Cameron Hejazi, the founder of Credhot, a Bitcoin-based link-monetization platform, has released a live testnet version of his latest project which is the on-chain Ethereum-based blogging platform Credsign. Having some success with his Credhot platform, which partnered with Coinbase to distribute payments for click-throughs on shortened links in Bitcoin, Hejazi has moved into the Ethereum development space and is looking to make an impact in the content production and consumption space.
Among other social media and blogging platforms looking to capitalize on the benefits of blockchain technology, Credsign uses a unique and narrow approach to tackling the rather large scope of what can be done in the sharing of ideas, in the form of content, in a blogging platform. A simple design and user interface allows users to interact with the Ethereum blockchain as a blogging platform much like anyone would using Medium.com to publish their content. One small detail of difference is that this type of blogging will actually cost the user a small bit of money to post because of the way Ethereum works. A 1000-word essay would cost about 660,000 gas to post (transaction example can be found here.)
Regardless of which blockchain platform it is built on, one website has made a serious attempt at going live with a prototype for people to use up until now; Steemit. While Steemit gained some considerable early adoption with its ability to offer self-issued cryptocurrency incentives for its users to share and vote on content, it quickly faded in prominence. Essentially, it is a functional reproduction of how Reddit works, except real cryptocurrency with real value, was on the line, but a system of gaming and manipulation became rampant.
However, Hejazi has taken a different angle with Credsign. It is somewhat similar to how Reddit works, except content producers are not going to be given Ether or any derivative of it to create content, vote or comment. Rather, Credsign is offering a simple opportunity for users to post real, text-based blog content to the Ethereum blockchain and have it be voted on via the act of “signing.” A person who signs a post is voting it up.
In a video call interview, Hedjazi gave some insight into the functionality and inspiration behind his latest business Credsign.
Can you lay out the basic functionality of how it works from a user perspective? Also from an Ethereum perspective as well.
“We call ourselves The Distributed News Terminal because that’s what we envision; a single place where anyone can read and contribute to the news. CredSign is a platform for reading and publishing content. To do so, a user needs access to their Ethereum wallet, either via a browser add-on like MetaMask or the Mist browser. Posts are broadcast on the Ethereum network and stored in a read-only part of the blockchain known as the transaction logs. People are often concerned about the costs of storing data but with transaction logs, it’s very cheap; storing a 1000-word essay costs roughly 14 cents. Keep in mind that this data lives forever, too, since it’s on the blockchain.”
Who is your ideal audience? Who would you love to have as early adopters and what problems of theirs do you think you could solve?
“Right now we’re looking for the same people found in crypto-related subreddits to publish on the platform. We think they’ll value a censorship-resistant, forever-accessible hosting platform. Soon, we’ll enable the community to curate content on the platform via stake voting. Stake voting associates monetary value (stake) with information and we believe this will provide better curation than the one-vote-per-account model. This approach also enables a speculative market to exist around the future value of information. For instance, if a topic has $1000 in stake votes today, how much might it have tomorrow? Such an outcome can be predicted and traded on using a market protocol such as Augur. Publishers can also participate in this, and by way of publishing give themselves an edge in the market; and an opportunity for profit.”
As blockchain content platforms such as Akasha and Synereo have gained a lot of attention and in the latter case, ICO funds, they still have yet to launch any public prototype. Even though Credsign offers a simple offering, it’s not trying to take a Facebook or Twitter model’s functionality and trace it back to fitting within a blockchain context.
As Hedjazi mentioned in the interview off-hand, it was personally important for him to have a minimum viable product to bring to market rather than asking for money first in any way shape or form and then building a product. Time will tell if this bootstrapping model will pay off.