PostThread is a web3 social media app that rewards it users instead of extracting from them. To do this we use defi and blockchain innovations to create an economy that encourages users to post quality content and curate the platform. A Decentralized Version of Reddit Built Around Crypto Economics With a Focus on User Governance, Ownership and Compensation

Web2 social media has misaligned incentives due to it’s “free” nature. Since their users do not pay them they are beholden to those that do, which is mostly advertisers. In order, to get the most money they can from advertiser they are incentivized to keep their users on the site for as long as possible at any cost. That is the price we as a society pay. The best way to keep a user engaged is to play to their emotions. Sure cat pictures and memes can be harmless, but what happens when they try to rile up our political, religious or philosophical emotions. Blasting users with opinions they already agree with and representing others as evil and stupid is a good way to make a user feel comfortable and come back for more. Whether you agree this is what has actually happened or not, I think the base argument stands, that a social media companies main priority is to keep us there and not necessarily to keep us happy, educated or well informed.

What it does

PostThread uses economic incentives to encourage users to post quality content, interact with the content and curate the site. Users are encouraged to use their tokens each day by interacting with the ecosystem or else they will lose purchasing power due to the high inflation of the tokens. Social media is all about engagement so we believe this encourages that as well as discourages people who wish to profit from the site while contributing nothing such as speculators.

The economics include measures to deter bots since it is unpractical to ban them. Using graph theory, PostThread calculates user scores based on their network of follows. It is unlikely for a malevolent bot to curate a quality network around them and therefore their user score will suffer which in turn will diminish their earning and voting potential.

We have also developed a DAO that can vote on actual function calls in the contracts. This gives the DAO a real use since it can delete posts and ban users. We believe this power is necessary to unable full decentralization and limit the control we or any other centralized entity has.

How we built it

The backend was built in solidity. I implemented centrality scores taken from graph theory. This was difficult due to the constraints of Solidity, but managed to work. This was done using recursive calls to update the local network when someone follows or unfollows another user. The tokens are managed by one contract that burns transfers and mints them when necessary. This was done by adding whitelist function in the token contracts to all whitelisting of the manager contract address. Posts, comments and users are all NFTs that can be minted, burned or traded using the tokens. This was all then deployed on Polygon. We use Moralis to call the contracts and keep track of event emissions. The website was built using NextJS and hosted using IPFS.

We also used ChainLink to give users randomized daily quest to solve. These can be make a post/comment, upvote a post/comment, follow another user, etc.

Challenges we ran into

Implementing graph theory concepts in Solidity was rather difficult, but fun. We ran into some issues deploying the site to IPFS since we had to compile the NextJS code into a static HTML page. It was also difficult building the frontend and backend at the same time in such a limited amount of time.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are very proud of the economic design we thought of. We think it is powerful and capable of solving the social media crisis we are currently in. We are also proud of what we managed to implement on the frontend. It was an endeavor to copy a fully built social media app that has been around for 20 years and what we managed to do is simplistic, but I think is a great prototype of what is to come.

What's next for PostThread

Next I will tidy up the backend to make it easier to understand and call from so that it will be simpler to finish the frontend. We wish to deploy the beta in a test environment where users who can test out the economy effectively will be paid in tokens when the site launches on mainnet. We also wish to curate a loyal community that we can connect with a consult on changes to the platform. We have an idea for a logo-a-day NFT where any user of the site can submit a logo that will be voted on by the DAO each day and will be displayed on the front page. We think this is a good NFT project to find community members that are invested in the project and we will find a way to return value to them.

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