Minds, Decentralized Social Media Challenger, Gets $6 Million in Series A
Decentralized social media site Minds has had a successful $6 million USD Series A fundraising round. Among the more notable investors was Overstock.com subsidiary Medici Ventures.
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As Censorship Chatter Grows, Minds Points Ahead
In recent months, various social media giants like Facebook, Twitter, and Google have been under fire for curtailing certain users accounts. In one of the more high-profile cases as of late, controversial alternative media figure Alex Jones found himself simultaneously banned from a swath of social media sites,
The episode, and others like it, have touched off debates on free speech around the world.
In kind, a handful of alternative and decentralized social media sites have popped up to provide a new way and are quickly gaining attention. One example of this new crop is the Ethereum-underpinned Minds.com, led by CEO Bill Ottman.
$6 Million from Overstock.com
This week, Medici Ventures, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Overstock.com, announced they would be investing $6 million USD into Minds.com.
According to the announcement, Overstock.com founder and CEO Patrick Byrne, himself a libertarian, asserted blockchain technology an exemplary way of achieving personal freedom.
To this end, Byrne, who joined the Minds.com Board of Directors as part of Overstock’s investment, said:
“There has been increasing excitement in recent years over the power of blockchain technology to liberate individuals and organizations. Minds’ work employing blockchain technology as a social media application is the next great innovation toward mainstream use of this world-changing technology.”
Bitsonline reached out to Bill Ottman of Minds.com to get his take on the new round. He told us:
“This alliance is a breakthrough for bringing our core principles of transparency, privacy, decentralization and Internet freedom to the world.
Bringing the best minds together in the blockchain and open source space is essential to accelerating growth. The convergence of social media and crypto is the future of the web and we are poised to evolve rapidly with Patrick and Medici Ventures.”
Time Running Out On the Old Guard?
As more people become aware of the censorship possible via companies like Google and Twitter, as well as the seemingly endless privacy debacles hitting Facebook, it seems likely that the current set of social media oligarchs are ripe for alternative challenges.
As Jack Ottman, Minds’ COO told Bitsonline:
“Taking on some of the major social networks is certainly a tall order, but we feel very confident in our strategy of leveraging open source and decentralized technologies to differentiate ourselves and put more control back into the hands of our users. Major social networks are continuing to lose the people’s trust due to subjective content policies and a lack of transparency, and they are not showing any signs of changing. All else equal, we feel people will be more inclined to spend their energy on transparent platforms that respect user rights and reward them for their contributions rather than exploit them.”
While it may seem that the current incumbents are in an impenetrable position, we only need to look back about 10 years to see that the Internet landscape can shift in massive, tectonic jolts.
Indeed, not long ago MySpace was the king of social media, and MSN Messenger was the undisputed global leader in instant online communication. Today, these two products are virtually obsolete. MSN Messenger was totally discontinued in 2013.
The tides may be changing as internet users become more savvy and more sensitive to their own privacy rights–rights they feel like they have had stripped of them. As Jack Ottman pointed out:
“People are becoming more educated about the risks (of data centralization) everyday, especially when issues like Cambridge Analytica come to light. At the end of the day, what everyone wants is more control of their data and how it is being used. There are benefits to providing certain data, such as more personalized feeds or suggestions. The core issue with the major networks, however, is that this require this data by default and there is no way to opt-out. Minds takes a different approach by allowing users to sign up without giving any personal information and requiring users to opt-in if they wish to provide any data for personalized features. This simple difference in approach puts control back into the users hands because it gives them the choice of what data they wish to provide.”
Whether Minds.com can be the David to Silicon Valley’s Goliaths remains to be seen. But as cryptocurrency builds up speed, platforms like Minds that include it natively may have a serious advantage in this burgeoning tech and financial boom.
What’s your take? Would you give Minds a try personally? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images via Pixabay