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.