Minds is an up and coming social media platform which, thanks to its decentralized and open platform, might quickly become a big contender in the social media world.
If you were one of the 87-million people affected in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, you might want an alternative to Facebook as a social platform.
Worse still — on May 15th, a Facebook data leak compromised 3-million user accounts. If you wanted to ditch Facebook, this might be the best and most appropriate time to do so.
“The next Facebook is not going to be a centralized thing. It’s going to be more distributed and powered by everyone.”
Enter the blockchain based social platform known as Minds, founded by Bill Ottman and co-founded by John Ottman and Mark Harding. It uses blockchain tech to maintain transparency while incentivizing use with cryptocurrency.
Not only does this mean no Cambridge Analytica scandals, it means a totally new market for influencer marketing and gamification across social platforms.
I had the chance to talk to the founder and CEO of Minds, Bill Ottman, on what his precise vision is for Minds moving forward.
How can Minds transform your life in a more accountable, post-Facebook world?
Blockchain Increases User Accountability
If you aren’t familiar with how blockchain technology works, just think of it as a ledger.
Anyone can view all of your actions, words, and data on that ledger. In theory, this “keeps people honest” to discourage anonymous trolling. It also means that anyone can pull the “receipts” of a situation whenever they need to for social, legal, or other purposes.
Ottman and his team chose blockchain for the inherent accountability it provides. They don’t offer “privacy options” like Facebook, but Ottman says those settings are mostly superfluous.
BO: “Facebook has all of these ‘privacy’ settings. You can pick which of your friends see what, but that’s not what privacy is. That’s surface level privacy; real privacy asks: does Facebook have this data and what are they doing with it?”
Minds also features all options as “opt-in” as opposed to the now mostly standard “opt-out” function. This means that, in order to avoid exposing yourself to data breaches, companies put the onus on the user instead of themselves.
They don’t use audience targeting like Facebook and they don’t use surveillance to offer “personalized ads” like Twitter and Google.
Minds gives their users two options for their actions and data: publish everything to the blockchain or allow Minds to keep a copy on their servers.
There is also a fully encrypted messenger in case the other two options don’t appeal to users.
Cryptocurrency Gamifies Use and Connects Users
Like Facebook, Minds features ads in its news feeds, but users can avoid them. Posts appear in chronological order — always — except for boosted posts which get labeled as such for transparency.
But Minds uses a unique “reward economy” based on cryptocurrency.
OWNtheNWO pointed out that Minds uses a contribution algorithm in this reward economy.
Your contributions provide points toward the daily network or website total. Your total gets tallied at the end of the day together, totalling the amount of erc20 Minds tokens you get.
OWNtheNWO also said that Minds is “still on the Rinky test net too so the tokens don’t have direct blockchain value yet”. But Minds will adjust its contribution economy once tokens leave this inception phase.
This uses peer-to-peer transactions, so Minds takes no fee from this process as they don’t offer wallet hosting. They also offer a service similar to Patreon in that a user can set paywall tiers for content.
Influencers can avoid algorithms that might impede their content as with Facebook and Instagram. Users and companies can directly send tokens to influencers for wielding their influence, as well.
In tandem with the accountability factor, many influencers might favor Minds over a more traditional social media platform. They might make more money if they did, too.
Decentralizing the Social Network
Minds features a unique commitment to decentralization, transparency, and open source tech. In fact, they ditched Stripe and switched to Wire for financial services for this precise reason.
They even post all of the Minds code for others to adjust and use in the spirit of the open source mentality and mission.
“Anyone can take the code and make their own app and integrate with us.”
Ottman believes that decentralization is the key to protecting citizen privacy.
BO: “We’re on the path toward as much decentralization as possible. So now, the main things we have decentralized are the payments and advertising infrastructure and also now the video. We have web torrents to distribute the web hosting of the videos.”
Does this mean that Minds might tackle the next big data giant monopoly a.k.a YouTube?
With 1,000,000 users and growing, Minds is certain to gain traction as the Facebook scandal unravels. Or, as almost every other social platform has shown, when the next inevitable data leak happens.
Perhaps influencers will even abandon Instagram in favor of the unique and potentially more lucrative platform.
We will provide updates and usage tutorials on this blockchain based and cryptocurrency gamified social platform as time progresses.