Five Social Networks Defend Against Blockchain Disruption

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SSocial networks are really the ultimate intermediaries. We aspire to communication; they orchestrate it, reaping significant profits – a situation ripe for disruption by blockchain, the kind of distributed and shared networks that have become famous for allowing cryptocurrency owners to exchange value without banks and other traditional financial intermediaries.

It took a little over a decade for blockchain proponents to convince the world, or at least enough venture capitalists, that the internet needs a major overhaul, which could potentially wrest power from its feudal lords. , aka Big Tech, and put it back in the hands of users. The makeover is called Web3.

But the old guard isn’t just watching from behind the scenes. Meta, Twitter, Tencent, LINE and Kakao control the largest social networks in the world, streams made up of billions of users and have incalculable capital. Similar to banks, they share a commitment to the very technology that some say is meant to disrupt their rein.

This year, a record five social media giants made the Forbes Blockchain 50 list of billion-dollar companies taking the technology popularized by bitcoin seriously. Scroll down to get a broader idea of ​​how these companies are transforming their businesses to thrive in Web3.


Meta

Menlo Park, California

Facebook’s decision to rebrand itself as Meta and jump into the (mostly) theoretical Metaverse could be a boon for blockchain. After all, an immersive and comprehensive virtual world is a natural environment for cryptocurrencies, custom avatars, NFTs, on-chain games, digital wallets and more. Hopefully Facebook has more success with the metaverse than with Libra, its much-hyped cryptocurrency that was announced in 2019, rebranded as “Diem” in 2020, and in early 2022 was reportedly on sale for $200 million.

Blockchain platforms: Diem

Key Leader: Mark Zuckerberg, CEO


Twitter

San Francisco, California

Crypto Town Square. America’s third-largest social network is where Elon Musk shamelessly pumps canine coins and millions of petty traders attempt to send their latest purchases to the moon in 280 characters or less. There were 220 million tweets about NFTs in 2021 and another 60 million in January 2022 alone. And just because its crypto-obsessed CEO Jack Dorsey left in November to devote his full time to Block (see above) doesn’t mean the Twitter company is giving up its claim to a decentralized future. Twitter is doubling down on its creative tools, like tipping other tweeters with Bitcoin and letting users display their NFT collections as profile pictures, for a fee.

Blockchain platforms: Bitcoin, Ethereum

Key Leader: Parag Agrawal, CEO


Tencent

Shenzhen, China

Over the past decade, Tencent has integrated WeChat into China’s “super app,” used by more than a billion people for everything from games and social media to messaging and shopping. Now Tencent is developing a unique blockchain platform called Tencent Cloud Blockchain. Ten provinces and cities, including Hainan, Guangdong and Beijing, are already using the platform to issue e-invoices for things like healthcare and transportation. As of last August, Tencent’s blockchain had processed over 15 million transactions.

Blockchain platforms: ChainMaker, Hyperledger Fabric, FISCO BCOS

Key Leader: Bing Shao, Head of Tencent Cloud’s Blockchain Business


LINE Corporation

Tokyo, Japan

Part of Z Holdings, the $43 billion (market cap) Japanese internet conglomerate that also owns Yahoo Japan and PayPal in Japan, LINE is the country’s largest messaging app with 300 million users. The company has developed a proprietary blockchain, also called LINE, which is owned by Softbank Group and NAVER Corporation. Its services include a cryptocurrency exchange, NFT market, and digital wallet with over 254,000 registered accounts. The associated cryptocurrency, LINK, is a success, attracting almost a million miners. At the end of January, it had a market capitalization of $655 million.

Blockchain platform: LINE Blockchain

Key executives: Woosuk Kim, CEO of Unblock & LINE Tech Plus; Keun Koo, Head of Blockchain Development at Unchain


Kakao Company

Jejusi, South Korea

South Korea’s dominant mobile messaging app, KakaoTalk, is used by nearly 90% of the country’s 52 million people, and as of May 2021, it now has a marketplace for trading NFTs. Called KraafterSpace, the exchange is fully integrated with OpenSea, the San Francisco-based NFT bazaar that recently raised funds at a valuation of $13.3 billion. On KraafterSpace, users can purchase tokenized artwork directly through Kakao’s messaging app with accompanying digital wallet named Klip Drops. KraafterSpace and Klip Drops are both built on Kakao’s own blockchain, Klaytn, which has over 800,000 active users. Separately, in August, Kakao launched a $515 million Klaytn growth fund to support developers willing to contribute to its blockchain ecosystem.

Blockchain platform: Klaytn

Key Leader: David Shin, Head of Global Adoption, Klaytn

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