Social media has become a ubiquitous part of modern life. Almost everyone connects on multiple platforms, and many people rely on these networks as a primary source of operation.
Despite the benefits offered by social networks, they also have huge drawbacks that are not getting addressed. For example, a majority of them offer a “free service.” However, they monetize the platform by selling user information to third parties. Even worse, these are corporate-owned services that don’t guarantee any level of Free Speech protection.
Sphere Social is going to tackle these issues head-on. They are building their solution as an ERC20 token atop the Ethereum platform. The Sphere app already exists and is available for download on both the Apple and Google Play app stores. The app has many of the social features that we’re already used to, but the overall project is meant to put power (and profit) back in the hands of end users. The service will use their token (called Social Activity Token or SAT) to facilitate transactions.
Sphere Social Will Have an Ad Network and a Marketplace
ICO proceeds will help the team build out additional functionality, including Sphere Ads and Sphere Marketplace. These two features will allow direct monetization for users who want to sell products to others or who want to sell ads on their content. YouTube has always been popular because of its AdSense ad-revenue sharing program. That ad network helped spur the explosion of independent creators that make videos, so a similar service on Sphere will definitely attract attention.
The marketplace won’t just be for business owners, either. Users can sell items directly to each other, creating a “yard sale” style system that is fast and easy to use. The project’s roadmap indicates that the marketplace and ad network will be available after Q3 2018. Right now the team is raising funds through a pre-sale ICO, which goes on through April 9, 2018. The project boasts 400,000 current users and has a chance to attract many more. Users and creators are looking for alternatives to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Those centralized services charge for reach and have onerous terms of service that don’t bode well for many subjects.
Cryptocurrency represents that last, best hope for decentralized services. Whether Sphere Social can provide a global alternative to the tech heavyweights remains to be seen, but the project is clearly an idea who’s time is here. Privacy concerns, data security, and monetization on the extant networks are all areas that require significant improvement. Perhaps a nimble young competitor can help up the stakes so that a real alternative exists. The Sphere Social ICO has already reached its soft cap of $1.5 million and fundraising will continue on until the hard cap at $40 million. Flush with ICO cash, the team should be able to rapidly scale marketing and IT efforts to handle a rush of new growth.
The cryptocurrency space now has multiple competitors in the social space. Steem is now a Top 30 market cap crypto coin, proving that a large swathe of social media users are willing to use alternatives. The project that gets this vertical right has a chance to disrupt the current tech space. We’ll be keeping an eye on Sphere Social to see how well they stick to their roadmap.