THE SOCIAL-FI NARRATIVE

in #hive-1679222 months ago


My first interaction with blockchain technology was on Steemit, which has branched into many other blockchains (most of which have been discontinued). This was in the first quarter of 2018. It wasn't called "Social-Fi" but decentralised social media. So when developers/founders try to spin a new narrative, I find it amusing because not only was Social-Fi a major part of the Web 3 space, but it also brought real adoption. Nevertheless, I am fascinated by the Social-Fi space evolving with new narratives and implementation.

One of the impressive things I have observed about Social-Fi in the last 3 months (away from my habitat) is socio-interpolation. This is simply the ability for a person or group to move their digital identity across different blockchain. The same applies to digital reputation/score. For instance, organisations like Gitcoin/Galxe provide digital identification services amongst EVM chains.

Unfortunately, most Social-Fi projects lack the one thing that makes any successful social platform--(good) content. Like most things in the Web 3 space, Social-Fi attracts rent-seekers, and the social aspect of the platform/chain comes second place with bogus tokenomics and supposed shareholders' interest coming first. I have been in this space long enough to know that this doesn't work.

In addition, most people don't have the appetite for Social-Fi. First, it is a lot of hard work when done right. Governance, curation, infrastructure etc need a certain level of commitment to maintain. Most people do not favour their free speech enough to engage in these kinds of activities. Also, Scalability is an unending issue, so most supposed Social-Fi projects opt for a centralised solution. Furthermore, there are just too many better options in the Web 2 space for anyone to care.

So, in my humble opinion, Socio-Fi is a long-term gamble, quite similar to trading meme tokens, there are no guarantees. This might sound ironic coming from someone who has spent half a decade in this space, but I have come to terms with the reality of this space which is that Social-Fi can only cater for a small demographic who care about their freedom. This group will most likely never be in the majority. Unfortunately, for Social-Fi (decentralised social media) to (real) work it needs the positive network effect that comes with a large number of people participating in governance, curation, creation and consumption of content.


The only Social-Fi project that has stood the test of time is Hive. however, it is not in the conversation of socio-fi projects in 2024. It is a struggling, somewhat dead chain that frustrates me (at times), but it manages to stay afloat--eight years and counting. Most of its problems are self-inflicted but despite all its flaws, there is nothing out there in the Web 3 space that rivals Hive. It is feeless and semi-decentralised, which makes the barrier to entry zero. As simple as it may sound, there is no socio-fi project that can match it.

Social-Fi is only a buzzword used in cajoling investors to part ways with their money. It is a difficult concept with too many moving parts for it to ever be mainstream. I would argue that Social-Fi should not/cannot be mainstream, because it eventually leads to duplicity and waste. There is no Social-Fi dapps that can onboard 1 Billion people without seeking some centralised solution to its data storage/management problem. That would take the free speech on a decentralised Social-Fi platform like Hive and put it in the hands of a few who can afford the resource credit to be on-chain.

I would like to end on a positive note by stating that Social-Fi plays a small but important role yet in Web 3 which is to give decentralised communities a space to organise and socialise. It is not a service/platform in demand but it is worth betting on and preserving. This is Hive's role in the grand scheme of (Web 3) things. Nevertheless, Hive has so many other positive feature it can sell in the market space that can bring adoption to the blockchain.


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