This project launched shortly after it’s ICO that ended on March 21, 2018. As all social media dapp, it aimed at changing the way people are using social media. It tries to solve the issue of “Fake News” and turning the traditional business model on its head.
Social media, as we know it, offer us a free service in exchange for all our personal data. This is then sold to advertisers for profits. So you are the value creator and they are the one profiting from it. Sounds fair?
The Sapien Network Solution
Sapien Network is built on top of the Ethereum blockchain with the SPN Token. Their core values revolves around privacy, democracy, owning your data, free speech and preventing “fake news”.
The way they go about preventing fake news and curb malicious behaviors is through staking SPN to participate. It’s basically a paywall that you get refunded over time. Certain actions require you to stake a different amount of SPN.
- Basic Access: 100 SPN
- Access to the Reward Engine: “The more you stake to more you can earn”
- Premium Communities
- Ad Platform
Click here for more information about their staking system.
It is, essentially paying for bandwidth on the network.
Proof of Value Consensus Protocol
At its core, SPN derives its value from the ability to collaboratively distinguish high-quality content throughout the Sapien Network. The proof of value mechanism will promote quality contributions and reward users accordingly. As the contributions of users are evaluated throughout the network they will accumulate a score that reflects their reputation. This will allow a user’s domain-specific expertise to be reflected within their communities. Within Sapien, reputation will mitigate trolling and reduce the spread of fake news. The reputation system is inherent to the SPN token and thus not restricted to the Sapien platform.
There are other features that are interesting to look into but that seems minor compared to the “Something-At-Stake” design and the “Proof of Value Protocol”.
- Encrypted Messaging
- Private/Public browsing
- Ad Platform
- Dapp proposal
My Review of Sapien Network
It is an interesting experiment but I highly doubt it will take off…here are 3 reasons why:
1. It’s Pay To Play
They might not call it like that but when it takes 1 years to get what you paid back…it is a paywall. As a small niche social media, that’s not necessarily a bad thing…it forces people to think twice before posting, voting or commenting but dreaming of mass adoption with this idea is a pipe dream.
FREE is the name of the game on social media. Everywhere on the internet, it is free to post, comment and share. Expecting to change that behavior for millions of users is just not practical.
2. Built On The Wrong Foundation
Can someone explain to me why everyone is trying to build a social media on Ethereum? I mean, not only is it slow and there is a cost for every transaction but it’s already sweating bullets at 500,000 transactions per day (see blocktivity.info)
3. Relies On Too Many Third-Party Applications
For one, if you want to just do simple things like commenting, voting or sharing, you need to have SPN token staked. So how do we stake SPN? Well first, you need Metamask and install it…then you need some ETH. To have ETH, you need to buy them from an exchange(that can be long for first timer). Once you have ETH, you have to go to a DEX where SPN are traded and you need to learn how that works. Once you’ve got your SPN, you have to watch a video to learn how to stake those SPN into Sapien Network. I mean, you’ve just lost 99% of the population right there.
Above is just from the user perspective but on a more fundamental level, Sapien relies on a third-party applications to host its content. These are technologies that are out of their control. If they ever were to reach 1M transactions per day and beyond, how would these third-party deal with it? How would Ethereum deal with it? Ultimately, they have no control over the most fundamental aspect of their business model…the infrastructure.
I applaud those trying to disrupt the social media landscape. In my opinion, the use cases for Sapien Network will be limited to a very tiny niche of Ethereum geeks who like to fit square pegs in round hole.