As decentralized social media is one of the central topics at KryptoSeoul’s Buidl Asia event held in South Korea, Pandoraland spoke with Ethereum Name Service (ENS) developer, Makoto Inoue, to find out more about Web3 social media, its potential to replace Web2, and the roles of ENS and the metaverse in this new social paradigm.
According to Inoue, Web3 is “inherently social and distributed.” The developer highlighted that everything is transparent since it is built on top of the blockchain. This makes the blockchain a “social graph,” commonly used to represent the interconnectedness of relationships in an online social network.
“It’s already inherently permissionless and social. That’s where ENS fits in; it’s transparent, but the addresses are human-readable. And by having the ENS name associated, it suddenly becomes a social graph,” he said.
The developer added that when there’s a need to make things “easier to understand,” ENS comes in. This leads to the creation of what the developer describes as an “identity trail.” He explained:
“Wherever people start using blockchain and if you have to use your wallet address, especially in signing, it’s your kind of identity. It’s your identity trail. And we are making this history of identity more visible.”
Inoue told Pandoraland that within the paradigm of decentralized social media, no entities could stand in the way of its users. Compared with traditional social media, no entity has the right to stop anyone on its platform. He explained that:
“When Twitter first came out, there’s a vibrant ecosystem of developers building whatever they want. But once they figure out that’s actually taking the revenue of Twitter, they have the right to stop it.”
On Feb. 2, social media giant Twitter announced it would start charging developers who integrate the Twitter API into their projects. On June 1, the social forum Reddit started following Twitter’s lead in asking for payment for what was once free. Inoue says this will not happen in Web3 since it’s inherently permissionless.
Pandoraland also asked Inoue about the potential of Web3-based social media to replace old Web2 social platforms. However, rather than fully replacing the old systems, the developer shared his belief that Web3 offers a way to enhance and improve existing platforms. “I would say Web3 technology can enhance what is already there on the Web1 and Web2 rather than Web3 kind of needs to replace it completely,” he explained.
When asked about the role of the metaverse in decentralized social media, the developer said the artificial intelligence hype has already taken over. He explained:
“Before the metaverse went mainstream, AI took over. I don’t know if we’re ever going to have the same narrative as we had a couple of years ago when Facebook was rebranded to Meta.”
In 2021, Facebook rebranded to Meta, taking a huge step in focusing on integrating metaverse-based technologies into the world of social media. However, Meta recently reported that it suffered a $4 billion loss in its metaverse unit but offset the losses through its artificial intelligence unit.
While much of the conversation about Web3 socials hovers around online platforms, Inoue argued that Web3 socials are not limited to the online. The developer shared his identification card, which can be used to link to others with the same card. According to the developer, this can be widely used in events where you can tap each other’s cards to have a record of the meeting saved on the blockchain.