Blockchain and online communities


(Richard Millington) #1

Just throwing this one out there, does anyone have any thoughts or predictions about the impact of the blockchain upon communities.

It’s not really on the cusp of usefulness yet, but it has a potentially big impact on our work. So I’m curious if anyone has any predictions or expectations about what it might mean for our work.

Very open question this one.

(Luis Villa) #2

I’ve seen some very half-baked (quarter-baked?) ideas about Wikipedia on Blockchain, but I think they all break down very badly: blockchains require strict rules that don’t work well with the flexible dynamics healthy communities need.

One possible exception (which is being experimented with, though I’m blanking on where I saw it) is as a simple replacement for stars/likes. It may be more helpful to think about it as “micropayments” than “blockchain”, though - think of blockchain as the implementation detail.

(Richard Millington) #3

That’s interesting.

I was thinking about blockchain more in terms of identity management and each user having control of their own identity - or possibly the development of a platform that automatically rewards good behavior and doesn’t have any central system to it.

(Luis Villa) #4

Identity on blockchain is really interesting! I’m somewhat skeptical, though, because decentralized identity is appealing but has really, really bad failure modes: sometimes you really do need to delete user data for various reasons (privacy-related, criminal law, minors, etc.) and it isn’t clear how deletion (or often even editing) works in a distributed identity system. As a practical matter, Google/Facebook logins seem to have solved that problem for most people most of the time, so I suspect there will not be much traction here, though some are trying (e.g., Air)

Rewards via tokens are also very interesting; that’s what I was thinking of when I was talking about stars/likes/etc. But again, somewhat challenging: those things are most effective when they’re very tied to a particular community’s norms and values. Making them “portable” is therefore hard! But certainly I’d expect some experimentation there; Kik’s chat/social network is already doing something like this (the “Kin” token, $100M ICO) that may be interesting to follow. (news piece with more detail)

(joel galbraith) #5

This is where I see the value being discussed. It’s a touch over my head (ok, I bunch!), but it looks intriguing and seems to have some democratization value.

(Natasha Schön) #6

Hey Richard,

Sure, there is a ton of stuff coming up in the area of blockchain and communities. Tokens as rewards is a popular one, pooling funds to keep communities sustainable, keeping track and sharing reputation…

Here are some of the projects I know of:

And our own blockchain project THX, of course (

These projects are all pretty much in their beginning phases. I don’t think we’ll be seeing any major impact in the next year or two. But after that, I do see a lot of potentials for blockchain to bring around some major improvements in the way people interact in communities and how we can keep them alive and kicking!

(rhogroupee) #7

Thanks for mentioning our project, @natashaschon! I’ve been a Feverbee member for a long time but somehow missed this topic! Happy to answer questions about Narrative, or help out if anyone is interested in blockchain and community in general. Your THX token looks really interesting too!

(Ben O'Hanlon) #8

There’s a very interesting project called Verus Coin which will allow voting and it’ll allow the user to authenticate specific parts of their identities without giving up anon. We all have diff kinds of identities and it’ll give you control of it. They have some incredible IOT voting stuff under the hood too. Mike is the lead dev and was VP at Microsoft (can’t remember exact dept).

Is this the kind of info you’d find interesting or are you looking for a broader take?

(Robert van Hoesel) #9

One (dead) 4 year old project that was a bit ahead of is time, comes across my mind. It focussed on making the realization side of crowdfunding projects done by a broad community. It used real money and later Crypto tokens to crowdfund community-driven projects with tokens, and reward those participating. It was extremely promising.

Some old school explainer video:


  • Stackoverflow: Pitch in on a bounty/reward for getting someones (or your) question answered: Reward can go to the person successfully answering, and those trying to answer.
  • Github: Fund issues/PRs/features that you would like to see become reality. Reward goes to contributors based on lines of code etc. (Just found out something similar has been made:

Simpler version would be literal tokens of appreciation.

I wonder if transactional behavior like this would work in communities. People are/should be intrinsically motivated to share and participate. Involving transactions might just really make participating inaccessible for people without the resources to pay.

The one exception (which is more appreciation that transactional) is, of course, Reddit Gold – which just shows that people sometimes actually want to literally pay people making wonderful comments.

The big impact we already see is of course how extremely community driven blockchain projects currently are – which in turn opens up more companies believing and investing in their community :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: