Comprehensive Interpretation of the Censorship Resistance of Decentralized Social Protocols

Key Points: Decentralized social protocols will play an important role in the future social media. They provide greater security and censorship resistance.
Nostr and Farcaster are projects that focus on decentralized social development.
There are also challenges associated with decentralized social protocols, such as scalability and user experience.
Much has been written about content censorship, user ownership, and exclusivity on Web2 platforms. This aspect of the Web3 field is being explored through decentralized social protocols. It is more secure and reliable, has a higher privacy and censorship resistance, and allows developers to quickly build social projects. Therefore, decentralized social protocols are expected to play an important role in the future of social media.This article will conduct an in-depth study of three typical products of the current decentralized social protocol track (DeSoc track for short): Nostr, Farcaster, and Subsocial focusing on their core architecture and ecological prospects.ValuesFirst of all, the core feature of a decentralized social protocol is a decentralized protocol, so it must follow the value of decentralization; that is, it does not require any central agency or controller to maintain the normal operation of the protocol. The architecture of a decentralized social protocol is built using decentralized technology. It has higher security and reliable data processing capabilities. A decentralized social protocol has a greater degree of freedom than traditional social media. It has better data security and anti-censorship functions, as well as privacy protection functions. However, it is not yet possible to enter the mainstream vision field with a Web3 social protocol. The main reason is that the existing mainstream Web2 social products’ values have been finalized. They have regulatory-compliant review channels and comfortable review boundaries. You should be concerned about anti-censorship and you should use decentralized social media products. Although regulators may accept the user experience of social networks that sacrifice the attributes of decentralization, it is against the long-term trend to resist censorship. Decentralized social networks look more like sewers than Web2 social products. The sewer model has the advantage that the network’s influence will be concentrated but not cause a monopoly. It also makes it difficult to alienate the relationships between users (nodes). The sewer theory is discussed in detail in the article “Rethinking Investment Logic of Public Chains With the Open Sewer Model.” Technology ArchitectureNostr: A censorship resistant protocol based on “public/private key”Nostr provides several effective ways to protect against web censorship. It identifies users based upon their signatures. Your number will not be deleted as long as your private key is valid. It is possible to move one relay to another, which is also very convenient. Each relayer can set its own rules for censoring certain types of content. Source: nostr.watchThe purpose of Nostr was to create a system that allows users to communicate in a concise manner while still ensuring message integrity. The protocol also supports relay servers in the backend infrastructure. This allows users to create their own relay servers and allow seamless interaction between each other. Even if users are banned, there won’t be any large-scale network chaos. Users will not be banned from using a relay server if they leave the previous server. They also won’t lose their digital identity and followers. The private key can be authenticated elsewhere. The protocol architecture allows users to publish new content to any number repeaters. This ensures that the content is not censored. The fee negotiation mechanism between Nostr repeaters allows users to publish updated content to any number of repeaters. This supports users to pay fees to publish content to repeaters. Farcaster is a secure private communication technology that creates a private and safe environment for users to communicate. Farcaster allows users send private and secure text, voice, and audio messages. Farcaster uses a hybrid architecture that combines “on-chain+off-chain” to create the decentralized protocol. The protocol’s identity information is stored on Ethereum. It is managed using the security mechanisms and consistency provided by Ethereum. Farcaster also includes an on-chain registry that allows users unique usernames and an offchain host to store their social data. The registry also stores the user’s web host URL (Web adress) at the same time. To read a user’s message, you need to first ask the registry its host URL. Then ask the host for the message. For security, consistency, and composability, user identities are stored in Ethereum smart contract. The other part is the user-controlled servers known as Farcaster Hubs. After being cryptographically signed by identity the user data is stored off-chain. Settlement is expensive and slow on most L1 or L2 networks. The architecture specifies who can create or access content and can also allow the support of other on-chain identities (such as ENS) so that users can seamlessly bring their Web3 identity and reputation into the Farcaster ecosystem and in a user-controlled manner Its existing identities are imported into the project.Source: github.farcasterxyzSubsocial: An open platform built on Polkadot and IPFS technology stackSubsocial is an open platform built on the Polkadot and IPFS technology stack, allowing anyone to launch their own decentralized censorship-resistant social network and marketplace. Users control their content and their social graph. Subsocial is not a social app, but a platform that provides multiple modules for social applications. Subsocial can be used by anyone to build their own social apps, such as decentralized versions on Medium, Twitter, Reddit and Instagram. Source: Subsocial.networkThe Subsocial protocol consists of a set Substrate modules that can be combined with website front-ends to allow users to create their own anti-censorship social network called Space. Subsocial delegate content moderation to each community. But, opposing content censorship doesn’t mean you have to abandon censorship. Subsocial does not manage content review or blocking at the chain level. However, each community can establish its own content review rules and evaluate content according to its needs. The community can elect moderators to remove harmful information and scam content. They can also vote for moderators to decide how to block the content. The desire to have new social experiences has sparked the rise of decentralized social protocols. New censorship paradigms often accompany new social experiences. The censorship-resistant narrative that decentralized protocols can resist has been rekindled by Nostr’s launch Damus. We believe that decentralized social network is not just a technical category, but also a social issue. The logic of central power distribution can lead to a monopoly in authoritative discourse power. This can lead to the separation of the freedom of speech and the restricted parts. While some people advocate the restriction of traditional censorship rules on fraud and false information, the true beauty of decentralized social protocol is that they follow the logic rather than the logic the social square. The previous form of social interaction required users “make a face to face meeting” to meet one another in a face to face setting. Web3 social interaction doesn’t require users to meet face-to-face. Instead, they are behavior-oriented and can simply broadcast a token. The review must be fair and open with the characteristics of collective decision making. Otherwise, the “broadcasting of the entire network” will lose its meaning. The token economic model of the blockchain provides us with a successful demonstration, which combines censorship and censorship resistance, incentives, and social activity in a sustainable mode of operation, thereby improving the social network environment.We believe that a successful decentralized social protocol must have a robust economic incentive model to stimulate more network vitality, so the following two principles must be followed to achieve the best balance between censorship and censorship resistance.The evolution of social networkingThe social network has changed from a “square social” model to a “channel social” model, which is a behavior-oriented social form.Advantages of Decentralized Social ProtocolsDecentralized social protocols follow the logic of the sewer, achieving a balance between censorship and censorship resistance. They are more characterized by openness, fairness, and collective decision-making.The Importance of Economic Incentive ModelsDecentralized social protocols must have a robust economic incentive model to stimulate more network vitality.Two principlesDecentralized social protocols must follow a balance between censorship and censorship resistance, while enabling censorship and incentives to promote social activity.VoluntarismDecentralized social protocols that are completely free from economic incentives are utopian. However, social projects that had their own token economy were nearly extinct. Does this mean Social Token is no longer viable? Voluntary social behavior. Voluntary social behavior. To ensure healthy competition, decentralized social protocols need a diverse market for censorship service providers. Interoperability is the best way to ensure decentralized censorship. An excellent interoperability framework that will help address consensus challenges for content review in different communities.TranshumanismDecentralized social protocols follow “superhumanism”, that is, to allow users to have complete freedom of control and ownership of personal data, as well as more options for social combinations. This model’s effectiveness is largely reflected in three key aspects: governance freedom, avatar freedom, and algorithm freedom. There is no censorship or interference from service providers. Freedom to govern: Users can freely express their opinions, thoughts, and speeches on social media without any interference or suppression from third parties. There is no standard for decentralized social networking, and each user can freely express their opinions. This improves freedom of expression. The incentive model for the social protocol must fully conform to the principle of anticensorship and follow the authority of each user and the censorship rules that they have chosen. “Meta-governance” is a combination of community governance and the development financial tools. Communities can set economic terms that are fair to all members more easily. The governance function of tokens allows the value and flow from all internal things to be reflected in digital assets. This creates an open market and the long tail of value. For a more detailed discussion, please read “Innovation in Web3.0 Governance Mechanism from Governor DAO’s Perspective”
Direct-to-avatar: This business model provides avatars to users on social networks. In a broad sense, digital identity should be abstracted as a high-degree-of-freedom avatar in a social environment rather than a cold address, domain name, or ID. Interoperability is the biggest challenge for avatars, as with any virtual commodity that crosses digital boundaries. Standardization of cross-platform assets can improve the effectiveness and resistance to censorship of the network. Protocols that allow cross-chain, platform, and even domain interoperability are worthy of attention.
Algorithms can be free. They determine what users see and whom they can reach. Social protocols must have an open algorithmic model. Users have the freedom to choose their social network algorithm without any restrictions from third parties. Each user can choose the algorithm that best suits them in a decentralized social networking, which improves security and flexibility.
Future spaceNostr – Excellent censorship resistanceWe believe Nostr is the most censorship resistant among the decentralized social protocols. Clients can use multiple repeaters simultaneously, and repeaters can be replaced at will. This makes Nostr an excellent anti-censorship protocol. The theory is that a user can switch repeaters over and again while still maintaining control over their identity. This may be the greatest value of the decentralized social protocol layer, which is entirely based on “public key + private key” to realize the value circulation of self-sovereignty.Compared with other social protocols, the core of Nostr, which is not based on blockchain, is minimalist and highly interoperable, which makes it possible to build applications on a large scale. Developers can quickly reach consensus on open standards and quickly create iterations of client programs, thereby reducing the complexity for the client. The incentive layer for the Nostr protocol repeater networks construction is lacking. While anyone can build a repeater network, there is a limit to how many repeaters you can build. Nostr has the following options for incentivizing repeaters. This ensures the revenue of the relayer as well as the security of Nostr.
Mortgage-based model: Users may mortgage Bitcoin to the Nostr Network to receive relayer services. Collateralized cryptocurrency can be used to pay relayer services and also ensure the Nostr network’s censorship resistance.
Based on the mining model: The Nostr network can encourage repeaters through mining; this means repeaters can receive token rewards for passing information.
Farcaster: Powered by the network effect EthereumFarcaster, a decentralized social protocol that is based on Ethereum, uses smart contract technology to implement various functions of social media apps. Farcaster has more than 30 applications. Farcaster has a higher anti-censorship capability than traditional centralized social media platforms. This is because smart contracts manage the data and functions of Farcaster’s social media applications and they are not controlled by one centralized entity. Farcaster’s use of blockchain technology allows for greater security and privacy. However, Farcaster is still in its early stages and will require more development and testing to reach its ideal censorship resistance. Farcaster’s development may also be affected by Ethereum’s scaling issues. Although Ethereum is always being upgraded to improve its scalability this is still an issue that must be addressed. Farcaster is a decentralized social protocol built on Ethereum. For a more detailed analysis, please read our previous article “Farcaster” “When will the Killer Social Networking Protocol mature?” It is clear that a decentralized social protocol based on Ethereum such as Farcaster has great potential. However, its resistance to censorship remains lower than that of Nostr. Polkadot’s crosschain capabilities and IPFS’s distributed storage technology provide high scale and resistance to censorship, which is ideal for creating decentralized social protocols. Subsocial provides a platform that allows users to freely post content and build communities. However, Polkadot’s cross chain function allows for interoperability among different chains. Subsocial can integrate with other decentralized apps through cross-chain functionality. This allows Subsocial further expand its user base and influence. Subsocial also uses Polkadot’s cross-chain function to achieve interoperability between different chains. User data and social relationships are stored in the blockchain, which ensures privacy and security. Subsocial is a promising decentralized social protocol that has great potential for development. However, it also has some limitations:Technical limitations: At present, Polkadot and IPFS technologies still have a higher development threshold compared to Ethereum. These technologies may not be familiar to users who aren’t experts in the field. However, it is possible to build social applications using these protocols. The situation will improve with the improvement in Polkadot’s cross-chain function, and the introduction FVM into Filecoin.
Security issues: Data security is very important in a decentralized protocol. Subsocial does not have centralized control so it is difficult for Subsocial to guarantee security issues. This is another limitation Subsocial faces.
ConclusionAll things considered, Nostr is the best social protocol that’s decentralized. It has yet to create a sustainable business model. It is important to identify the path of continuous hemotopoiesis in both the “voluntary developer experience” and the “superhumanist end-user experience. The Lightning Network seems to be able to accelerate the introduction more income layer experience. Metaverse and NFT also offer other options. Farcaster, which is based on Ethereum, has natural ecological benefits. It is also easier to create a network incentive effect at token level. In a permissionless decentralized society, token incentives are necessary to maintain token value growth and create more social scenarios. Subsocial designs are more. So who will win? These three decentralized social protocols all have different technical architectures and development directions. Their advantages and disadvantages will depend on the application scenario and specific needs. They all require constant technological innovation and optimization for future development to meet user needs. There are also challenges with decentralized social protocols, such as scale, privacy protection, user experience, and other issues that could affect their practical application and performance against censorship. Decentralized social agreements can also be censored. This is because governments in certain countries or regions may take legal and policy measures to block or restrict these agreements. Projects like Nostr, which do not have a central governance mechanism, are more liberal. We are more optimistic about social projects that have strong censorship resistance, high security, and performance, than innovations in performance and scaleability. We do not disapprove of the Ethereum ecosystem and its outstanding governance model, but for a truly decentralized social protocol, a Bitcoin-based network or other anti-censorship privacy networks deserve more attention.DISCLAIMER: The Information on this website is provided as general market commentary and does not constitute investment advice. We encourage you to do your own research before investing.Join us to keep track of news: NewsTags: Censorship ResistanceDecentralized Social ProtocolsDeSocENSFarcasterNostrSubsocialWeb3