Distrikt, a Community-Owned Professional Social Network on the Internet Computer, Has Launched

The blockchain-based social platform empowers people to control their identity and data — and has quickly attracted nearly 20,000 registered users.

Newly launched on the Internet Computer blockchain, distrikt is a decentralized social media network for professionals that gives users ownership and authority over their identity and data. The platform is the first professional social network that is entirely blockchain-based — all of distrikt’s engagements, uploads, and exchanges occur on-chain.

Distrikt is a professional network that is designed to showcase mid- to long-form, user-generated written content. In comparison to existing platforms, distrikt is a combination of LinkedIn, Twitter, and Medium, except it is decentralized, user-governed, and user-owned.

Ownership on the distrikt platform will involve a native token that aligns incentives for users to participate in autonomous governance, granting them voting rights to decide on proposals that are submitted for consideration. This system will ensure that distrikt’s users are active decision-makers who determine how the platform evolves.

In February, the distrikt team took over the development of LinkedUp, a professional social media dapp that the DFINITY Foundation created as a demo to show the ease with which software can be built and deployed on the Internet Computer. After evolving the dapp and bringing it to launch on July 27, distrikt has already attracted nearly 20,000 registered users.

“We envision a future where people can enjoy all the benefits of social media platforms, without paying for them with their data and privacy,” says distrikt co-founder Andra Georgescu. “As a distrikt user, you will own your data and identity. You don’t have to be the product just to enjoy the product.”

Centralized, corporate social platforms are plagued by a lack of visibility or oversight into decisions that affect billions of users, as well as pervasive issues regarding privacy, data management, censorship, security, etc. New ownership and governance structures are charting a new approach to engineering and design that make the platform a resilient and open product of the community.

“We want to offer distrikt users the transparency and autonomy that centralized social media platforms lack.”

The day-to-day operations of distrikt will be managed by the Open Internet Foundation, a Swiss-based not-for-profit organization that supports the growth of the open internet through the development of digital products and services that empower users. To sustain distrikt’s ongoing development ahead of an eventual public fundraising event, the Open Internet Foundation has already secured a donation of 6 million CHF and 40,000 ICP utility tokens.

New, decentralized social spaces like distrikt are needed to foster online environments that cultivate constructive user experiences and relationships, as well as unprecedented levels of connection and coordination. distrikt’s mission is to empower users to connect, collaborate, and share with others while preserving total ownership and control over their data on a platform that they can govern themselves. It aims to embody the best of both worlds: a great user experience combined with the benefits of blockchain technology.

We asked Andra Georgescu and the distrikt development team to share some details about their project:

What does your technology do? What problems does distrikt aim to solve?

distrikt will allow users to connect, communicate and share original content with each other while preserving ownership and control over their data and identity. This solves quite a few problems that social media users are becoming more and more aware of, such as privacy violations, data leaks, lack of autonomy or sovereignty, etc.

Who are your target users?

Young professionals who are privacy conscious and entrepreneurial.

Where is your team based?

Our dev team is located in Belgrade, Serbia, while our design and marketing team is located in Bucharest, Romania. The Open Internet Foundation is set up in Neuchatel, Switzerland and is in charge of operations.

What motivated you to develop your service using blockchain technology?

We want to offer distrikt users the transparency and autonomy that centralized social media platforms lack. The security and cryptography of blockchain networks is also an appealing value proposition, especially in the context of the numerous data leaks that happen so often on platforms built on traditional, centralized infrastructure.

Why did you choose to develop on the Internet Computer instead of other platforms (either blockchain networks or centralized solutions)?

The Internet Computer allows platforms like distrikt to be part of an ecosystem in which they can thrive as a truly decentralized system, directly on the internet and free from dependence on proprietary systems. distrikt won’t be faced with platform risk, which is especially important in the context of launching autonomous software.

What surprised you most about building on the Internet Computer?

What surprised us the most is the fact that the blockchain layer is so efficient, and we haven’t faced the friction we’ve come to associate with developing on blockchain networks. Instead, the process has been as seamless as developing on a more conventional stack.

What benchmarks for success are you aiming for?

User adoption and retention is our most important metric going forward. We are working on developing ways of gathering feedback and reacting promptly to our user’s likes and dislikes. distrikt will evolve and we consider its developing an iterative process. Our biggest teachers will be our early adopters!

How do you anticipate developing and evolving your product or service in the future?

In its 2021 version, distrikt will offer users Medium-like article creation, distribution, and consumption within a LinkedIn-style platform that allows them to showcase their projects and achievements, as well as highlight important milestones.

The ultimate vision for distrikt is that it becomes a community-building platform where users create groups called distrikts that grow, merge, and diverge, like communities naturally tend to.

What new decentralized service or app would you like to see developed within the Internet Computer ecosystem?

We would love to see the following:

  • A mobile phone backup/restore solution
  • A photo storage/sharing app

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Register your distrikt account today.

Distrikt, a Community-Owned Professional Social Network on the Internet Computer, Has Launched was originally published in The Internet Computer Review on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Publication date: 
09/03/2021 - 16:27
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