Social media is under the radar of people ever since the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal. How personal data of users is managed on such centralized social media platforms, has raised security and privacy issues among consumers. Needless to say the  level of trust of users in social media has shattered. This explains the introduction of strict laws and the increased adoption of decentralized Blockchain backed social media platforms.

ONO is the first Blockchain based social network of China where users have better control on their data. “The internet belongs to all of us. But it’s become so centralized now. Most of top ten tech companies in the world built their net worth’s by selling user data” said CEO and founder Xu Ke who went on to describe how blockchain could change the way social media ecosystems are used and perceived, “This is why blockchain is important — you own the data yourself

Xu Ke is a serial entrepreneur who graduated as an exchange student at the University of Riverside, California, in 2013. She invested heavily in bitcoin to raise funds for her poker love and her blockchain based businesses. She returned to China in 2014 to launch Cryptodogs – the Chinese iteration of the popular blockchain game CryptoKitties. This was followed by creation of ONO.

On the one hand ONO is a “dapp” or decentralized app. “We don’t have the rights to sell user data and our users have the rights to determine what they want to do with their data,” said Xu Ke. In recent interview with Forbes the 24 years old entrepreneur explained the democracy, equality, freedom and diversity a user can enjoy on the decentralized social media network. A product that gains revenue through the production of (quality) content that generates benefits for the platform. “You are able to write as many words as you want,” Xu says. The user is the charge of the content that they generate to gain traffic or financial benefits. This contrasts with centralized platforms like Facebook and Weibo. “This kind of centralized platform and over-commercialization approach hurts content creators. On a decentralized platform like ONO to make a profit, all you need to do is to create content,” Xu continued. The quality of the content created, reposted, commented or liked by other users decides the status of the user. ‘Great quality content’ would mean more rewards while ‘immoral or poor quality content’ would mean no or fewer rewards. The reward system on ONO social media platform being ONOT token which unlike mining is distributed with increase in user status and quality of content created by them.  “It stands to reason that [the reward system] will motivate users to create high-quality content instead of clickbaity headlines that often get their way on centralized platform,” explained Xu. This would create a system where the kind of content shared on social media platforms would become more transparent and curb the menace of vulgar/offensive content and fake news.

According to company figures, during its first week of going online it registered more than 10 million users. Within 10 days it escalated on 6th rank on social ranking list of App Store. It has a monthly trading volume of over 8 million, with a valuation of 120 million yuan. During its beta test stage ONO attracted 2,40,000 users. Within two weeks of its beta version launch 2 million pieces of content were shared. Currently, Ono is available in the Google Play store, with the iOS version coming this month. The company is also set to launch the dapp for international users this month.

What could be the next big social media platform?

World map with social media icons superimposed | Aspioneer
Blockchain based social networks might increase user trust | Aspioneer

The popularity of blockchain based social media networks is rising among users due to far-reaching implications such as increased transparency, control over data and the potential income that this control can generate. This is due to fact that the users can directly deal with the advertisers rather than platform owners. This explains why several other ONO like blockchain-integrated social network are becoming automatic choice of users.

Do you think investing in blockchain based social media startups will one of 2018’s best business ideas? Let us know in the comments below.

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