In brief:

  • Reddit unveils two cryptocurrencies based around community engagement.
  • The trial kicks off in two subreddits r/CryptoCurrency, and r/fortniteBR.
  • It's an important test of integrating cryptocurrency into a mainstream app.

Reddit has finally made a move to tokenize its community points system, unveiling a beta test of two tokens based on the Ethereum network. The trial will initially roll out to two subreddits—r/cryptocurrency and r/FortniteBR—with more than two million subscribers between them. 

Reddit wants to help take back control of the Internet. Image: Reddit.

While Facebook and Telegram have either delayed or cancelled their cryptocurrency projects, Reddit is going full steam ahead. While smaller than Facebook, the app is a similar size to Telegram, and has 430 million users. Out of its users, 64% are aged between 18–24 and 69% of them are male—an audience known to be interested in cryptocurrency. If this trial is successful, it could send a clear message to other apps around the world that they should follow in its stead. And at the same time, it’s an exciting test for crypto in the real world. 

Rumours of Reddit getting into cryptocurrency first spread in early April. Some users were able to access a wallet system which contained hints about the project. At the time, Reddit said it was working with one community on the offering. Yesterday, much more information was released.

In a somewhat tongue-in-cheek slide presentation, the social media platform relayed its vision for a new frontier: a free and fair Internet. It claims the Internet has been ruined by advertising, censorship and “walled gardens” hoping that cryptocurrency might offer a way out.

The beta test is currently in operation through summer 2020. The new system will start with two communities—r/CryptoCurrency and r/FortniteBR—with tokens aptly named "Moon" and "Bricks," respectively. Fortnite is a popular online video game.

As for what tools could achieve such an undertaking, Reddit offers up its "Community points." Much in the same way as the existing karma, or Reddit gold systems, community points are used as a measure of reputation within the community—earned by submitting quality posts and comments. But unlike the current system, these tokens are running on a blockchain—and have some fancy features.

How do Community Points work?

The Community Points are ERC-20 tokens on the Ethereum blockchain, in the same way that many tokens were created during the ICO craze. They act as a way for Redditors to "own" a piece of their favorite communities. And no one—not even Reddit moderators—can seize ownership of them.

Community Points are also redeemable, allowing access to "special memberships" and premium features, including gifs, custom emojis, and badges. On top of this, Reddit plans to introduce a "weighted voting" system, bolstering the votes of users with the most Community Points.

They're also transferable via the Reddit Vault, which essentially acts as an Ethereum wallet. Same as with most cryptocurrencies, if you lose your private key to the vault, you lose your community points. As for who foots the bill for transaction fees, Reddit remarks that they'll cover the costs, "for now."

The Reddit presentation also mentions that "advanced users" can use other Ethereum tools if they so wish. Yet the success won’t be with the Ethereum diehards but with the thousands of new users just dipping their toes in the water.