Ryan X. Charles Is Building a Decentralized Reddit, and ‘Would Love Collaborators’

Days after the proposal of billionaire venture capitalist Fred Wilson to create a decentralized social media platform, Ryan X. Charles, ex-Reddit cryptocurrency engineer, has announced in a blog post that he wants to collaborate with others to create a decentralized Reddit. Charles says:

“I’ve collaborated with a lot of other people to produce some of the fundamental software necessary to make a decentralized reddit. […] It’s not done yet and there is no prototype, but I would love to find collaborators to build something concrete.”

While Charles was working for Reddit, Inc. under ex-CEO Yishan, he says the company had plans to decentralize the platform by incentivizing content providers and moderators with bitcoin. Charles and the Reddit development team planned to get rid of third-party services and institutions like banks and payment processors by integrating bitcoin as the only payment option for the platform.

In his design, Charles says Reddit would not have complete control over the hosting of content. Instead, like with the bitcoin blockchain, anyone could host the platform through an app and be incentivized with bitcoin. Furthermore, content on a decentralized Reddit could only be censored by the content provider, and no one else.

How It Will Work

According to Charles, a decentralized Reddit would work like this:

“Each user has an app, the reddit app, which connects to the reddit p2p network. For most users, the app is a normal web app. Each user funds their own app with a small amount of bitcoin. In order to download content, the user pays a very, very small amount of bitcoin to the peers on the network. This incentivizes people to keep the app open so as to keep servicing the other users.”

As an extra incentive program, users would also send a small amount of bitcoin when upvoting content, to reward the author for good production.

For months, Reddit has had conflicts between its investors, users and the management due to its lack of stability in the company’s financial and labor distribution. As Charles explains, Reddit has heavily shifted its focus on monetizing its content and has spent less on building a better platform and experience for users.

How It All Started

Charles says that he began to build this decentralized platform starting from day one at Reddit, after leaving BitPay, the international bitcoin payment processing company. He focused on the incentive program together with ex-CEO Yishan, who was very supportive of the project and who also focused his efforts to execute the project properly.

However, after taking US$50 million in funding, Reddit replaced their management, and Yishan resigned “due to exhaustion.” Reddit shelved Charles’ project and fired him soon after.

Billionaire investor Wilson is also looking into the possibility of a decentralized media platform. As reported by CoinTelegraph: 

“Wilson said his firm has seen a bunch of entrepreneurs working on such an idea and that he believes the blockchain technology is now sophisticated enough to support such an initiative.”

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