People who paid attention to BitClout last year may have heard of its successor, DeSo, a blockchain specialized for social media applications that is now making waves in Web3. DeSo has been in operation for over a year and has a sizable ecosystem of social media apps built on it now. Whereas most blockchains are designed for economic and financial use cases, DeSo is designed solely for social uses by providing a decentralized communications layer for Web3 geared towards social media.
It is well known by now that social media companies use algorithms to promote/demote content, all while collecting their users’ private data to sell to third-party advertisers. Worse, all social media profiles and user posts exist inside private servers and can be deleted anytime. As a result, content creators do not ‘own’ the content they create and have limited monetization options. Many creators face the looming threat of de-platforming, demonetization and algorithmic “shadow-banning” of their content. These problems of centralized social media could be remedied by blockchain technology, but public blockchains like Ethereum, Solana, or Polygon are too expensive to use due to their blockchain gas fees being too high to store social media data on-chain.
DeSo aims to be the solution to these problems. According to DeSo’s official website, DeSo is a blockchain designed specifically for social media applications. It seeks to provide a new way to create, own and monetize social media content by providing a “social layer” for Web3. All posts and user profiles are stored directly on the DeSo blockchain and can be accessed by any app built on it, making DeSo content ‘portable.’ Content portability is one of DeSo’s defining qualities, as all posts are stored on the blockchain, not private servers and can be uploaded to any apps built on DeSo and monetized in any way the owner chooses. Also, artists can mint non-fungible tokens (NFTs) with their DeSo profile and can create and sell ‘social tokens’ that distribute income from NFT sales, features that are utilized on DeSo’s popular Twitter-like Diamond app.
DeSo Is The Social Layer Of Web3
DeSo is not a smart contracts blockchain like Ethereum. Instead, it is designed for storing vast amounts of social media graph data and user profiles, which would be prohibitively expensive on any other network. For example, a 200-character tweet could cost $50 on Ethereum, but on DeSo is less than $0.000017. In addition, The Block reported on DeSo’s recent integration with the popular Metamask crypto wallet, which provides Metamask users with a fully encrypted on-chain messaging service over the DeSo blockchain, along with a Twitter-like set of features. This expands the Metamask crypto wallet to include an encrypted wallet-to-wallet messaging app and permits gas-free DeSo profile creation, posting and user following. With plans to integrate Solana’s Phantom wallet next, DeSo intends to be the Web3 internet’s blockchain-based social layer, operating across all blockchains and all platforms agnostically.
Through DeSo, users can leave comments on NFTs that will be visible across all NFT marketplaces on all blockchains, which could be invaluable for preventing the sale of counterfeit NFTs, and could be adapted for Web3 e-commerce in the future. The ability to message a user’s crypto wallet has been missing in Web3 for many years, with some notable entries that never caught on, but DeSo’s integration with Metamask finally resolves this missing utility. With DeSo, Web3 is no longer just for sending magic internet money and buying expensive JPEG NFTs. It now provides social and communication utilities that are all fully decentralized and controlled by their creators, not social media companies.
While many users will remain on Web2 social media platforms, there are many users and content creators who are tired of tip-toeing around “The Algorithm” and are open to new ideas for monetizing content. DeSo’s content portability is a game-changer for content creators. DeSo stands as a solid example of what blockchain technology can do that extends beyond just economic technology, as it aims to become the layer on which all communication and social activity live.