The State Of Subsocial: Where Are We Going?
Every month we publish a review of developments from the previous month, but after getting a lot of questions at the Polkadot Decoded conference, we decided it would be good to give the community a big update on where we are right now, where we are going, cool ideas for improvements to our user experience, and some other exciting things.
This is part 2 of a 2 part update. Part one focused on where we are right now, but part two we will look at where we are going. What are our plans for the future? What cool ideas and improvements are we preparing to build? Will those whispers about NFTs ever result in something?
TL;DR: Users or application operators will be able to burn SUB to generate NRG, which can be minted into different accounts. This allows users to not have to deal with tokens at all, and adds deflationary pressure to SUB. We have ideas to improve Subsocial’s UX until your grandma could use it, by improving the login experience and other things. Staking will likely be next after the full NRG system, similar to staking on Moonriver and Moonbeam. We plan to fully decentralize our storage solution at some point, this should not significantly impact UX. We do not have information to distribute about securing our next parachain slot. A VIP ticket RMRK 2.0 collection is coming very soon…
In part one, we explained how the current system works. But how will the actual NRG system work once it is fully developed and deployed?
The full details of this system are still subject to change, and the numbers used are just for example purposes.
The full NRG system will work something like this: a user will be able to burn, for example, 10 SUB, and will receive 11 NRG. This incentivizes the user to burn SUB instead of just using it to pay for transaction fees (which is good for tokenomics), as they will be able to perform more transactions in total by converting SUB to NRG. NRG is not an actual token, and it cannot be transferred to another account once it is created. However, when burning SUB to mint NRG, the NRG can be minted into a different account. Why is that important?
Setting it up like this creates a way to overcome the UX (user experience) obstacle of needing tokens. The developers of applications running on Subsocial can burn SUB and give the NRG to users of their apps, meaning the users do not need to think about tokens at all.
Using this energy system improves Subsocial’s tokenomics and possible user experience, getting us one step closer to the point where your grandma could use Subsocial.
How Do We Get Grandma On Subsocial?
The network will never succeed without users, and as things currently stand, it is very hard to onboard new users to the network for multiple reasons. They need to set up a wallet, save their private key somewhere, get tokens or NRG, and sign transactions anytime they do something. If we get to the point where grandma can use Subsocial, then anyone can. But right now, there’s just no way grandma will be able to figure all of this out.
So how do we fix these issues? We’ve got a couple ideas.
Right now, to use Subsocial, you have to create a wallet, which means getting a 12 word seed phrase that you have to keep safe. Grandma would likely quit right here, it’s too complicated.
But what if she could sign in with just an email and password? We are thinking about the option to have Web3 and Web2 sign-in options, where users can make their own decision about the trade-off of convenience and digital sovereignty.
In either case, grandma can now sign up easily.
But wait, now grandma has to get SUB to use Subsocial. She doesn’t want to put her credit card info into some website talking about internet money, because she doesn’t understand how it works.
The NRG system previously mentioned fixes this problem. Grandma won’t even have to know that there are tokens involved, it will just seem like a regular website to her.
Nobody, especially not grandma, wants to confirm their actions every time they make a post or like something. Luckily, there are a couple of options to solve this one as well.
We can create a Subsocial browser extension, or partner with existing wallet extensions, to create custom settings for transactions on the Subsocial chain. For example, you could set it to be able to automatically sign 10 transactions a minute, with a total of 500 per day. You could specify that to do certain types of transactions, like share a post, you need to manually confirm it, but that your confirmation is not required to like a post.
Another option is to utilize a cool Substrate feature: proxy accounts. A proxy account is an account, let’s call it account P, that is able to sign transactions on behalf of the main account, which we’ll call account M. Alice holds her funds in account M, so she wants to keep her private key secure. However, she can create proxy account P, connected to account M, and give the private key of account P to an application. Alice can then choose which types of transactions the proxy account is able to perform, for example, only making posts, comments, and likes, but not token transfers. Because Alice gave the private key of this proxy account to an application, it can sign transactions without her confirmation, so there is no transaction confirmation popup. Now, the only security risk is that someone could post nonsense from Alice’s account, but they could not take her tokens.
Using any of the alternative sign in options mentioned above, users could remove the need to confirm every action.
Grandmas On The Blockchain
By improving the UX in all three of these areas with some or all of the options mentioned, we can make using Subsocial feel just like using the Web2 social platforms that we are used to, the platforms that some tech-savvy grandmas already use. If we get the grandmas onboard, that means the barrier to worldwide adoption will have been significantly reduced.
After releasing the full NRG system, the developer team plans to finalize our staking system, based on the widely used staking pallet from the Moonbeam team. If you’ve staked on Moonriver or Moonbeam, it should be very familiar. This will allow us to begin working towards full decentralization of the chain, with on-chain governance, and disabling the sudo key. No word yet on whether that will happen right after the staking functionality is released.
We do not have a timeline for this yet, but people have been asking about it more, so we decided to address it as well.
All media on Subsocial, such as images and videos, including the text in posts, is stored on the Interplanetary File System (IPFS). IPFS is a decentralized storage solution, but it has a problem. Why should some random person online store your files on their server?
To solve this, various projects have popped up, such as Crust Network, that add a blockchain payment layer on top of IPFS. Now, you can pay the storage network (with the storage network’s token) to store your files. The network will make multiple copies of your file and store it for a long time, for a verylow fee.
Currently, Subsocial is only using an IPFS node run by our team, so the storage is still centralized. In the near future we hope to integrate with one of these IPFS payment layer projects so that we can decentralize Subsocial’s storage.
Who will pay the storage fees? The users should, but if they need to get another token, that is not a good user experience. So, we envision this to be another case where the operators of applications will acquire the tokens to pay for the storage, and potentially pass the cost onto the user via subscriptions, ads, or some other method. In the end, the user pays for it (remember, the fees are verylow), but we can set it up in such a way that the user experience is streamlined, and they do not have to think about storage.
The Next Parachain Slot
We’ve been getting asked more often about this recently, and all we can say is we don’t have plans yet. We are not sure if there will be another crowdloan, or if we will self-fund the slot like many other teams have done. It will likely depend on what the competition for slots looks like at that time.
We will publish an update with more information when the time is right.
The Spacer Fleet Approaches
Get ready to acquire one of these fully RMRK 2.0 VIP tickets featuring awesome artwork from our graphic designer! A private chat, exclusive Sub.ID features, free NRG on Subsocial, and more…
Let us know what you think about our direction; we would love to hear feedback on our ideas. It may take a little while to get there, but we will make it. In the meantime, thank you for being here with us to build the Subsocial network! After all, without you, the users, Subsocial is nothing.
Subsocial is a social networking platform built to support the social networks of the future. These apps will feature built-in monetization methods and censorship resistance, where users will own their content and social graphs. Built with Substrate pallets, Subsocial is a one-of-a-kind in the Dotsama ecosystem, and designed specifically for social interactions. These interactions do not have to be specifically social networking, as Subsocial can support apps like YouTube, Shopify, or even Airbnb.
To learn more about Subsocial and the future of social networking, check out our links:
Content Lead & Community Manager at Subsocial, Content Lead at The Polkadot Experience & The Canary Network Experience, CBO at GM Parachain, Advisor at SkyLabsCorp & Chaos Collective, and PR at ChaosDAO