When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he’d focus on “decentralizing opportunity” in 2020, he probably didn’t mean decentralized social networks. But today, cogs whirred from two decentralized social networks, each positioned to take power away from social media’s brightest beacon of authority.
First, Steemit, essentially a decentralized Reddit, announced that it’s moving to Justin Sun’s Tron blockchain. The network was founded by Ned Scott and Dan Larimer in January 2016, and it lets users earn tokens for producing and curating “high-quality” content.
Per the new “strategic partnership,” Steemit will transition its token, Steem, from the Steemit blockchain to a new Tron-based variant. (Incidentally, the Steem token today soared 25 percent in value, now trading for a whopping $0.281 per coin.)
The partnership was announced today, but the Foundation declined to tell Decrypt when it would occur. Justin Sun, CEO of Tron, tweeted today about an AMA (an online questions-and-answers free-for-all) to resolve outstanding ambiguities, which will take place tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Voice, a decentralized social-media networking site, also from Dan Larimer, launched in beta, this time on the EOSIO blockchain. Voice functions like a decentralized Facebook. Users can earn Voice tokens for clicking on or watching ads. Tokens can be spent on promoting posts or comments on the site. Voice cost $150 million to build—$30 million went on the domain, Voice.com.
Whether these new networks pose any considerable threat is less clear. Steemit boasts over 1 million users, but in 2018, Steemit laid off around 70% of its workforce to save costs. What’s more, Voice is launching on a private blockchain, despite initially saying it would run on the EOS public chain—it’s far from the truly decentralized Facebook that Zuck critics are hoping for.