Thursday, October 25, 2018

Steemit, which uses blockchain and cryptocurrency, could provide an answer to politically-driven deplatforming



I wanted to introduce on this blog the concept of a blogging platform that uses blockchain, specifically Steemit.  At this point, I’ll keep the remarks general.

The basic link for the site is here, but there is a different url for the introduction to the blockchain.

The basic link will take you to various lists of hot topics.  From these, you may sometimes navigate to material that may be very controversial and have been deplatformed somewhere else.  For example, here is a page about Alex Jones and it leads to more material on Bitchute.  (Let me add something personal:  When Alex Jones went after David Hogg, he went after a sharp-witted teenager  who could defend himself and come out stronger.  But that should have become its own deterrent not to try this again.)


The site offers the possibility to earn cryptocurrency from user accolades for posts, or to earn by supporting the posts of others in some circumstances.
    
 Here's a downloadble paper (by Usman W. Chonan) with some constructive criticism of how the site works and of possible unintended vulnerabilities. It would be possible to become concerned about the usual downstream liability questions for the site (like Section 230 being weakened, DMCA Safe Harbor). 
   
The site does appear potentially useful to any party that could fear deplatforming from the Internet if driven by political ideology. Once entered into the blockchain, material would be undeletable. But it does not look particularly easy, at first glance at least, to store a huge number of posts to the site just to protect them.  It sounds feasible to store complete book text there, such anything bad happen in the self-publishing world (the “pay its own way” concept I have been talking about).

The best way to get started may be with a novel, hard-hitting essay to get upvotes.  Maybe it could be a follow-up on my Medium article on power grid security (August 30, 2018 here).  Maybe it could (with some irony) be an article on politically-driven deplatforming. 

I could wonder if somebody could create a splash with a controversial novel (maybe sci-fi, like evacuating Earth to O’Neill cylinders and hand-picking the survivors by meritocracy, something the Left would find objectionable), getting accolades and earning cryptocurrency, maybe getting enough buzz to get an indie movie made. This could become a viable way to make content pay its own way, as I discussed here Oct. 19 as possibly a coming expectation.

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