Blockchain-focused social media platforms have made many promises, but haven’t delivered

The Tron Foundation, the main organization behind the development of Tron (TRX), one of the largest platforms for building decentralized applications (dApps), and Steemit Inc, a company focused on developing and maintaining a blockchain-enabled social media network, had partnered last month to migrate the DLT-based Steemit social network to the Tron blockchain.

Both firms had issued a joint statement: “Tron and Steemit’s development teams will immediately begin working together to bring Steemit and other Steem blockchain-based DApps to TRON blockchain.”

At the time, it seemed like a conflicting statement about whether or not the Tron Foundation or its founder Justin Sun had acquired or made an investment in Steemit Inc’s business operations.

A company representative had confirmed that the partnership would involve scaling Steemit’s business operations.

Responding to a question about whether the Tron Foundation has invested in Steemit Inc’s operations, the spokesperson had noted: “No, Steem chose to move to the Tron blockchain and the two will launch a joint accelerator to promote more development of the Steemit platform.”

The Steemit team told The Block: “A mutual agreement was made on both sides involving Steemit’s future and more than money, Steemit required the infrastructure and community support of a scalable network that only TRON provides.”

However, Ned Scott, co-founder of Steemit, claimed via Twitter (following the announcement) that he had sold Steemit to Tron founder Justin Sun.

Sun had hinted that this type of announcement would be coming during a recent interview.

Sun had said that the Tron Foundation would be “backing the projects,”

He clarified: “We are not the [organization] to lead those projects.”

When asked by Messari founder Ryan Selkis if that would include Steemit and digital asset exchange Poloniex, Sun reportedly said yes.

He added: “And also, of course, Steem, like we haven’t said anything about Steem yet. So, it’s all, like, in commercial, like, discussion. We haven’t, like, released any news.”

It’s now officially confirmed that Tron Foundation, Poloniex, and even Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, have had some involvement in the Steem project. The social network was forked, which means a different version of it was launched, but then Tron, Binance, and others involved decided to reduce their influence on the platform and backtracked a bit.

But what I’d like to talk about is the legitimacy of so-called “blockchain-based” or “blockchain-focused” social media networks.
Blockchain-focused Social Media Networks Have a Lot to Prove

Blockchain-based social media platforms like Steemit claim they want to offer users a platform where they can voice their opinions and views without being censored.

However, this hasn’t been the case because these “decentralized” networks are controlled by a relatively small group of users who use the platform to simply further their interests.

Blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT)-powered platforms like Steemit also claim they will reward users in digital tokens for contributing content to their websites. However, the rewards on Steemit were mostly being shared among a small group of “whales” who were commanding most of the attention on the platform.

Last year, another small crypto and blockchain-focused social media platform called Uptrennd was launched. This DLT-related social network also claims it will reward users in its native 1UP token for contributing good content.

The platform’s developers also claim that each user will be given an equal opportunity to express their views, without being censored. However, Uptrennd is also being controlled by a small group of moderators who have too much influence on what takes place on the platform.

There’s also no real engagement on Uptrennd as its mainly the moderators who are “upvoting” posts from new users. At present, the network only has around 55,000 users with a large percentage of them being inactive.