Could blockchain fight against state-sponsored censorship in a post-coronavirus era?
As people continue to rethink topics like technology development, economic measures and freedom of speech because of the COVID-19 pandemic, blockchain has now emerged as a solution for many issues. Iva Wisher, co-founder of Ignite, a decentralized microblogging platform, said blockchain may also be a solution against state-sponsored censorship in today’s pandemic-related new normal.
During an interview with Cointelegraph, Wisher clarified that in general, freedom of speech means a “possibility to express any opinion, even an unpopular one, unless this opinion is not a call to violence.”
The blockchain technology then could come in to bring an opportunity to “express your opinion without risk of punishment” from the government, added Wisher.
Vladislavs Semjonovs, also a co-founder of Ignite, believes that decentralized platforms with community governance systems like Ignite make it “technically impossible” to meet state-sponsored censorship such as the recent ban of TikTok by the U.S. government:
“First of all, we will need to implement a blockchain consensus to release a full-scale solution of content relevance mechanism. Prometeus [decentralized protocol] team came from the cutting edge of big data and AI technologies, so after the consensus mechanism is implemented, we can apply cutting edge technologies from the AI field in order to provide relevant content for our users.”
According to Wisher, a blockchain-powered social network or microblogging platform should implement an AI-backed sensitive content mark system to “protect users from any kind of illegal content,” because moderators shouldn’t be part of a decentralized platform like the ones that aim to combat the censorship, he adds.
As the users will still be able to see posts that others can consider as “hate speech,” Semjonovs says that they “will have to confirm that by captcha. (…) Users can always decide not to see any content from a particular user.”
Ignite’s Semjonovs explains in a technical way how its project can be a reference for other similar platforms that could make its inception into the blockchain environment of social networks, and how the platform could be governed by the community using models such as DAO:
“First of all, Ignite (or any other community-driven social network) can’t exist without a powerful and flexible consensus mechanism, as BSC provides. Secondly, BSC has a feature of mini – tokens (BEP8) which fits Ignite upcoming community system. As for Skynet, we share common ideas and directions on decentralized ecosystem development. The social network can’t ensure comfortable UX without a CDN.”
Both Ignite’s co-founders believe that the adverse effects of the recent TikTok banning from the U.S. and the Indian government’s similar measures against Chinese’s applications will “increase along in a post-pandemic time”:
“As for us, we believe that blockchain media technologies should bring people the freedom of choice with the social media content – exactly the same way the blockchain fintech technologies brought such freedom with their financial activities.”