The proof-of-work consensus mechanism is one of the most import aspects of Bitcoin’s design. This is the process that provides miners a drastically higher incentive to participate accordingly instead of attempting to use their computing power to hack or steal from others. The concept from a system of preventing email spam created in 1997 by Adam Black called HashCash. He is now the CEO of Blockstream, a major developer of the Bitcoin network.
Time Is Money - Electricity Costs Money
Spammers on the internet started with emails, and this has now spread across every social media platform. They are forced to employ moderators to physically remove the accounts making such posts. HashCash circumvented this issue by forcing emails to take a small amount of time to send. Even where an email took a few seconds, this would deter a spammer from the network, because elsewhere, they could send thousands in that same time.
For Bitcoin, this concept was put on computational power. The blocktime for Bitcoin is always 10 minutes, but the amount of power put in by miners to win the block rises with the number of miners, the amount of computing power used, and the type of mining equipment used. In this way, miners are betting the cost of running their mining equipment on the lottery of the block, where they are rewarded with Bitcoin and transaction fees.
Y’alls On The Lightning Network
There are a handful of blockchain based social media platforms, but most of them are built with their own native cryptocurrency, or on a major network such as Ethereum. The problem with Bitcoin for this type of application is that it must maintain that 10 minute blocktime to maintain security of the network.
However, the lightning network is now allowing for novel applications to be built within the Bitcoin network with nearly instantaneous payments. It was first proposed in 2015 as a method for users to make payments and to receive payments on side channels. These transactions are grouped outside of standard Bitcoin blocks, and later confirmed to the Bitcoin ledger when there are enough transactions to fill a block.
Y’alls is a blogging platform built on the Lightning network, and is only about a year old. It was built for simplicity, and user rewards, while prevent spam. Similar to the concepts employed with the BAT Token on the Brave browser, users can choose to pay a blog author for their content. When reading content, users can pay the platform 1 cent and 10 cents to react to a post with an emoji. Publishing a post costs 1 cent as well.
“The micropayments help there, because then you don’t have robots or spam.” - Founder, Alex Bosworth
Hobby-Scaled, But Room To Grow
Alex Bosworth created the blog as a hobby, so he keep detail data on readers or payments, nor has he marketed the site or solicited contributions. Yet, from April through early November, participants have processed nearly 20,000 invoices with the Lightning Network. Readers have opened more than 118 Lightning nodes through this platform, paid for 675 emoji reactions and 194 comments. Contributors posted 170 new articles and claimed rewards at least 432 times
Some node operators earned roughly $5 a month. Although this seems tiny, it highlights how the potential for growth. Earlier this year, Steem reached 1 million users, and processes over 1 million transactions per day. Scaling is perfectly possible with the Bitcoin network. This system scaled to the use of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Linked in could easily provide a sustainable income.
But more development is needed. Few people know how to operate a Lightning-friendly crypto wallet or node. General crypto-literacy is in short supply among mainstream audiences.
“If the infrastructure were there, so that there were less mental costs on the user to make that payment, I think it could take off.” - Alex Bosworth
By: BGN Editorial Staff