Yours Developer Ryan X Charles Discusses Bitcoin-Powered Social Media
News.Bitcoin.com recently spoke with Ryan X Charles – the creator of the social network Yours.org – to find out what’s been happening with the platform that utilizes bitcoin (BCH) for micropayments. Charles says development is going well and the team is working on a slew of new features for its user base. Furthermore, Charles discusses why he thinks using BCH is the way to go rather than creating a native token for the platform. Additionally, the developer discusses the disintermediation of social media giants like Facebook and government regulations towards cryptocurrencies in the future.
Our Product Started Working Really Well with Low Fees and Reliable On-Chain Transactions
News.Bitcoin.com (BC): Can you tell our readers what’s been going on with the social platform Yours since it launched?
Ryan X Charles (RXC): We launched Yours.org on the Bitcoin Cash network last August — When we launched we had a very primitive prototype because it took about a year and a half to actually make micropayments work and at the end of the day what that meant was we had to wait until Bitcoin Cash launched. It didn’t really work well until we had really low fees and reliable on-chain transactions.
So our product started working really well last August and we launched our beta. Since then what we’ve been doing is added a lot of basic features that you would expect to have on a social media app. We had the ability to sign up and write an article with a vote button and a paywall. We didn’t have comments and we didn’t have countless other features that you would expect. So what we’ve been working on is all that stuff and I’d say we have about six more months of work to just finish all the basic features that people want in a social media platform. So, for instance, we only just recently added notifications so that when you earn money or someone comments on one of your posts, the software tells you about it. We have a bunch more features like that we need to finish so that it works as well as the other social media apps that people are familiar with.
BC: What is your opinion of some of the other blockchain social media platforms like Steemit?
RXC: First of all Steemit made their own coin. There’s a philosophical difference here where we just don’t want to make our own token for a lot of reasons. Some of the reasons include that it’s really easy to onboard users if we use the biggest cryptocurrency that works which is bitcoin cash. The users can cash in and cash out as well as get in and out of fiat currency relatively easy. They can even buy things at stores and stuff like that with bitcoin cash at a level that you can’t do with the cryptocurrency Steem, or any other token.
There are also legal reasons — Many of these tokens might be illegal and it depends on what country you live in. All of the properties of tokens are basically strictly worse from a user’s point of view. They don’t care about owning whatever token they just want to send and receive money.
All of those properties are just more desirable on bitcoin cash and furthermore I just think — What is the future people want to see? I think it would be really annoying if in the future every store had its own token. And you gotta have a different token for every app or every platform — there should be one, bitcoin cash that we use for everything. Just internet money and we can use it wherever we want because it’s universally accepted. That is the future Yours is trying to build and we think that’s the most user friendly future.
Instead of having to solve all these problems ourselves we have a very large community – the bitcoin cash community – and we collaborate with others to solve all these problems that we face together.
As far as scaling bitcoin cash, we are working on it, and the whole community is working on it. It’s something that people are researching and developing. So it’s sort of like the network effect — the network effect that we have for bitcoin cash because it’s the biggest blockchain that actually works. So bitcoin cash has always been perfect for us.
BC: How long do you think it will be before social media apps that use cryptocurrency solutions disintermediate the bigger social media platforms like Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter?
RXC: I think we are seeing the very early stages of that right now. What I mean by that is I don’t necessarily think Facebook or Reddit and so on will go away. But I do think that if they are going to survive they will have to change. We are only just at the start of seeing how cryptocurrencies are going to completely change the way the world economy works. When that comes to social media that means advertisements are not going to be the dominant funding mechanism forever. We’re gonna see alternatives come up with concepts like micropayments based on bitcoin cash or maybe other technologies we are seeing today.
I think micropayments or just payments, in general, are some of the most important use cases for users and you can do things that people thought of a while ago but these things were impossible to do until we had a real working micropayment system which bitcoin cash lets us do.
So I’d say from a timing point of view I’d expect within five years these major companies are going to either embrace cryptocurrency in some sense or then they are going to have a problem.
BC: Do you feel cryptocurrencies need to be adopted more before this takes hold of social media?
RXC: The adoption of our platform is very much tied to the adoption of cryptocurrencies as a whole for better or for worse. So it is for the better in a sense that as cryptocurrencies progress, we grow and more users come into the industry, they sort of discover our app. Then they become interested in what Yours is doing. So that’s a good thing that evolves like any emerging industry.
It’s kinda like riding this wave that you ride with other people and it works for all of us. But it’s also for worse in the sense that when the price goes up and down we go up and down with it — so when the market crashed in December until now our traffic and all of our metrics actually went down. Our metrics started going back up again but again that’s the downside because it’s not exclusively good.
BC: How do you feel about the theory that ‘platform coins’ like steem or ethereum might be less regulated in the future than ‘settlement coins’ like bitcoin cash?
RXC: I think that sounds exactly the opposite what I think is going to happen. I don’t think they can really regulate bitcoin cash and if they regulate it it’s gonna be in a way that doesn’t affect the base protocol. I don’t actually think it’s in government’s capacity to do that — I could be wrong about that. It’s regulated in a different way because it’s the businesses that are being regulated not the protocol. So any business that’s a custodian of cryptocurrencies they have to comply with money transmitter regulations and even banking regulations. That’s very different than actually regulating a cryptocurrency and I don’t think these other coins are going to get away from regulations. I think it’s the exact opposite because they do things that are explicitly trying to evade regulatory policies.
They do it in a way that is basically illegal in a lot of places and I think what we will see this year basically the ones that are outright fraudulent they will be charged and in some cases be arrested.
BC: Do you think platforms like Yours will face regulatory scrutiny?
RXC: Basically no because we tried to architect our app in a way that is explicitly unregulated. So we don’t hold our users’ money. It’s just a wallet that users use to send and receive to each other. However, I would say that as we get bigger it does seem like regulations will be inevitable. I don’t know what that will look like exactly but it hopefully won’t be in a way that impacts our product or our users. That’s really tough to say because we are a business and we’re located in San Francisco California, and we’re in the U.S. so we do have to comply with whatever regulations we believe is reasonable. As governments get clued in on this technology they will pass regulatory guidelines down to registered businesses.
What do you think of the Yours social network? Have you tried the platform yet? Let us know your thoughts on this subject in the comments below.
Images via Shutterstock, Yours.org, Pixabay, and Ryan X Charles.
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