Decentralizing Social Media Through ADIs

Written by TJ

On April 26, 2022

Social media is widely regarded as one of the most important sectors that blockchain technology has yet to disrupt. Twitter, which has now come to be seen as the proverbial town square for all of the world’s discourse, has increasingly faced dilemmas in the balance between content moderation and censorship.

Facebook, once a favored destination for millions of young millennials has become the epicenter of the growing distrust that consumers have with big tech, particularly around the abuse of user data and manipulation or gaming of news algorithms to create false narratives and spur conflict online. 

Many believe that the future of social media will be dominated by new decentralized platforms birthed from the blockchain and designed to onboard billions of users who are fed up with web2 social media sites and instead desire more free speech as well as more transparency and control over their data. 

While this vision may resonate with many crypto native users, ideas like data ownership, transparency, and lack of censorship are simply not a priority for the vast majority of social media users. 

Rather, a simple and intuitive user experience combined with network effects (i.e the fact that everyone who is someone is on one network) is what keeps people on sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter despite the growing controversies around censorship and the abuse of user data. 

One of the unique traits of the Accumulate network is that it strives to help make the transition from web2 to web3 as seamless as possible for companies, enterprises, and other institutions in the traditional economy (including social media platforms).

Accumulate Digital Identifiers (ADIs) have the potential to help make platforms like Facebook and Twitter slowly migrate from being centralized to completely decentralized without any major disruptions to the user experience. 

The end result would be a revamped social network with the same front-end experience but a new backend in which every user account is linked to an ADI, which stores their posts, uploaded media files, connected accounts, and even token balances for making payments.

ADI are human-readable identities (like website URLs) that can represent individuals, entities, digital assets, or anything else of value to a group of stakeholders operating on a blockchain. This technology comes with many advantages when applied to social media platforms. 

For one, ADIs could completely solve the massive bot problem that Twitter has dealt with since its inception by authenticating every user through an ID verification process that is certified on the blockchain, in addition to a small payment of ACME tokens, which would raise the cost for bots to operate at scale. 

Furthermore, the owner of an ADI can create multiple accounts and sub-identities based on a hierarchy of keys that give sub-identity owners custom access to certain data. This means that you could apply multi-sig style security features to high profile social media accounts, enabling certain ADIs to only post messages while preventing them from making any changes to the account such as password resetting 

Reputation Management

Reputation tracking and management would be a core feature of a decentralized social media platform. In order for a user to establish and grow their reputation, there has to be a tamper-proof audit trail of activities performed on the platform that can be readily retrieved and inspected by anyone. 

A reputation score could be assembled based on objective metrics such as the number of likes or comments for each post, the number of followers, the frequency in which a user shared a post, and how many retweets it gets, etc. Decentralized digital IDs would ensure that every like, retweet, or comment comes from an authenticated user, making the reputation scoring system much harder to manipulate. 

Cross-chain Content and Network Curation 

One of the biggest benefits to placing a platform as Twitter integrated with Accumulates ADI infrastructure is that it would enable Twitter to become the de facto social layer for all blockchain networks by tapping into Accumulates interoperable cross-chain communication layer.

If ADIs could access Twitter by simply connecting their wallet, and every user, regardless of what blockchain they inhabit could represent themselves as an ADI, then the Accumulate network would essentially become a bridge for on-chain users to directly connect to Twitter without having to go through the traditional Web2 sign-in process (in other words, crypto Twitter would become crypto-native Twitter).

This increase in connectivity would radically reduce the friction of curating and exchanging content between users. Users could display NFTs from any blockchain and prove ownership because their ADI is linked to the wallet address that owns the NFT on that particular chain. They could also engage in peer-to-peer trading of their NFTs with other Twitter users who inhabit different chains. 

As a collector, you could use Twitter to help curate NFTs from multiple chains so that it becomes easier to discover unique collections. 

DeFi on Social Media 

No decentralized social media platform would be complete without the integration of financial applications for making payments, executing trades, and entering loan agreements. 

Defi is increasingly playing a bigger role in social web3 applications, from the fractionalization and collateralization of NFTs to the trading and staking of p2e game assets.

The use of sub-identities and key management systems on Accumulate would make it easier than ever for users to store their digital assets in different sub-accounts that would be used for various purposes such as staking, lending, payments, etc.

Twitter as a social layer for web3 protocols would also accelerate the adoption of peer-to-peer crypto payments while enabling users to leverage their reputation score as a way to gain access to undercollateralized loans without credit checks. 

Conclusion 

With the world paying close attention to the corporate battle between Twitter’s board and Elon Musk, it’s clear that whoever ends up controlling the largest social network will have a massive influence over the way in which billions of people communicate online. 

Given all that is at stake, it should be obvious to many that the only correct path forward for Twitter is to embrace decentralized, open-source protocols in order to protect free speech and prevent arbitrary forms of censorship.   

As the would-be communication and audit layer for the web3 ecosystem, Accumulate’s infrastructure is perfectly suited to serve as the new decentralized backend for the world’s largest web2 social media platforms. 

From a technical standpoint, ADIs can provide current Twitter users with a clean onboarding mechanism where all existing and verified accounts can be converted to an ADI, enabling users to access Twitter through a single sign-on process using digital wallets instead of the traditional username and password method.   

This would open the doors for users on other blockchains to connect to Twitter via their separate chains by first assuming an ADI. From there, Twitter could become the central hub for not only sharing ideas but also exchanging cross-chain assets, curating NFTs, participating in DeFi and other activities supported by various blockchain protocols, and facilitated by the Accumulate network.

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