Decentralized Content Platforms

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March 10, 2020
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Decentralized Content Platforms

Digital influencers will wield far more influence over consumers than big, recognizable brands by using decentralized platforms.

Key Insight

Digital influencers will wield far more influence over consumers than big, recognizable brands by using decentralized platforms. How? Blockchains and distributed ledgers now shift the incentive structures for how content gets curated and consumed—from centralized algorithms to vast user bases who vote for content in return for payments, reputation, and access.

Why It Matters

This impacts myriad industries, including online gaming, fashion, retail, tourism, auto manufacturers and even the 2020 political campaigns.

Examples

In July 2019, Jack Dorsey announced plans to “decentralize” Twitter by making it an open-source protocol—a move that underscores a larger trend in decentralizing content platforms. Platforms like Gab and Mastodon give content creators and community administrators more flexibility, ownership, and rewards for the content they produce and curate.

In April 2019, one of YouTube’s most popular content creators, PewDiePie, struck a deal to exclusively livestream all his content on DLive, a new decentralized video platform. These kinds of decentralized systems allow audiences of any size to coordinate and self-organize, reducing the need for intermediaries and diminishing the role of distributors and curators. This could create a proving ground for an alternate form of editorial curation—one that gives more control to content creators, whether it’s a social media or posting a public speech.

These kinds of networks also make it harder to censor or limit access to information, and creators can be guaranteed that what they produce doesn’t get altered, filtered, or blocked by a third party. Gab, a decentralized social media alternative to Twitter, has grown by providing an alternative to larger platforms, which have banned such users as Alex Jones, and which have strict content moderation policies restricting inappropriate content and cyberbullying.

What’s Next

Centralized content platforms must make concessions in the form of revenue splits, content moderation, or managing audiences. By making parts of their platforms decentralized, companies like Twitter and Facebook will also be able to shirk the responsibility of moderating offensive content.

The Impact

Expect users to demand that platforms place greater importance on trust and credibility.

Watchlist

DLive, Facebook, Gab, Mastodon, Mixer, Reddit, Twitter, YouTube.