Social Networking with Ethereum?

SilentCiceroSilentCicero Toronto, CAMember Posts: 159 ✭✭✭
edited November 2014 in Smart Contracts and Dapps
As it presently stands, the Bitcoin protocol only allows for 40bytes of arbitrary data to be added to the blockchain (reluctantly, for many) via its OP_RETURN operand or modified transaction data.

A transactions is made that cannot be spent containing arbitrary data inside, with a fee attached as incentive for miners.

With this system, it makes something like a Social Network very difficult to construct on the Bitcoin blockchain. I'm wondering what sorts of things are possible with Ethereum for social networking given that the blockchain of Ethereum is more mature, flexible and better suited to just about everything than the Bitcoin blockchain (which is looking more like a dinosaur every passing second).

I cant stop reading about ETH, so if you have articles or links please provide them. I'm still building a knowledge of ETH, so please excuse my lack of knowledge if I'm off the mark in any way.



  • GeorgeHallamGeorgeHallam Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 229 admin
    edited November 2014
    Hi there @SilentCicero, I hope you are well.

    If I were to run a social network on top of Ethereum, I would do it like this:

    The actual data for the network (personal information, pictures etc) would be stored off chain using a decentralised p2p file storage system like Ethereum's own Swarm or Filecoin. This would save greatly on costs, but still allow for a large degree of decentralisation in regard to the data.

    You would then use contracts added onto Ethereum's blockchain to pull this data together in a meaningful way to be seen as a social networking page. For instance, you might create a name registration Dapp to help people generate their own personal addresses, another to track where the page's data is stored, another to help people search for other people using the network and so on and so forth.

    For further reading, check out MEOH (a social network proposed earlier on this summer to be built on top of Ethereum), as well as this Reddit post.

    Post edited by GeorgeHallam on
  • JasperJasper Eindhoven, the NetherlandsMember Posts: 514 ✭✭✭
    Personally I like the idea of using auditable pieces of data to represent pages and such. Otherwise you need a reference to magnet links(swarm links) to create a tiny post, whereas with a 'hanging block',(plug) you just send the signed comment(and other actions) to whoever is updating the state, and (s)he will create the next single magnet link that could be thousands of comments.(and you can get a proof that some comments are in there)

    Of course this idea sort-of uses auditable blocks, and challenges+the dynamics of the thing for auditability. Tbh i dont feel sure about it, and comments are a level lower in value. Depends on what it is about though! And if there is "karma", some data-missing-invalid blocks could mess things up longer term.
  • thyseusthyseus Member Posts: 1
    I was just about to start a decentralized, end-to-end encrypted social network running on semantic technology on the tox technology:

    until i discovered ethereum. This platform seems to suit much better.
  • SilentCiceroSilentCicero Toronto, CAMember Posts: 159 ✭✭✭
    Yeah, social networking on Ethereum is definitely an interesting idea. However, there are some serious concerns over its cost, we don't know any hard numbers yet but if its anywhere close to a cent a transmission, the nature of the communication would have to be worth this sort of cost. Not to say that's totally unreasonable, it just changes the cost/value assessment of the networking itself (i.e. what is social networking worth to someone). Excited too see what materializes!
  • GeorgeHallamGeorgeHallam Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 229 admin
    @SilentCicero - we've been mucking around in the office with a Twitter like DApp called "Clucker" should be doing a writeup on it soon. Can see a sneak preview here -
  • SilentCiceroSilentCicero Toronto, CAMember Posts: 159 ✭✭✭
    edited March 2015
    @GeorgeHallam Looks great, cant wait to try it. Next stop facepalm: a decentralized facebook?
  • typecontracttypecontract Member Posts: 4
    Hey, how does this compare to Synereo?
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