently working on (hint: they’re looking for developers!). Read on:

What was the inspiration behind Minds?

It became clear to us early on that the world needed a major social network that was open source. Minds originally started as a Facebook page, but we quickly experienced first-hand that they were throttling our reach as our engagement began to plummet as they clamped down with their algorithm. The worst part was that there was no transparency or recourse. We quickly realized that in order to grow, we would need to become independent from Facebook, so we launched our own platform based on the principles that Facebook lost sight of: privacy, transparency, monetization and community.

Why is decentralized social media important?

Many of the large issues plaguing social media today are caused by subjective centralized business models, such as censorship, demonetization and privacy issues. Decentralization can provide users with more control over their content, data and financial transactions. Minds is taking a step-by-step approach to achieving true decentralization. Currently, all peer-to-peer transactions are leveraging the Ethereum blockchain to eliminate the risk of subjective demonetization and give users complete autonomy over their advertising and subscription income. We have a prototype called Minds Nomad, which we built during ETH SF, that is our initial attempt at decentralizing our infrastructure so users can use Minds without ever interacting with our servers.

That’s awesome! Talk to us more about the Minds token rewards system.

Our reward system is one of the most popular features on our platform. While companies like Facebook are restricting the reach of their users, we built a system that rewards our top contributing users with tokens which can be used for free promotion (1 token = 1,000 impressions). This allows the top channels to get free advertising and amplify their reach even further. We currently measure user contribution on a daily basis by unique engagement, referrals and daily check-ins. Tokens are deposited in user wallets at the end of each day based on their score relative to the community. While the foundational value of the token is the advertising impressions, they also can be used to upgrade your channel or to tip or pay for premium subscriptions from other channels on the network.

Thanks to traditional social media platforms, influencer marketing is extremely popular today. Do you think Minds’ tokenized payment system could change the way influencer marketing works? If so, how?

Moving peer-to-peer payments to the blockchain could definitely change the influencer marketing and revenue models. Everyday there are more examples of why our use-case is so important. Companies like YouTube and Patreon are constantly demonetizing creators based on subjective political views, which really highlights the dangers of a centralized payment system. We chose to leverage the blockchain for our peer-to-peer payment system so that there is no central authority who can be the gatekeeper for who can get paid and who cannot. And since all of our code is open source, we are providing users with the tools to be in complete control of their income from creating content online.

Very cool. What is Minds currently working on behind the scenes?

We just completed a series A with a blockchain-focused partner, so we are currently focused on hiring and expanding our development team. Our main focus for 2019 will be on monetization, user control, international languages, scalability, further decentralization and overall user experience.

It sounds like interested developers should definitely come find you at ETHDenver! What do you have planned for our #BUIDLATHON?

We are beyond excited to attend ETHDenver this year! Our goal is to meet as many bright people as we possibly can, spread awareness for alternative social media like Minds, and hear from the community about their projects and feedback on ours. We are most looking forward to meeting people who are aligned with our philosophy of a more free Internet. We will have a booth with some t-shirts, stickers and other creative prizes within the Minds platform. Our founders Bill Ottman and Mark Harding will also be speaking.

Stickers are everything. What are the goals for Minds’ continued transformation in 2019?

Our goal for 2019 is to continue to help bring Ethereum and decentralization to the mainstream. Social media is used by billions of people across the world, so it provides a real opportunity to educate people about the value of the blockchain and increase adoption. We are going to stay focused on our core principles of transparency, privacy, monetization and community involvement.

Do you have any general predictions for how social media will change with web3?

The future of social media is all about giving users more control- of their data, their content, their earnings… everything. This trend meshes beautifully with the movement towards more decentralization since that is what it’s all about. People are fed up with being forced to trust companies that are abusing their data and exploiting them. Because of the potential user volumes with social media, building a trustless network could really transform the entire web.

How can I sign up for Minds if I don’t have a channel yet?

Anyone can sign up in just a few seconds. Just visit https://minds.com and create your own channel. You can also download our mobile app for both iOS or Android and create a channel that way.

Perfect. Tell us how we can connect with your team at ETHDenver 2019.

As a sponsor, and since our entire team is remote, we decided that this event would be a great excuse to bring our whole team together. Here is who will be in attendance:

Mark Harding (UK) - CTO - https://minds.com/mark

Bill Ottman (CT) - CEO - https://minds.com/ottman

Jack Ottman (CO) - COO - https://minds.com/jack

John Ottman (CT) - Chairman - https://minds.com/john

Marcelo Rivera (ARG) - Developer - https://minds.com/eiennohi

Martin Santangelo (ARG) - Developer - https://minds.com/msantangelo

Joe Hammer (WA) - Developer - https://minds.com/justjoe

Brian Hatchet (CO) - Developer - https://minds.com/brianhatchet

Emiliano Balbuena (ARG) - Developer - https://minds.com/edgebal

Ian Crossland (OH) - Admin - https://minds.com/iancrossland

Nick Lewis (FL) - Admin - https://minds.com/nick

Kate Vosler (NE) - Admin - https://minds.com/quitejane

Great- we can’t wait to meet your team! Where else can attendees chat with you or learn more about Minds?

Since we are a social network ourselves, the best way for attendees to get in touch with us is to create a channel on Minds and reach out to @ottman, @jack or @mark. For more information about Minds, you can visit https://minds.com or https://minds.com/token. You can also check out our GitLab here.

We’re looking forward to having Minds join us at ETHDenver 2019. If you haven’t already, join us by APPLYING today.