What is the future of the social network

Ethereum & Blockchain - The Future of the Social Network?

Today's post is only marginally about our company, but he explained why I anchor blockchain deeply in our processes and consider it to be one of the most important topics of the near future (alongside just-in-time production with 3D printers).

Therefore, today I would like to introduce Cent. Cent is a social network based on Ethereum blockchain technology in which I have been actively involved since 2017.

What is Cent?

Cent is a complex technology with a simple user interface and an even simpler task: enabling anyone to earn income from anywhere. Put simply, it is the evolution of the social network into a source of income.

Most of us spend countless hours every day working for free. We pour our creative energy into networks that, in return, offer us no direct economic value. Statuses, Tweets, Instagrams, and Snaps all take time to create and deliver unique value to many people. Yet almost all of the value they generate is focused solely on the profits of the companies that own these systems.

Before blockchains, there was never really a viable alternative. Given the technology available, Internet companies had to create centralized code bases, and by creating and maintaining this software, they could easily get the financial benefits of using it. But over the past decade, an alternative substructure of the Internet has emerged that makes it possible to create new types of decentralized networks.

In the same way that the web democratizes access to information, blockchains democratize access to value and trust. We are moving towards a world where networks are the predominant source of context rather than material value. Cent is based on the notion that a network's connection value is what should make it profitable, but content value - the content that comes from individuals within the networks - should be autonomously relayed to the users within the network who do the most benefit from this value.

Cent was born from a couple of key ideas - the first is that social networks aren't actually social networks - they're content networks. As a user, you have an existence on Facebook because you have created content and published it on Facebook. Whether that content is in the form of photos, status, comments, or videos, any popular social network would be a blank page without the content creators who breathe life into it. We are all only "social" in these networks to the extent that we consume, like, comment on and share the content of others.

Since social networks are actually just content networks, it is strange that Facebook is valued at over 450 billion euros, while almost all users of the platform receive 0 euros for the production of their content. If writers are still making money while their publisher is growing in value, shouldn't satisfied creators be making money while the networks they share grow in value? Is the technological value that Facebook offers really worth all of the creative output of the nearly 30% of humanity who publish their content on it? I don't believe that. I think the future of the economy (and the world) lies with the Creator, and the history of the internet is a slow path towards that inevitability.

For many, this path can be scary. Autonomous systems, ML / AI based software and robots will continue to replace jobs (and thus sources of income) that are not directly dependent on uniquely human workers. But what work is uniquely human?

The only work that is uniquely human is work that computers cannot (currently) do. The more a job requires an algorithmic workflow, the faster this job becomes a real algorithm (pour coffee, add milk & sugar, cash in, repeat). In light of this development, tomorrow's economy must be built on things that are difficult to translate into algorithms. That foundation must consist of mechanisms that directly monetize those aspects of the human that are not algorithmic - perspective and creativity.

In this context perspective is your unique perspective on the world, your subjectivity, your personal feelings. Creativity is what you do when you use your perspective.

When critics of rapid technological advances warn that rampant global unemployment will lead to chaos and economic depression, they often fuse two separate ideas - "employment" and "income". As long as society needs money, mass unemployment will only be a disaster if there are no other sources of income.

It is almost always believed that "unemployment" is itself an inherently bad thing - but is it? Is mass work really the crowning glory of an enlightened society? When people invent robots and software to do jobs that they don't want to do, is it really a tragedy that those jobs are no longer required of humans?

In many ways the opposite is true. Rising unemployment can be seen as a sign that we are entering a new age of automated productivity - that our species is being freed from forms of work that were inherently inhuman.

While we are freed from the chains of cruel, pre-digital industrial processes and set out in search of the undiscovered creative landscapes of our psyche, new stages of human development suddenly become visible and come within reach. Just as the moral advancement of the 19th century abolished slavery, the technological advance of the 21st century will abolish the most economical slavery.

Cent is designed to ease our transition into this less busy future. The platform should become a center of our future creative industries - one that directly monetizes the creative and perspective value that individual people offer.

The way cents are built is unique, and we developers want this process to be transparent. In the course of the further development of the network, it will take the form of a networked constellation of "contracts". A contract is a decentralized code that aims to fine-tune incentives between multiple users. By "decentralized" we mean that the code runs on a programmable, open source blockchain (currently Ethereum).

At its simplest, a blockchain is a shared database that uses advanced math and algorithms to ensure that no one can lie to one another. Crucially, this architecture also enables the creation of limited-volume digital assets that allow us to leverage decentralized digital currencies to match incentives in far more complex ways than was the case with fiat currencies. It is the incentives that make us get up in the morning. Economic incentives give us cause to take care of a specific cause in a way that is logical, not emotional.

Digital incentive structures enable programs to work out new social patterns in which people can live and create new types of interpersonal interaction and opportunity. Cent derives its name from the fact that it is based on these two core principles - incentivization and decentralization (incentive and decentralization).

When Cent development began in 2017, a relatively simple Ethereum-based contract was implemented. This allows people to "request" everything from the network and provide a financial reward in ETH (Ether - the crypto currency of Ethereum) in order to get the best answers. A key differentiator of the system is that the users (not the applicant) vote on which responses will receive the award.

From the English contribution "Cent: Income from anywhere." Freely translated and supplemented by Michael Wegener and DeepL.

Do you need advice on blockchain, digital contracts or Ethereum? Contact me.