When Bitcoin rose above anybody's expectations (around 500 USD) a curious class of people emerged within the ecosystem, they were self-titled bitcoin maximalists, this group (still influential) thinks that only bitcoin matters, that every other altcoin is trash, that you can built uniswap on top of the lighting network, that you can do remittance, real state tokenization, monero-like privacy, everything on the Bitcoin blockchain.
Some people believed that, and tried to built the very first dapps on top of the bitcoin blockchain (as far as I know, a majority just never left the idea stage) and although some of these programmers are brilliant, like Vitalik Buterin, one by one reached similar conclusions.
It is not technically feasible, is too expensive, too clunky, etc
Bitcoin maximalists ignored these valid concerns, and some bitcoin forks and entire new blockchains later the landscape changed, with ethereum leading the pack for dapps.
Then, on march 24, 2016 steemit was born and many people thought and pitched it as the greatest way to do blogging on the blockchain, being represented as a safe haven from google's manic obsession with control, a way to freely discuss important things and be able to speak truth to power.
So, in that year I jumped to the steemit ship, publishing some articles, and then,... nothing.
I didn't make a single penny, I had to learn all these new rules on how the system works "four passwords? Common, I just want to write"
Worse, I received no comments and had no analytics to fix my gaze upon, which made me feel like I was screaming at the void for nothing, so I quit and forgot about social media on the blockchain for a while.
A similar depressing experience ocurred to me with minds.com, that currently says it has an ERC-20 token, but is extremelly dificult to know what is the ticker or the contract adress.
Fast forward to 2019, and things got more heated with youtube as far as censorship is concerned, channels (not mine) started to disappear, people were being supressed for reasons that sometimes were unjust, so I started looking for a youtube alternative, a real one.
This alternative had to be normie friendly, censorship resistant and already functional.
At first I just found steemit Dapps (this was early 2019, so before the fork) and centralized websites that pinky promise to never censor me because they are the "good guys" (bitchute, and gab come to mind) which is less than ideal, I prefer a system where censorship is hard to do rather than just trust in the promise of a human.
However, since that's all I found, (steemit, dapps and centralized services) I gave them a second chance, I will spare you the details, it was:
Almost a chore
Not even rewarding from the point of view of reaching an audience, since I got few views and comments.
What Would This Look Like If It Were Easy?
Tim Ferris said it best, most people fail at doing podcasts (amongst other things) since they record 2 hours of audio, listen to the whole thing, edit the boring parts, render it on adobe premiere, and then upload it.
That's too much work, Tim Ferris exclaims, and then blurts out "What would this look like if it were easy?" to him this meant improving his skill to ask questions, so that the conversation be useful and entertaining, but specially, to set the rul of never edit a podcast, unless the editing was outsourced.
A similar principle should be applied everywhere, but also on crypto-social-media.
Ask yourself, how much more easier this could be? Are steemit/hive's 4 password system granma friendly? No, not at all, not even mid-30's friendly.
Is it the idea of having two chains (like mind's) easily understandable? Absolutely not.
Just like Nir Eyal said on his book "Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products"
"As recent history of the web demonstrates, the ease or difficulty of doing a particular action affects the likelihood that a behavior will occur. To successfully simplify a product, we must remove obstacles that stand in the user's way. According to the Fogg Behavior Model, ability is the capacity to do a particular behavior"
After all, if you make it hard for the majority, even the savvy minority will say "what's even the point?"
Granma also needs the internet, and savvy people need to also be able to connect with normies within a Dapp.
By making systems so complex such as with steemit/hive (plus the double login, one for blogging and one for your wallet) you might stop some thieves (except just sun's hard fork) but all the value that normies will not add will be missed, since they will never use your system, leading to a more substantial loss.
For instance, I prefer hundred fold my self hosting wallet to be only secured by a human-readable password + a seed phrase rather than steemit's system (which already have made me loss one account) https://read.cash/@cryptolohy/i-lost-my-hive-account-f912557f
Enter LBRY, The Best Solution So Far
LBRY is simple, similar to regular apps like youtube, you only need one human-readable password that you can change at will, or a link sent to your email, with a desktop app that once is open it remains open unless you log out.
Sure, someone can send your funds to other adress if they have access to your PC or Mac, but I prefer that as opposed to login to hivewallet every time I need to do something with my crypto.
Simple, usable and it works.
And that's that.
Do You Wanna Grow? Bleed Value
The other issue with steemit and minds back in the day (and hive currently) is how shy they are when spreading wealth, systems are set up with a bias towards taking money away from you, for instance, the subscription model of minds.com is literally asking you to pay in order to benefit from writing blogs, and hive/steemit have a system in which downvotes can really and profoundly hurt your payouts.
LBRY on the other hand turns the system on it's head, by giving crypto to their verified users and by creating a system in which you can put your things to sell with no cut going to LBRY.
People can outcompete you, but they cannot erase your payouts, and people can support you temporarily without losing money, as stated in their FAQ:
"A support boosts trust and performance, but does not give anything to the publisher permanently - therefore we call it a revokable support. The supporter can keep these staked as long as they like or revoke them anytime via the wallet page.
In both cases, the amount of credits is stored as associated with (staked against) either the piece of content or the publisher channel. Either way, the amount staked:
Help content perform better in search results.
Helps content appear higher in the list of top and trending publishes.
Determines which content is shown at the community-controlled name"
This is a system in which there is a bias in favor of the users, so that is easier for them to make money.
And from where all this money comes from? Well, mainly from LBRY Inc, which is bleeding LBRY credits (https://lbry.com/credit-reports) but it seems to be working if we judge it by the number of users and transactions (half a million channels already: https://lbrynomics.com) as well as the massive pump triggred by a crypto whale who bought LBRY, moving the price from 0.03 USD to 0.21 USD in one single day.
Similar examples of entities growing with the technique of giving more than they take include:
Bitcoin: Remember the faucets that gave 50 BTC per day? Some of those recipients have become millionaires.
Uber: Giving free rides globally and incentivizing drivers all over the place.
Amazon: Many thought that making returns easy and siding with the customer a majority of the times would be a huge mistake, an amazon did bleed billions during years, but still got its main goal, to be the biggest online company in retail.
Youtube: Free unlimited video storage with global distribution and almost no downtime? You kidding me right?
No entity that I can remember has becomed globally dominant by penny pinching or punishing economically its early adopters, and although steemit and hive had indeed provide me value, still is not as much and as constant as with LBRY.
In fact, in the case of hive I make much more revenue with the Leo Token from LeoFinance, which is a second-layer solution (similar to an ERC-20 token on Ethereum) and although these gains are great, I wish the main hive blockchain would have done what Leo is doing right off the bat.
LBRY Will Not Win Because....
Some say that LBRY will not become the dominant global decentralized platform for information transmission and crypto social media because there is already much competition.
So, let's break down the competitors and why I think LBRY still will win.
Ethereum is turing complete, which means, according to a user in stack overflow:
"A Turing Complete system means a system in which a program can be written that will find an answer (although with no guarantees regarding runtime or memory). So, if somebody says "my new thing is Turing Complete" that means in principle (although often not in practice) it could be used to solve any computation problem."
For this reason, many applications are run on ethereum, which leads many to believe that every single program possible will be done in ethereum in the future, for instance gaming, insurance, social media, video hosting, etc
For a time it looked like that would actually be the future, we would had an ethereum-based youtube, twitter, etc, but then, when hopes were high, slowly but surely more and more people realized that the gas fees are high sometimes and that the transactions become really slow when traffic is high, which meant that there is no real hope of building and maintaining the next youtube on ethereum.
Some efforts have been done, but no major player has arrived out of it yet.
Based on the ethereum blockchain, unstoppable domains are building domain names over the blockchain, which seems like a great idea to build, however, I think it will not go far, for the following reasons.
If you pick a domain name already choosen by another person, you need to offer money to the person who purchased the domain, for instance, if the domain name is your company name and you really want to own that domain, which is basically a copy paste of the previous model used by domain hosting providers like godaddy, with the problem being that such approach creates all sorts of abuse, like the well known problem of domain trolling or cybersquatting.
To actively try to replicate a system so inefficient when allocating resources and resolving disputes is not optimal in my opinion.
You may say that this is just how it is and that we have to accept it, but that's not the case at all, LBRY solved the issue of domain/keyword trolling in a rather elegant way:
"How does LBRY naming work? Why don't you just assign names the same way as internet domains?
Before talking about how names (URLs) in LBRY work, it's important to understand the problem. What is a naming system and why do we have one?
Names exist so that we can map a human-readable and understandable word or term to a more difficult one to remember like number or ID. In the traditional DNS (domain name system), names are mapped to a numerical IP address. In LBRY, names are mapped to a unique, permanent ID representing a piece of digital content and/or a publisher identity.
Designing a naming system that works well and fairly assigns names is quite hard! Consider the domain system you are likely using to access this document. LBRY's domain used to be lbry.io for a long time, rather than lbry.com. Is it because lbry.com is providing some unique service? No! It is because a squatter was in possession of it, simply looking to auction the domain name to the highest bidder in demand. We had to negotiate for months (and pay lots of $$$) to get in possession of the lbry.com domain and we don't want LBRY users to go through a similar experience...we'd rather leave it up to incentives and fixed protocol rules.
The traditional system has several other flaws. It is centralized and a mechanism of censorship, as holders do not have true ownership of their domain, only the top-level provider. Top-level domains (like .io) are also arbitrary and largely illogical (if designing the domain name system again, would we really want to add an arbitrary ".com" to the most prestigious URL for a given keyword? does LBRY have anything to do with the Indian Ocean?). Finally, in addition to incentivizing bad behavior, the flat-fee structure of domains prevents the good behavior from those who are priced out.
We wanted a system that:
Allows a single word to be mapped directly to a piece of content, with no other extension or modifier.
Allows creators to acquire a URL and own it permanently and forever, without ongoing fees.
Allows multiple pieces of content to be located at a single keyword while keeping URLs as short and memorable as possible.
Prevents squatters from extorting creators.
After meaningful consultation with creators, consumers, economists, computer scientists, and more, we devised LBRY's naming system.
How LBRY Does Naming
First and foremost it is absolutely possible to own and control a URL forever.
In LBRY, a URL entry is called a claim. For simplicity, a claim can be considered to consist of:
The name (a string of characters chosen by the creator)
The number of credits
Additional data related to the content and/or publisher identity
Claims in LBRY are non-consumptive. When you designate a number of credits in a claim, nothing is lost or destroyed beyond the relatively minimal transaction fee. At any time, the credits allocated to a claim can be used for another purpose, recovered, or sent somewhere else. When this happens, the claim is no longer considered valid."
Besides that, to publish something in LBRY I only need less than 1 cent (USD) and little time, whereas with unstoppable domains I need substantial amounts of crypto (depending on the value of the domain) and more time to do it.
I still will use unstoppable domains, and I also recommend it, but I don't think that it would be the backbone of the new internet.
Besides, some have said that unstoppable domains is centralized, although I haven't confirmed this myself.
With all the drama that Justin Sun caused, I think is safe to say that steemit will not grow much more in the forseable future, however, with Hive is different since the community is strong and they sometimes come up with very interesting projects, such as d.buzz (https://read.cash/@cryptolohy/dbuzz-get-paid-to-tweet-no-really-275b752d) however, the fundamental design is far from being user friendly, in fact and if I am totally honest, the idea of having 4 different passwords and having an extra password to get into some dapps (Hivesigner, why?) is quite perplexing to me.
In my opinion Hive/Steemit are the most difficult to use and chore-like blockchains and dapps to use.
If in a subsequent fork the community re-designs this stringent system I might become more hopeful about its growth, but as of yet it seems that Hive/Steemit took the route of setting up a system to protect against a hacker with an IQ of 150 while leaving behind most average users, which halts their ability to grow fast.
When Facebook started to go bananas against its users, many non-crypto apps who claimed to have some decentralized infraestructure started to appear, most have fallen into obscurity, except mastodon, which I still see sometimes featured by some tech teams on their websites from time to time.
For that reason it made me curious, so I started to research, but I quickly becamed disilusioned, mainly for the following reasons:
Not great reach: even big brands with thousands of followers get the engagement of a regular nobody.
No economic incentives: no crypto token
Less censorship resistant than crypto alternatives: Usually most users will rely on a node (a literal dude who sets up their mastodon node) and the admin of that node can block you or mute you whenever he wants and for any reason he wants, so pretty much like a forum on someone else's website, so if someone blocks you, it doesn't harm your account, since you will still have your account and posting history, but if you want to use the service you need to deploy your own node or join another one that doesn't use the same block list that the other one you got kicked out already, which is not that common since I read that usually nodes share their blocking lists and the community is very much in favor of left leaning policies and ideas.
In conclusion? no thanks.
This includes centralized services such as:
These services pinky promise to never shut you down, mainly for philosophical reasons.
Need to say more? you are trusting an entity to deliver on that promise, this is crypto, we join a system designed to be trustless, decentralized and mathematically inclined towards freedom of action, not based on humans or promises.
Promiseware is not the future, is the past, wake up.
LBRY Onboarding = Genius
Another important piece of the puzzle is the process of onboarding on LBRY, which is what makes or breaks a dapp in my opinion.
Most competing dapps have a clunky onboarding system, and also later they ask you to re-upload your stuff by hand, whereas LBRY has an amazingly simple onboarding system, you just go to: https://lbry.com/youtube
Fill the easy requirements and that's that, watch your content from years to be copied by a program to the LBRY blockchain.
I have only managed to do such importing with LBRY, whereas with other dapps the process is just manual, which is time consuming and chore-like.
Who Imitates Who?
People like to copy, is one of our fundamental biases when seeing success, If ain't broken don't fix it I'm I right?, however, when seeing such a strong behemoth as Youtube and the .com centralized industrial complex, you have to really wonder, are these perfect systems? obviously not, therefore, why we feel compelled to do a 100% carbon copy of them, why not innovate and disrupt? yes, even in the most basic things.
When a company or team is unique you know you found a team capable of exploting and capitalizing on the shortcomings of your competitor, even if that competitor is Youtube.
Does Youtube censors content? Let's do a dapp where content lives locally and is served by individual pc's so as to being unable to censor content ourselves.
Does Youtube crushes monetization for its users? Let's do a monetization system that works even without us, such as with peer-to-peer tips and peer-to-peer purchases using lbry credits.
Do videos get shared by an algorithm under our control? Let's make it technically possible for people to make, share and deploy their own algorithms inside our own dapp.
These actions, some of which are completely novel and game changing, that involve independent thinking instead of copy pasting, ensure that LBRY will grow and take more and more users from Youtube.
LBRY has elegantly solved the problem of keyword trolling or cybersquatting, micropayments, censorship resistance in data while being reasonable against illegal content, with said content being able to be blocked by users and also not displayed on the LBRY dapp.
If you are not yet on LBRY, what are you waiting for? Use my referral link and get some free lbry credits to start:
I am sure you will find it useful.