One of the most frequent buzzwords spoken in conversations about blockchain is transparency because it is arguably the young technology’s supreme advantage. Transparency means total accountability and constant, all-inclusive communication with other users on the decentralized ledger. Even tiny data transmissions and events that are years old appear on the ledger as clear as day because it’s a system that can only work with uncompromising transparency.
This is different from how services were provided, content was hosted, and data was shared just a few years ago. The world’s move toward decentralization allows us to finally circumvent centralized systems that put hidden interests ahead of our own, whether we knew about it or not. Facebook is an unfortunately perfect example, offering nothing more than the ability to connect with friends, yet costing us our privacy, our identities, and our cut from the social value we generate.
Social value warrants a closer look. Oftentimes, services and platforms brought to us by the centralized internet capitalize on our content, networks, and personal preferences. Because of the proliferation of this one-sided system, few people realize how valuable their shopping habits, musical tastes, political leanings, social connections, and unique skills are in terms of dollars. Blockchain readily promotes social transparency for platforms where the only product is interactions between users, and there are already several groundbreaking examples of this concept operating in the market.
Ask and You Shall Receive
ASKfm, the popular question-and-answer platform that helps people source expert help for over 600 million questions every month, has embraced blockchain wholeheartedly. The company already serves users from 168 countries who use the platform to collaborate and help others and introducing cryptocurrency into the mix will improve its services significantly. ASKfm is building a true decentralized economy around the simple idea that a relevant, helpful answer to any question has real value.
The distributed ledger tracks all ASKfm participants, their questions and answers, and can store credentials that ensure experts are compensated for their contribution. It also includes a system to discourage irrelevant answers. Cryptocurrency is a low-overhead payment solution that rewards contributors in proportion to their answers and reputation, creating a monetized marketplace for knowledge that wasn’t logistically possible on a traditional network. It will enable those who have accrued valuable skills to seek out others who need guidance on-demand before receiving remuneration for their answers: a pertinent example of social transparency.
Bravery and A New Ad Regime
Though it came at the expense of advertisers and publishers more than that of consumers, one of the least transparent social concepts of yesteryear was ad performance. It’s still mercilessly difficult to draw key insights from most ad trackers, and the company selling the software itself often highlights KPIs (key performance indicators) that improve their own sales metrics rather than deliver insights. Google Analytics is a guilty party for its emphasis on click through rate and other shallow metrics like page views, which look good on paper, but aren’t consistently connected to performance.
Most advertisers understand that an ad doesn’t have to be clicked to make an impression on a potential customer, nor does a view of its page mean that it’s been seen. Brave is a new decentralized internet browser hosted on the blockchain courtesy of BAT, or Basic Attention Token. The company has developed several cutting-edge ways to measure the “attention” of viewers on any page of its browser, and for opting in to these ads they’re compensated in BAT. The new system is enticing for advertisers as well, which are already eager for more accurate wisdom about how to convert potential customers more effectively.
The Key to Sustainable Referrals
A basic, yet valuable social mechanism is the referral: an age-old concept that rewards people who use a service for introducing new customers to it. Referrals used to come from family and friends exclusively, but with the advent of linking and social networks, more sophisticated tracking software is necessary to make it worthwhile for participants. Either a referral goes untracked and unpaid due to its far-removed connection from the original link, or every referral is given the same level of importance.
The former situation might mean that many people will miss out on the incentives for referring friends, and the latter opens the possibility for gaming (scamming) the referral system itself. 2key is a blockchain platform that found a solution with the shared ledger which tracks referral links to the ends of the Earth, regardless of how many people they’re bounced between. 2key’s ledger is also capable of determining the quality of each event in a multi-link chain, paying cryptocurrency and assigning ‘reputation points’ to referrers proportionally.
Most importantly, however, the company is circumventing the traditional referral model by providing incentives for positive behavior. More than simply giving users rewards for sharing successfully, 2Key penalizes users who share unsuccessfully. The hope is that this will make users consider who they are sharing with, creating a more efficient and cleaner global referral network that actively reduces spam.
Such an idea restores transparency and relevancy to this outdated marketing idea, and will generate more valuable, sustainable social momentum for businesses deploying this model. By employing cutting-edge technology and implementing smart tools, 2Key and its contemporaries are changing the game.
Building Social Bridges
With blockchain comes greater social transparency, and therefore a more inclusive paradigm on platforms where users themselves are the greatest assets. As these business ideas spread, people will realize how handcuffed they were by the old paradigm, and how easy is it to leverage social influence that they once took for granted. There’s no telling when these types of blockchain services will reach critical mass, but one thing is guaranteed: the world will never be the same.