Synereo, a next generation decentralized and distributed social network, has released its whitepaper in which it reveals in great detail how the technology and network model work.
The introduction to the pioneering service, which Cointelegraph was able to access in an exclusive preview, reads more like a “how to” manual in the spirit of open source rather than yet another social network manifesto.
The tech stack underlying Synereo has been in development for over 4 years and is already being used in existing commercial services. Combining the blockchain with an independent, self-tuning decentralized content delivery network (CDN) is an intriguing idea. The fact that the CDN has been in commercial use for two years quietly slipped under the radar of the cryptocurrency community.
Even more radical is Synereo's proposal that the Internet could achieve a higher order of self-organization through a kind of smart contract they call social contracts. The piece de resistance, however, is their attention economy model.
The unveiling coincides with Synereo’s crowdfunding campaign, where their AMP token, which plays a crucial role in the attention economy, will be sold. The crowdfunding campaign is set to be announced imminently.
Synereo has also launched a new “Learn More” section of its site, complete with a succinct overview of the major pieces in play, all with links to the whitepaper, to blog posts, and to presentations drilling deep into every subject.
Synereo’s goal is to empower the users of its network by allowing them to retain ownership of their identity and the information they create – in stark contrast to the social networks currently in existence.
“There’s been a breach of trust. The information going into user feeds is being manipulated, and the information going out - including details of user activity outside of Facebook - is being handed over to governmental authorities; privacy settings be damned,” Dor Konforty, CEO of Synereo told Cointelegraph.
Further, as there is no central entity endeavoring to profit from the network, value generated on the network stays in the hands of the users creating it.
The whitepaper explains:
“… [I]n Synereo, our digital identity reverts to our control. We are free to construct it as we see fit and establish and utilize our reputation; it’s about our connections with others; about the communities we form; about the trust placed in us by our peers. Synereo, therefore, was not created only for reclaiming our financial value. It’s about reclaiming our social capital.”
The Attention Economy
Synereo’s attention economy approaches the management of information from the perspective of human attention being a scarce resource.
In our information age, information overload is a real and present issue. Synereo is attempting to manage information flow in the network using an approach inspired by economics, optimizing users’ ability to put their attention span to good use in a way that respects their time and reflects their preferences.
Dor Konforty, CEO of Synereo, thinks one of the big problems Synereo is solving is that our attention is mistreated and manipulated for the benefit of others. There are very few solutions that assist in managing attention for people in their daily lives.
“Designing an attention economy is essentially about making people more effective agents through the careful management of their attention,” he explained.
“That means shaping both inputs and outputs of information in ways that reflect the user's own estimation of value. An efficient attention economy is one where users … are able to direct their attention in ways that effectively contribute to their projects, whatever they may be.”
Synereo considers the user’s need to feel in control of their presence on the network. Two of the tools that do this within the Synereo network are Reo and AMPs. Reo measures a user’s influence and reputation in a specific area of Synereo. By understanding how it moves and changes, the user gains an understanding of how their actions affect their own social space.
“That is what agency is about - and it's sorely lacking in current social networks,” Konforty adds.
The AMP is Synereo’s information flow currency, and its purpose is to “AMPlify” the ability of a user’s content to spread throughout their network and increase the chances of it being seen by more users. This is done by increasing its so-called “Current”, a measure of the power of messages flowing through the network.
Social contracts are a smart contracting system that does not rely on global consensus – or a blockchain at all. They are powered by a mathematical model that's been tried and tested for many years and that is a result of decades of research.
Social contracts are enforceable statements which will be made independently and autonomously, yet can be assembled to determine and define the information policy flow policy of a collective. Konforty believes Synereo’s smart contracting system is superior to anything currently on the market. Among other advantages, the approach allows Synereo to sidestep the halting problem rather than attempt to circumvent it through a gas token, a-la Ethereum.
This post on Synereo’s blog goes into great technical detail about this innovative way to implement smart contracts.
Synereo forgoes use of the Blockchain in favor of a “DendroNet”, Synereo’s local consensus-keeping mechanism, decentralized ledger, and distributed content model. Every user on Synereo has their own fraction of it - a “Dendrite”, allowing them to view the part of the network relevant to them.
A user’s Dendrite is constantly updated with information received from peers: social information from friends; meta-data and keys to encrypted data hosted on Synereo’s distributed cloud storage mechanism; and information saved on their Dendrite itself, used in the consensus-keeping process.
The whole mechanism is based on SpecialK, Synereo’s distributed cloud - the foundation upon which the Synereo network is built. In part, it is an evolution of the distributed hash-table (DHT) concept, famous for its use in the BitTorrent protocol. This blog post goes into the reasoning behind its creation.
Synereo seems to be the logical next step in the evolution of social media. The conclusion from the Synereo’s executive summary neatly sums up its long-term aspirations:
“With the rise of the social media, we seem to have forgotten that what makes us strong is our ability to work together, side-by-side, while remaining responsible to ourselves as individuals.
“Privacy and autonomy are cornerstones of democratic society. This was the spirit of the technology that made the original Internet protocols and the World Wide Web. This is the spirit that is on the move again in the renewed interest in decentralized and distributed technologies.”
Check out Synereo’s website here for the latest news and to sign up for updates.
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