Defending against the risk of censorship via maximum on-chain transparency
Some would argue that social applications can get by without storing everything on-chain.
For example, one could imagine an Ethereum-based app that registers a user's public key on the blockchain initially, but then stores all posts on a centralized server.
The problem with such an app is that whoever is running the centralized server has a significant incentive to, eventually, become a gatekeeper just like the social juggernauts we have today.
This is especially true if the app is structured as a for-profit company since its fiduciary duty to its shareholders will inevitably accelerate its transformation into a closed-walled garden of content.
Moreover, this risk means that developers building on top of this ecosystem will be deterred from ever investing in it, and even those that do will have trouble raising money.
Thus, with DeSo, we believe it is tantamount to store every piece of data we possibly can directly on the blockchain and to adjust the architecture of the chain by whatever means necessary to maintain this.
In the long-term, we believe this value will prove critical not only in ensuring that DeSo's growth surpasses that of other networks but also in ensuring that DeSo's end-state does not mirror the closed, highly-centralized social ecosystem we have today.
To be concrete, below is a complete list of everything that DeSo is currently equipped to store on-chain, and the notable exceptions:
- All identity & profiles
- All posts and comments
- All private messages between users, which are end-to-end encrypted
- All likes and follows
- All social token activity
- All social tipping activity
- All NFT activity, including NFT bids
- All $DESO transfer activity
- Links to all rich media, such as video and images
- Raw images and videos are stored in centralized but publicly accessible and easily replicable repositories, making the on-chain links sufficient to guarantee access into perpetuity.
- Emails and phone numbers are stored by individual node operators in order to protect users' privacy. We do not think this presents a significant centralization risk; however, if this proves incorrect then this information can be encrypted and stored with the profile in a privacy-preserving fashion relatively easily.
- Decisions about what profiles to show or hide, or how to curate content, lie with node operators. However, we think this is a positive force for decentralization, as we will discuss moderation here Content Moderation
As more features are added to DeSo, we will continue to ensure that all data that could pose a centralization risk lives on-chain.
Moreover, we believe immensely that this value will come to separate DeSo from other more centralized efforts in terms of the value that can be created.