Interview: Sapien Team on Web 3.0 and a New Social World
In a digital world rife with data mismanagement at the personal expense of users, an increasingly social media-dominated social world, and the rapid contagion of fake news, many blockchain projects are aiming to offer up a solution to an alternative market of users seeking something different.
Sapien is offering a Web 3.0 social news platform with the aim of giving users control of their data, rewarding content creators, and preventing fake news.
We got a chance to speak with the Sapien team and talk about everything from Web 3.0 and its impact on society, stopping fake news, and create a human-friendly social world.
You say you want to create the best web 3.0 social experience. How do you define web 3.0 and how do you plan to be a key part of it?
Web 3.0, in a nutshell, is multiple entities sharing value across an open network. Decentralization is a key component as it removes a central point of contact, reduces hacks and data breaches, and provides interoperability and uninterrupted service as there’s no single point of failure. End users will also regain control of their data which can be shared at their discretion.
Sapien is creating a tokenized, democratized, reputation-based social news platform that will give users back control of their data, rewards content creators, and fights fake news.
Users will have the opportunity to opt into the ad revenue sharing program by sharing their data with advertisers or to opt out and have a full, ad-free browsing experience.
By leveraging the latest Blockchain technologies, we can build a platform that is immune to censorship, guards our free speech, respects our privacy, and persists content throughout humanity’s existence.
What are the problems with existing social media and how does Sapien plan to overcome them?
Current issues with existing social media range from exploiting user data to not fairly rewarding content creators to using their own platform to fuel their own agendas. The current platforms are essentially taking their users’ data and selling that information to the highest bidder. They’ve also taken advantage of content creators by not fairly rewarding them for their contributions and claiming ownership of all content being posted on their platform.
At this point, these platforms are free to do as they please with someone’s content and data and they profit immensely off this. Some of these platforms are blatantly using censorship to further their own political agendas. People witness everything from post deletion, bans, and the promotion of videos and media that support their affiliations. Essentially, platforms are creating synthetic filter bubbles and gamifying the social media experience.
Sapien is looking to create a decentralized Web 3.0 social news platform that allows the user to take back control of their social experience, rewards content creators and fights fake news. Users will hold the keys to their data and determine who they share it with. Content creators own their content posted on the Sapien platform and they’ll also be fairly rewarded for it.
The platform will essentially be open to all topics and discussions so as long as it is LEGAL. By default, Sapien does not feature advertisements. Sapien is also looking to implement a unique ad revenue sharing program that allows users the option to be rewarded in SPN as long as they opt-in to sharing their data. If a user does not opt-in, they can still enjoy the platform and all of its functionalities.
How do you differ from other similar alternatives on the market?
In the whitepaper, we describe two competitors: Steemit and Synereo. Both are platforms using the blockchain like Sapien.
Steemit rewards users for quality content and Synereo hopes to create an attention economy infrastructure. We wouldn’t, however, consider any of them direct competitors. What we are trying to create with Sapien is a tokenized, decentralized, reputation-based social news platform that not only will reward users for quality content, but also let them share ad revenue and fight fake news. No other platform is taking this route to fundamentally disrupt existing mass-market platforms.
As for Web 2.0 platforms, we’re hoping to take a stab at Reddit’s market share – already we’ve gotten hundreds of signups from Redditors looking for a more transparent platform. The key is to build Sapien to make it undeniably better than any existing offering. We truly believe we can do this with a powerful utility token that underpins a more democratic platform that empowers its users.
What motivates you to provide a user-driven decentralized network?
The current social media landscape needs a revamp with the publicity of the recent breaches of data and security on the platforms, the censorship of free speech, and the exploitation of content creators.
There was no all-encompassing platform that provided the community with a place to share their thoughts and also ensures that their data and privacy are secure.
We set out to build a platform that encompasses Sapien’s 4 Core Values: Democracy, Free Speech, Privacy, and Customizability (Tailoring your own social experience).
You say that Sapien will allow user communities to self-govern and decide what’s best for their community? What does this mean exactly? Can you give us an example?
Sapien will almost be entirely hands off on how communities are run and operated by the leaders or the admins. This aligns with our Free Speech core value where almost any topic can be discussed without censorship as long as it is deemed LEGAL.
One example would be if CoinCentral migrates their followers over to Sapien. They would have full control over the content, rules of the community, and any paywalls that are implemented in that group. Any bad actors or trolls will be dealt with by that community either using a tribunal or an outright ban. Unless detrimental to the platform or as requested by the leaders of the community, Sapien will not step in to help govern the community and/or implement rules to keep everything in place.
Sapien uses its cryptocurrency, SPN, yet users do not have to buy tokens to use the platform. How does this work?
People that sign up to the platform are automatically airdropped a small amount of SPN so that they can start using the platform immediately. You will need to have SPN in order to access the platform.
However, before the end of July, the Sapien team will be automatically staking 100 SPN for all registered users. Users with staked SPN will have access to the Sapien Rewards Engine.
Some current social media networks and publications are turning towards subscription models to weed out unwanted content. Users are becoming aware that if they are not paying for the product, they are the product. How do you provide them an ad-free platform? How do you assure them they are not part of the product?
We allow users the option to browse the platform anonymously or the option to opt in and share their data. The former still gives people the full experience except that their dashboard would be devoid of ads. The latter allows them to enter into the ad revenue sharing program thus enabling ads to be presented to them. Here, they can share some or all their data with advertisers and they can earn SPN based on how many tokens they stake and what data they share. This gives them, not Sapien, control over their privacy and their own personal data.
How do you ensure the integrity of the content? How do you fight against fake news?
The Proof-of-Value protocol is our approach to distinguish and reward valuable content while preventing the spread of fake news and content that does not align with the values of the community. Distinguishing valuable contributors is a large part of this protocol and in order to accomplish this, we will have an extensive reputation system.
See the accompanying graphic below for how Proof-of-Value works.
Sapien is designed for advertisers, publishers, merchants and users. Can all these groups coexist in harmony on one platform?
The short answer is yes.
We’ve created a unique ecosystem where this is entirely possible and everyone benefits from interacting with each other. Users will be able to access high quality content while also having the option to opt into the ad revenue sharing program. Content creators will be fairly rewarded for the content they publish and will have an all-in-one platform where they can also build a community and set up any premium content paywalls they so choose. Advertisers will be able to receive significant discounts by purchasing ad campaigns using the native SPN token.
How are content creators rewarded?
Current social media platforms are exploiting content creators taking anywhere from 30-60% of the profits and also allowing them the rights to use content posted on their platform however they choose.
On Sapien, the content creators will get rewarded. We will provide multiple solutions for content creators to collect all or most of their profits. Creators will be rewarded for quality content creation and will also be able to set up Premium Content groups, Subscriptions, or even setting up a Media Publication on the platform.
How important are DApps on the Sapien network?
DApps will be something the Sapien team is looking to implement onto the platform in the future.
If privacy and anonymity are guaranteed, what’s to stop Sapien being overtaken by bad actors, using it for sending criminal messages or as a platform for cyberbullying?
Sapien uses something called ‘Something-at-Stake Design’. This allows users to stake their SPN tokens and as a result, we are able to align the interests of the Sapien platform and our community. Users will have a vested interest in creating quality content on the platform or risk losing their staked SPN.
With this “something-at-stake” design, trolls are discouraged from malicious behavior. Valuable contributions will fuel the growth of the platform and compensate users for their merits in the form of SPN rewards.
Society seems it’s getting addicted to technology, smartphones, social media. How do you think technology can be used as a force for good, rather than bad?
Technology has both positive and negative impacts on society and the real challenge is the balance and trade-offs between the two. One can view the impact of technology as a positive aspect because it has not only streamlined and improved communication via smartphones and social media but manufacturing, transportation, and education as well.
The most reasonable perspective is to view how technology affects each person’s social development. Both smartphones and social media have the potential to either enhance your social life or be detrimental to it.
Does new technology help you build positive, meaningful relationships or does it hinder your social development?
What’s the single biggest problem with humanity right now?
The lack of privacy and control of data. Data is the new gold. At this point, various pieces of our identities are being owned by different corporations. We see that softwares and marketers get a full understanding of the demographics they’re targeting that one can fairly say that people are being manipulated.
These corporations have all the power over us and we’re all just caught up in the same spider web. We are at the mercy of these companies owning our private data and using it at their own discretion without any government regulations. Companies that are so lackadaisical with keeping people’s information safe need to step their game up. People need to be more aware of what they’re sharing and with whom they’re sharing it with.
Do you believe that blockchain technology genuinely has the potential to change the world?
The team is bullish on blockchain technology and feel that it has the potential to disrupt almost any industry that’s willing to implement it. This is the emergence of Web 3.0 where the transfer of value, peer-to-peer, is starting to take hold as the next evolution of the internet.
As with any new technology, there are some growing pains and in the case of blockchain, the two that stand out are governance and scalability. However, there are projects addressing these issues and in due time, we see that these will be solved.
What’s a little-known fact about yourself or the team at Sapien?
We are a distributed team located around the world. We were also able to conduct a successful token sale without meeting each other in person. Our first in-person meeting was about a month after our public presale concluded.
Anything else you would like our readers to know?
Sapien is looking to become the premier, go-to social media platform for the general public. We want to offer a top-tier alternative to the current ecosystems out there that exploit user data and privacy and use censorship to further their political agendas.
We already have a LIVE Beta available for anyone holding SPN and we have released the FIRST blockchain based marketplace that accepts its own native token as payment.
As stated earlier, before the end of July, the Sapien team will be automatically staking 100 SPN for all registered users. Users with staked SPN will have access to the Sapien Reward Engine.
The SPN token is positioned to become deeply integrated within the Sapien Network Token Economy, creating a robust network of different participants, users, businesses, media outlets, brands, and validators staking the token for specific benefits.
You can learn about the eight pillars Of SPN staking Here.
You can follow us on our website, Telegram, or our blog for more information or if you want updates about our project and/or have any questions.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alex Moskov is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of CoinCentral. Alex leans on his formal educational background (BSBA with a Major in Finance from the University of Florida) and his on-the-ground experiences with cryptocurrency starting in 2012. Alex works with cryptocurrency and blockchain-based companies on content strategy and business development. He privately consults entrepreneurs and venture capitalists on movements within the cryptocurrency industry.
His writing has been seen in The Hustle, VentureBeat, Yahoo Finance, Harvard Business Review, and Business Insider. His articles on CoinCentral have been cited on publications like Forbes, TechCrunch, Vice, The Guardian, Investopedia, The Motley Fool, Seeking Alpha, and more.
He also regrets not buying more Bitcoin back in 2012, just like you.
You can connect with Alex on Twitter.