What Exactly Is Belecam?
Belacam is a social media platform for sharing photos and videos. Unlike most platforms that don’t provide any potential for earnings (i.e. Instagram), Belacam allows you to send and receive micro-payments through likes. Every time a user likes one of your posts, you receive BELA (the platform’s native cryptocurrency). Whenever you like a post, you send some of your BELA to another user.
How Popular Is Belacam?
As of November 12, 2018, Belacam has over 41,500 users. Stats for the total number of users, new users in the past seven days, and new users in the past 24 hours are all listed on the left sidebar of the Belacam website homepage. These totals are constantly updated, giving a super transparent outlook on the growth of this social media platform.
One cool thing about Belacam is that you earn BELA just for signing up. When I signed up, I received the equivalent of $0.28 in BELA. Even though this amount is small, there are also simple tasks you can complete to earn more BELA.
I earned the equivalent of $0.28 in BELA just for signing up.
Free Tasks to Earn BELA
If you’re just starting out on the platform, there are a few ways that you can earn BELA. These include posting a photo (2 BELA), liking a photo (3 BELA), and setting a new profile pic (1 BELA). It’s essential to note that you can only complete each of these tasks once to earn a combined total of 6 BELA. For example, the second photo you like will actually cost you 1 BELA. By completing these tasks and earning BELA, I was able to get a good understanding of how the platform worked relatively quickly.
Note that if you receive a like or complete a free task, you might need to refresh the page in order to see your updated BELA balance (located on the right sidebar of the homepage).
Due to the way the platform works, you will need BELA to be able to like photos. If you use up all the funds within your account, you either have to deposit more BELA via an auto-generated deposit address or earn BELA by receiving likes on your own photo.
Once you’ve liked a photo, you can’t unlike it. The funds (1 BELA) instantaneously go to the user account that posted the photo you liked. If you try clicking the heart after it has turned red, you won’t get any results. This is different than Instagram, which allows users to easily unlike a photo.
Every post on Belacam includes the number of likes, views, and amount of Bela earned.
Belacam doesn’t offer filters like you might be used to on Instagram. As of November 2018, the only options for photo editing are original, saturated, and grayscale. Luckily, there are plenty of apps specifically for adding filters that you can use. Personally, I decided to use Adobe Lightroom on my laptop to boost the quality of my images.
Unlike almost all other social media platforms, you can’t like your own post with Belacam. This makes sense, especially considering that you can’t send cryptocurrency funds to yourself.
However, you CAN edit your photo caption and photo location after you upload a photo.
Posting photos and videos is easy on Belacam.
Things to Know About Belacam Functionality
As of November 2018, Belacam doesn’t have a mobile app. This means that you’ll need to need to use your computer or mobile phone internet browser to access the platform. For me, using both of these was quite easy. I would say that the web experience for Belacam is clearly better than the web experience on Instagram’s web browser site. The main difference is that the latter doesn’t allow you to upload photos.
Currently, Belacam doesn’t yet have a feature similar to Instagram Stories. It does, however, have a feature called “Feed” where you can see the posts of the users you follow. It also has an “Explore” feature for discovering the top people, hashtags, and photos (hot, new, and most liked) on the platform.
For me at least, photos were a bit slow to appear on the “Explore” tab. Only eight photos showed up when I navigated to the “Explore tab”. Loading additional posts beyond the first eight was also a bit slower than expected. Therefore, depending on your connection speed, using Belacam might take a bit more patience than other social media platforms.
Left: Belacam native photo editing options. Right: One of my posts after uploading.
Comments on Content Creation and Monetization
Unfortunately, Belacam does make it possible to earn crypto without actually being an owner of a particular photo. While photo sharing apps that don’t utilize micro-payments (i.e. Instagram) also lack policies protecting original content, we have seen some social media platforms like YouTube develop technical solutions that prevent these cases. It would be cool if Belacam or another project could establish a blockchain-based solution that could verify that any content published is actually original.
With any social media platform, though, we have to realize one of the key components of adoption is content availability. If there are enough accounts with quality content to follow, people who try the platform for the first time are more likely to return and become a long-term user. So, this sort of creates a ‘chicken or the egg’ dilemma when it comes to content.
Here’s another photo I posted on Belacam.
Pondering the Economics of Web 3.0
One of the biggest things I considered when using Belacam was the economics of Web 3.0. With social media platforms in Web 2.0, many people consider them to be free to use. We often don’t think about things like in-app targeted advertisements or companies selling our user data. There is even a legal argument that states social media platforms should pay users who add content that creates value for the platform. Most of the major platforms from the era of Web 2.0 don’t offer this. Even platforms that do allow users to monetize content (i.e. YouTube) typically don’t compensate to a level proportionate to the value provided by a given content creator.
Moving to Web 3.0 could be beneficial from a data privacy perspective. Still, platforms like Belacam that utilize micro-payments as the primary economic model definitely require a mindset shift for many users. For example, users now have to consider whether or not a like is worth sending 1 BELA or not. One of the possibilities is that people will be less willing to pay, thus users across the board could receive far fewer likes than on social media platforms like Instagram.
However, this could also be good for adding a more human element to social media. As we have seen with most large social media platforms in Web 2.0, bots can auto-like a post at low (or even zero) costs. This essentially creates more spam and less genuine interactions between users. By using cryptocurrency and putting tokeneconomics in action with Web 3.0 platforms, it’s possible that we could see a positive movement towards better determining the true quality of each post and creating more authentic communities of followers.
My Results with Belacam
When I signed up with Belacam, I wanted to at least receive a few likes and gain a few followers. In the end, I was able to accomplish this. While the amount of BELA I earned wasn’t too significant, it’s essential to note that I had just begun posting here. Someone who is able to gain a large following could find more success on the platform.
At the very least, Belacam demonstrates an innovative use case for cryptocurrency. Similar to other Web 3.0 social media platforms, Belacam is just emerging as a viable alternative to Web 2.0. I can certainly see how it’s possible to use Belacam over traditional social media platforms. With increased user adoption and improved blockchain scalability, we could very well see a new era for decentralized social media and content creation.
BELA on Ethex
You can find BELA tokens on Ethex. We only list useful tokens that have shipped to mainnet. We are happy to support Bela and other similar projects. If you have any suggestions for tokens you think should be listed, fill this form out.