Great question! I think the prospect of a completely decentralized, tokenized social network is a fascinating and compelling vision. This is the strongest motivation for the entire Sapien team.
The process of decentralization does not happen overnight, especially using distributed ledger technology as the main infrastructure. While decentralized networks already exist on p2p infrastructure like Diaspora and Peepeth, they miss perhaps the most important part of the equation: user experience. In pursuit of immediate decentralization, there are tremendous compromises that are made that prioritize the technology over the end user experience. We believe that decentralization should instead be considered a journey and not a simple destination.
While it would be trivial to put Sapien functionality on the Ethereum blockchain, I would argue that would be a naive solution that would be severely flawed and unsustainable due to high storage and computation costs. A platform like that would be destined for failure. If you simply seek immediate decentralization, there are plenty of platforms for you to try out, but I guarantee you will see why they won’t scale to millions of users. I consider these great proof of concepts that demonstrate the capability of the technology.
Sapien proposes a progressive decentralization that migrates the entire network to a dApp while maintaining the core values that have driven us for the past 3+ years: privacy, transparency, democracy, and Free Speech. More details will be revealed with a more in-depth yellow paper slated to be released this year.
As for what we are using the blockchain as of today, we have begun the process of building a robust token economy in the Sapien Network that would not be possible without this core technology. Blockchain isn’t something we just threw in - it’s the perfect tool for the job. As a result of DLT, we have the ERC20-based SPN token that helps align the interests of network participants. As described in the Sapien white paper, a robust token economy is a prerequisite to a truly decentralized social network, which must be capable of self-governance, deterring the proliferation of fake news, and being resilient to bots, spammers, and bad actors. Already we have rich concepts like Adaptive Staking, Something-at-Stake access, Rewards engine that have only just begun scratching the surface of what is possible.
We (team, community, and token holders) all have the same goal: building the largest democratized social network that brings the benefits of the blockchain to the masses: enhanced transparency, robust incentive models, data sovereignty, and scalable governance. Yes, it is an ambitious endeavor but one that we believe the world needs now more than ever before.