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Social Media in the Blockchain Era: Privacy, Data Ownership & Interoperability

Social media has been all over the place in the last decade for different reasons including hacks, data leaks, manipulation and centralization among other things. Recently, another buzzword has been added to social media: Web 3.0

With the involvement of blockchain technology, social media networks can change from their centralized nature to a more decentralized approach while at the same time rewarding its users. Just like Bitcoin (BTC) was able to change the traditional financial industry, social media could change the way in which we interact and get rewarded for our time and preferences. There will still be photos, videos and much more but rather than relying on centralized servers and companies, we will transition to a more user and privacy-friendly environment. 

Due to these reasons, large corporations might not be ready or enthusiastic about these changes. However, this does not mean that companies and projects in the cryptocurrency industry are not working hard. Indeed, they are developing the necessary infrastructure for social media in the blockchain era to expand and thrive. 

RSK is one of these firms currently working on different projects on top of which blockchain technology would let social media become a tool rather than a way for large companies to monetize data from individuals. With decentralization and security at its core, RSK has developed a wide range of solutions that could definitely become the cornerstone of the future of blockchain technology. 

Social Media on Top of Blockchain Networks

Over the last few years, there have been several initiatives to gap the bridge between social media and blockchain technology. Social media networks have attracted the attention of billions of individuals around the world with different services offered.

This growth was and still is very profitable for these firms, which became some of the largest companies in the world.  However, it came at a high price for individuals’ privacy. Social media networks need to collect as much information as possible in order to better monetize their audiences through advertising. On the contrary, users are not rewarded for using that platform. In other terms, social media platforms become the owners of users’ data as far as profitability goes.

There have been many initiatives in the cryptocurrency market to change how social media works but few of them have been able to succeed. Indeed, there is still no social media network based on blockchain technology that is competing against the big names in the industry. 

The truth is that blockchain technology can change the way in which social media works. Thanks to the so-called Metaverse, Web 3 applications, non-fungible tokens, decentralization and many other features, blockchain technology can offer better solutions to users. 

Blockchain technology can also provide the necessary impact that social media needs to move forward and become a useful tool for individuals. Several networking platforms that have been built on top of blockchain technology are trying to put the user at the centre of the stage. Thanks to the versatility offered by distributed ledger technology, individuals would not only be able to control their data but also use the same profile on different platforms. It is also necessary to have an infrastructure that powers all the social media interactions. It is not enough to have a fast and reliable blockchain. You also need to have a secure layer that helps users avoid hacks, attacks and many other negative things.  On this sense, RSK is  a clear leader in terms of solutions offered to expand social media networks, blockchain technology, the Metaverse and power the entire set of Web 3 applications. 

Benefits of DLT on Social Media

Decentralization

The first and most obvious benefit of using distributed ledger technology in the social media industry is related to decentralization. As we know, several blockchain networks such as Bitcoin or Ethereum are decentralized. That means that there is no centralized authority controlling the transactions and interactions between participants in the network. 

Censorship Resistant

Social media networks that rely on blockchain technology have a larger degree of freedom due to decentralization. Blockchain technology has also the necessary flexibility to reward users that create value for the community.

Rewards

Thanks to the many possibilities offered by blockchain technology, users can get rewarded if they perform different actions. For example, they can get rewarded for uploading content that others users like or if they perform certain activities. Payments can be integrated through a native token. This facilitates things for those individuals and companies that want to send or receive funds without having to leave the social media network in which they interact on a daily basis. 

Universal Profiles 

Finally, we should talk about universal profiles. Thanks to initiatives such as RIF Identity, users can handle their profiles on different platforms without having to create new accounts. All the data is stored on the blockchain and accessible anywhere around the world without depending on centralized services. Furthermore, thanks to this solution, users are able to control their data at all times and select what they want to share with others. 

Along these lines, RIF Name Service (RNS) is also helping the entire blockchain market to be more user-friendly with users. Basically, you can use your name or pseudonym and receive transactions, interact with blockchain applications and get access to decentralized social media networks. 

How to Handle Identities on Blockchain Networks?

Now that we know the basics about blockchain social media networks and how they work, we can move forward with how to properly handle our identity on top of these platforms. As we know, social media networks are data consuming. They try to gather as much information as possible from users. 

Hence, when we use social media networks, these companies have access to our identity, data and all the information that we upload. This data is very valuable for them as it is a key element to their business model. Data has been the new oil for a very long time now.

On centralized platforms, users don’t have full control over their profiles. Quite the opposite.  Blockchain technology works differently. It helps individuals on social media to rely on unique solutions that do not compromise their data and bring back control over their identities. This is where solutions like RIF Identity are of utmost importance.

RIF Identity

RIF Identity works as the reputation and identity layer within RIF’s ecosystem.  Rather than relying on centralized third parties, RIF Identity makes it possible for users to keep full control over their identities and get access to a wide range of solutions developed on decentralized networks. This is how individuals can easily build a self-sovereign identity and reputation

RIF Identity’s main goal is to protect users’ information. Thanks to RIF Name Services, the identity layer is also now simple and easy to use. Rather than relying on complex systems to handle information, RNS enables a new way of handling blockchain data. 

The Future of Digital Identities

Now that we have covered how social media networks interact with blockchain technology through digital identities, we can focus on its use cases on the Metaverse. 

A digital identity can represent not only a single person but also a company, a government, an organization or an object. They can be used in formal environments or just to sign up to a local social media network. However, some simple but important questions are always there: How could people and companies be sure that those identities are indeed real? How could governments or entities handling digital identities make sure that the information they share is accurate and pertinent? How could people protect their data and information online knowing the virtual world has been affected by hacks and data leaks?

It all comes down to self sovereign identities that are integrated with governments and corporations through a regulatory framework. Let’s not forget that a digital ID can be used in social media networks, institutions or even a financial app. Thanks to the development of NFTs (non-fungible tokens), we are now able to talk about unique objects that are identified on the blockchain and that are secured by the underlying network. 

NFTs 

In a nutshell as we know, a non-fungible token can represent a unique ID. Thanks to the implementation of NFTs and their expansion, it is possible to now have a new form of digital identity. RSK has been working for a long time on different initiatives related to self-sovereign digital identities and decentralized IDs.

For example, rLogin became one of the first projects created by RSK to let people get access to Web 3 platforms without having to use different login data. This is also closely connected to universal public profiles, which we will discuss further.

Additionally, RIF Name Service is also facilitating how users engage with their digital identities and blockchain information. As previously explained, blockchain addresses are usually difficult to read for humans. However, thanks to the implementation of RIF Name Services, getting access to a wide set of DeFi and dApps solutions has never been easier. 

Universal Public Profiles

The Metaverse combines decentralized applications, blockchain networks and also identities which can be linked to public profiles. Companies and individuals that have a public profile want to make sure that:

  • They are the real owners of their data.
  • They are able to freely interact with different Web 3 apps.
  • Their reputation is solely linked to their own actions.

Universal public profiles would be censorship-resistant, decentralized and powered by a set of blockchain solutions including NFTs, RIF Identity and other similar projects. Every single interaction would be secured by blockchain technology rather than stored in centralized servers.  Universal public profiles will be very useful for users to engage on different Web 3 platforms and protect their privacy and reputation. 

Closing Thoughts

Throughout this article, we have discussed the key role that blockchain technology will probably have in the future of social media networks. Privacy, data control and interoperability are some of the key concepts to have in mind in order to solve the puzzle for social media in the blockchain era. RIF Identity, RIF Name Services and rLogin, among others, are paving the way for a more secure and private social media landscape in the years to come.