This video is an overview of Datt, the in-development P2P network with Bitcoin micropayments built-in.
Founded by Ryan X Charles, the former cryptocurrency engineer at Reddit, this ambitious project aims to give users back control of their content and privacy, especially for social networking.
Full disclosure. I am part of the team working on this. I view Datt as an experiment in how social networks and distributed platforms could possibly work, and I'm completely open to the possibility of it failing. That said, I think the ideas behind it are very interesting, and I'd like to share why.
WHY IT'S DIFFERENT
First off, the aim is for Datt to be fully peer to peer, meaning that the data is not owned by big companies like Facebook or Twitter - it's owned by each individual user. This gives the users increased control over their content and privacy too, since your browsing and posting habits aren't being data mined. It's P2P structure also means censorship would be impossible.
You may be saying that you've heard this before with Diaspora or GNU Social, but Datt does it a bit differently by adding Bitcoin into the mix. This means things like upvotes actually cost money, albeit tiny fractions of a penny, and things like giving gold to users means you can tip them for great posts directly with real money.
The reason this is important is that it creates incentives for people to get involved, and unlike the other P2P projects that rely on the goodness of peoples hearts to help run the network, Datt allows users to reward each other directly. So in theory, no corporate bullshit or advertising is needed at all to run and scale the network.
This way of doing things will also hopefully cut back spam, shitposts and reposts, because users will be more careful with their upvotes, since there is a cost associated with it.
The beauty of this is that it'd be quite possible for free boards to coexist if node operators choose to run them for free. I imagine it'd end up like the distinction between Reddit and 4Chan.
MORE THAN SOCIAL NETWORKING
This type of network could have much wider reaching implications than just being a reddit or twitter clone. It's basically a distributed information platform, so it could also potentially replace blogging systems like medium or wordpress, or even sites like craigslist or github.
Developers could design apps that utilize the network, and run their own nodes that filter just the information they want their particular users to see.
This is the area where I have been helping out the most. The main goal here is to create something that is incredibly simple to use. It's focused entirely on the content, with no distractions.
There are also plans for simple customization, similar to how you'd set up your terminal, or coding environment.
Even the logo itself is a conscious representation of what Datt's about; a decentralized network, where the best content rises up.
Of course it's worth saying that since it's open source and P2P, developers could very well create their own nodes and design the front end however they choose.
The project is currently at the prototype stage, and has garnered quite a bit of interest so far. There's a lot of disatisfaction with Twitter, Reddit and Facebook at the moment, and it remains to be seen whether something like Datt could ever be a viable alternative, but we're going to try and see how it goes.
There's still a lot to do, so if you'd like to stay updated with developments or get involved and help shape it, you can use the following links. Thanks for watching.