• ZION WISHES TO ELIMINATE SOCIAL MEDIA FROM BIG TECH USING THE LIGHTNING NETWORK

  • Zion, a Bitcoin-based social network, was announced earlier today with the goal of reducing reliance on large tech companies for content creation and sharing by providing an alternative that does not collect user data, censor speech, or withhold portions of payments meant for content creators.

    According to a press release from the platform, “with Zion, technology companies are completely eliminated, and users interact in a secure, censorship-resistant, private utility that facilitates free and open flow of content and payments between users and their audiences.” “There is no way to manipulate how users experience the network, and no data is ever collected.”

    THE LIGHTNING NETWORK SERVES AS THE BASE FOR SOCIAL MEDIA.

    According to the company’s website, Zion provides a mobile app through which users can post content such as videos and memes, leave comments, join communities, send encrypted messages, and access a non-custodial bitcoin wallet. To use the platform, users must run their own Lightning Network nodes, Bitcoin’s second layer platform that enables near-instant micropayments by establishing channels between users and only settling the balances of these channels on the main blockchain once they are closed.

    LND, an open-source Lightning Network implementation created by software developer Lightning Labs, is used by Zion. Users of Zion can either set up their own nodes or rent them from the startup social platform.

    “There are two ways for people to join the network: renting a node or configuring your own LND node with our relay software,” Zion creator Justin Rezvani told Bitcoin Magazine. “These nodes also include a pre-set up channel that allows you to use LND immediately and use the app as seamlessly as any other social media app. Our non-custodial nodes also allow you to be stress-free because we handle the headaches of node management. We’ll handle backups, networking, and version upgrades for you.”

    According to Rezvani, Zion currently has over 1,000 Lightning Network nodes running on its network and plans to double capacity each month. It plans to use the $1 million in seed funding to hire more engineers and Lightning Network developers.

    Finally, Zion’s team expects to generate revenue by hosting these nodes and facilitating Lightning Network payments between users in the absence of advertisements, data collection, and other revenue streams used by Silicon Valley’s tech titans.

    Rezvani explained, “We have two revenue models: hosted nodes and network routing fees.” “One thing to note is that every single user has complete control over their funds because they are the ones who manage the private keys. They run their own nodes and have complete control over their bitcoin. Whoever has control of your private keys has control of the nodes.”

    PROFESSIONAL CONTENT CREATORS ARE BEING FREED THROUGH BITCOIN

    The ability for users to directly reward content creators with bitcoin via the Lightning Network is a founding principle for the Zion team, and it believes that this feature will solve a fundamental problem with social platforms today.

    “There are a number of issues with value transacting that myself and other creators face with the old paradigm of social media,” JP Sears, Zion’s founding creator, told Bitcoin Magazine. Sears’ YouTube channel, “AwakenWithJP,” has nearly two million subscribers, and his videos frequently satirize self-serious progressives and wellness advocates. His most recent video, titled “A Federal Hate Crime To Criticize Fauci?” As of this writing, “BREAKING NEWS!” has received over 345,000 views.

    “Fans want to support a creator’s work, but the big tech platforms always want a large cut of the revenue earned,” Sears added. “Another issue is that most existing social media platforms are designed to extract value from viewers and fans through the collection of personal data, the manipulation of algorithms, and the sale of the audience’s attention to advertisers. It doesn’t feel good as a creator to know that big tech’s method for allowing them to support me requires that their privacy and psychology be violated.”

    Sears described his own journey to embrace Bitcoin as beginning with the all-too-common belief that it was a “giant pyramid scheme.” However, after author and life coach Tony Robbins (a Zion investor) sent him a video of an interview he did with MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor, Sears’ perspective on Bitcoin shifted.

    “I quickly came to see bitcoin as more than just an investment; it was also a powerful way to store value,” Sears recalled. “Then, as I learned more about Bitcoin technology and the Lightning Network, I realized that Bitcoin can empower people in ways other than financial empowerment. It has the potential to be a facilitator of freedom and sovereignty for them.”

    People frequently consider Bitcoin’s ability to facilitate freedom solely as an alternative to restrictive legacy financial services. However, as a sovereign payment rail, Bitcoin can also enable free speech, content creation, and idea exchange on a platform like Zion.

    “As a content creator and comedian, I’m eager to get rid of the big tech filter that all of my creations are currently subjected to,” Sears said. “My content is frequently heavily censored in order to reach my fans. But, with Zion, I’m most excited about having complete creative freedom to give my fans my true, best work without fear of censorship. I’ve been wanting to connect directly with my fans in our Zion community to exchange ideas and information in a free environment.”

    However, while many creators undoubtedly want to interact directly with their fans while excluding tech behemoths from their revenue streams, Bitcoin and the Lightning Network continue to present technical and philosophical barriers for many. Sears believes that Zion overcomes these obstacles while retaining the technology’s distinct offerings.

    “One of the reasons I was so resistant to bitcoin for so long was that I didn’t know how to buy it, and whenever I asked people, the technical jargon that didn’t land in my frame of reference became a barrier to entry,” Sears explained. “Fortunately, that is not the case with Zion. Engineers designed it for the average person, with an easy-to-use interface. Though Zion is a fantastic tool that Bitcoin enthusiasts have already embraced, you do not have to be a Bitcoin enthusiast to use it.”

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