Creation is easy, curation is hard: Social blockchains and incentive snafus

YouTube is missing the big picture. At least that’s what Adrien Marie, founder of DTube, thinks. Adrien launched his decentralized video platform back in 2016 and it became an instant success. The idea behind DTube was to respect user privacy and to create a straightforward censorship-free platform with high-quality content. Today, DTube boasts 17 million sessions per month, across 800,000 unique visitors. This makes DTube the world’s most popular DApp.

Adrien attributes much of DTube’s instant success to the underlying incentive structure built into the platform. DTube is built on top of Steem, GUN, and IPFS, and as a user’s video is upvoted, they are paid in the social cryptocurrency. Unlike YouTube, if you visit DTube you won’t find ads. Instead, DTube takes a small portion of each video’s revenue.

Besides providing straightforward incentives and respecting users freedom of speech, Adrien plans to expand incentives to curators of quality content. This is a point that still evades YouTube.

“[YouTube] forgets about most of the people, they forget about the people watching videos, they focus solely on the creators. And we believe there’s two sides to this coin. There’re people watching videos and there’re people making them, and they only focus on the creators because it’s their way to create an audience…” -Adrien Marie

DTube has been learning that incentivizing content creation can have unforeseen consequences. In YouTube, this can be seen with low-quality (and sometimes uncanny) machine-generated kids’ videos which preyed on children’s undiscerning and massive media viewership. The platform now requires employee/contractor approval before a video is entered into their YouTube kids app as a means to mitigate this problem. DTube faces comparable problems in the form of DTube snaps. Snaps are very short, money-grabbing, video clips that rely on friends upvoting one another’s content. Quantity (not quality) videos and friends means the potential for more money.

But unlike YouTube, DTube has a way forward that will automate the quality content-curation problem: upvotes themselves will be limited in number, but represent value that’s rewarded by cryptocurrencies. So if someone is one of the earliest upvoters of content that later becomes viral, they stand to make a lot of money. It will pay to be a talented curator in the system.

This automates the process of content curation, and also naturally weeds out videos of a questionable nature. Importantly, it does so in a decentralized manner, so no DTube employee need call the shots on what content is and is not allowed on the platform.

If you’d like to learn more, watch the full interview (on DTube!) here.

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