Ever since former Reddit Cryptocurrency Engineer Ryan X. Charles published a Medium post about fixing some of Reddit’s core issues with Bitcoin, the community has been obsessed with the thought of a social media platform with financial incentives for publishers. Although some believe that simply cloning Reddit and attaching bitcoin to upvotes would be enough to get the job done, it appears that Charles is taking a different approach. During a recent presentation at a SF Bitcoin Meetup, the perpetual Bitcoin developer discussed how his new creation, Datt, will be much more than just Reddit with Bitcoin.
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Datt’s Final Form is Unclear
One of the points that Ryan X. Charles made on a few separate occasions during his recent talk is that it is still unclear what Datt will look like when it is released to the public. Instead of becoming an alternative to Reddit, it seems clear that Datt will be an entirely new and unique social media platform. Charles noted:
“We’re putting a lot of thought into what the product should actually be because I’m not convinced that just copying Reddit and then making upvoting equal to tipping someone is the best idea, so we have several different product plans that are options.”
For now, the only thing that seems clear is that content creators will be able to get paid for sharing their content in some manner, and the funds for those payments will come directly from people who enjoy the content. Most people have heard of the concept of attaching bitcoin to upvotes, but there are a variety of other content monetization schemes that could be added to the platform.
Datt is Not the ‘Frontpage of the Internet’
It’s possible that Datt will be some sort of combination of Reddit and Twitter with a little bit of Bitcoin sprinkled on top. Charles explained that users may be able to follow each other in a manner similar to Twitter, and he claimed that the front page could look quite different from the homepage of Reddit:
“There will be some important differences. For instance, the frontpage may not be just — like on Reddit if you’re not logged in they just sort of show you like a standard — here’s all the content, like top twenty subreddits or something like that, [and] if you’re logged in, you pick your subreddits. It will probably be more focused on following people rather than communities.”
Figuring Out How to Get People to Pay for Content
At its core, Datt is about figuring out a new way to create a financial connection between content creators and their audiences. All of the different ways in which artists, writers and other creative types will be able to monetize their content seems unclear at this stage, but there are already multiple plans on the table. Charles outlined his desire to figure out how to encourage people to pay for content during his presentation:
“I want to make something mainstream. I really want to nail the product. I want to nail the way the incentives work. I want people to want to pay for things. One of the questions people ask when I tell them what I’m doing is, ‘Why would I want to pay for content on a social media app? I can use Reddit today and everything is free. I can use Facebook today and everything is free.’ There are cases where you would want to pay. If you believe in something somebody has said, you might want to just sponsor that person. You might want to give them a payment. ChangeTip does this successfully. Zapchain does this successfully. I think there are cases where you want to pay somebody. There are actually a whole bunch of companies that are trying to figure out how to encourage people to pay for content.”
Whether it’s in the form of bitcoin tips attached to every upvote, or polls that allow users to vote on future content by sending bitcoin to a specific address, it’s clear that there is a potential for Datt to become a useful platform for content creators who want to find a way to monetize their work. No one should be disappointed that Datt is not simply a decentralized version of Reddit, because it’s possible that it could turn into something much more powerful for online content monetization.
Do you think Datt will be better than Reddit? Let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Ryan X. Charles and rentvine.
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