Minds, an increasingly decentralized social network powered by Ethereum, provides an alternative to traditional social media platforms like Twitter—because it's built on a blockchain network, there's little that the team behind Minds can do to censor content, even if they wanted to.
What's more, Minds incentivizes users with cryptocurrency rewards, and today the social network announced plans to significantly expand that initiative.
As unveiled in an updated whitepaper today, Minds will roll out new decentralized finance ( ) functionality on March 16 via integration with the popular decentralized exchange, . “DeFi” is a catch-all term for a collection of bank-like services and products, such as lending and borrowing, that function without the need for an actual bank. It's all done peer to peer.
One very popular trend within DeFi is known as “liquidity mining,” also sometimes referred to as “,” which essentially boils down to users depositing large amounts of crypto into a DeFi market (which it can then, in turn, lend out to other users) and earn interest on those deposits.
And now Minds is jumping into the yield farming game too; its users will soon be able earn MINDS token rewards by pooling cryptocurrency for liquidity. Because Uniswap is an automated liquidity protocol operated by Ethereum smart contracts (unlike, say, a crypto exchange like , which holds its users' crypto for them), it fits with Minds’ decentralization ethos.
On top of that, the Uniswap integration implements a new feature called “ad mining,” in which users who contribute liquidity can earn a spot on a digital billboard within the Minds app. The billboard will advertise those users’ respective channels, providing opportunities for creators to put their content in front of more eyes.
In addition to Uniswap liquidity pooling and token swaps, Minds will also add the ability to purchase MINDS tokens and other cryptocurrencies with fiat currency via a partnership with Transak. A new rewards interface will also be introduced, as well as a real-time analytics console and support for additional Web3 wallets.
Minds founder and CEO Bill Ottman characterized next week’s upgrade as bringing “a multitude of new features and benefits for users” in an emailed comment to Decrypt. He added that the upgrade will also reduce the MINDS token supply from 1 billion to 250 million and introduce Coinbase Custody support for institutional investors. Minds has thus far distributed more than 2 million tokens to users.
“Minds will always put the best interests of its users first and champion free speech, privacy, and the value of open-source software,” said Ottman, in a release. “To that end, we worked with great Ethereum minds to build a fair crypto-contribution economy structured around a social network that rewards, rather than punishes, users for sharing ideas and engaging in civil discourse and generating popular content.”
Minds has positioned itself as a rival to Twitter and Facebook, emphasizing the use of decentralized technology to protect free speech unimpeded by a centralized gatekeeper. Additionally, users can directly pay creators with MINDS tokens and other cryptocurrencies, if they please. The social network claimed 3 million monthly users last year, and offers the optional ability to back up Minds posts to Arweave’s decentralized storage platform to further insulate content against potential censorship.
Like Gab, however, Minds suffers from a reputation of providing a platform for even the most hateful speech, so long as it’s legal. In an interview with Decrypt in late 2018, Ottman explained that Minds enables the use of “reporting tools” to protect users and, at the time, employed a “hybrid” approach to moderating content. But the plan, said Ottman, was always to eventually decentralize completely and give Minds users total control over the network. Today’s announcement appears to be one more step in that direction.