Asia Blockchain Review recently spoke to Treasure Lee, Founder and CEO of Pibble, a social media platform based on blockchain that focuses on properly compensating content creators for their contributions. Lee talked about rewarding PIB tokens to users, the company’s innovative blockchain copyright system (BitDNA), increasing the number of users with blockchain, as well as her vision for the future of content management.
Asia Blockchain Review: What was your inspiration for founding Pibble?
Treasure Lee: After working and running IT companies for 18 years, I really needed to get away from it all. So, I dropped everything and packed my bags to head to Africa. While there, I realized that so many of the modern conveniences I took for granted at home were inaccessible in many parts of the world. After returning to Korea at the peak of Bitcoin fever, I learned about blockchain and its potential to help.
With that in mind, I wanted to create Pibble to empower people, whether they had access to a bank account or ID, to be able to earn from their photos. Almost everyone has a smartphone these days and has beautiful photos to share. I created Pibble as a way for people to earn through their photos by granting rights while democratizing and internationalizing the gains from content.
ABR: What is the main feature that differentiates Pibble from other existing social media platforms?
TL: The whole foundation of Pibble is that average users and content creators are not getting paid for their content. Right now, Instagram and Facebook’s traffic is purely from users posting on the site. However, the company keeps all of the revenue from their ads they are pushing on users.
Pibble will turn this paradigm on its head. By posting a photo/video, users can actually earn from every like they receive, creating an automatic means of content monetization. Our goal is to have everyone see value from their content, whether they have 10 or 10 million followers. We think that this core model provides enough differentiation to set us apart from the existing social media platforms.
ABR: Can you tell us more about PIB tokens and its uses?
TL: As anyone interested in blockchain knows, utility coins have developed a bit of a negative reputation. Too many utility coins struggled to find a way to actually provide the utility promised in their name or how to create a coin that benefits both holders and provides a real use case within a platform.
However, Pibble token is completely integrated into every aspect of the platform ecosystem, both in the way you earn and use PIB. While the complete list of uses for PIB is long, it can be used for purchasing digital and offline goods, charity donations, crowdfunding campaigns, pushing P2P marketing campaigns, purchasing more upvote power, and many more additional functions as we continue to add more functionality to the app.
ABR: How will your plan to compensate content creators work?
TL: When creating the ecosystem for Pibble, we thought hard about the best way to reward content creators while preventing abuse and spam from overtaking the platform. We want to reward users for all the social actions they take in the platform. Our result was an interlocking system, where uploading content provides users with Pibble Green Brush (PGB) that can only be used to upvote others. This effectively solves the issue of spamming to maximize rewards. When a user upvotes a photo, their PGB disappears and the content creator is rewarded with that amount in Pibble Red Brush (PRB), which can be converted into PIB tokens.
Additionally, users can upload and sell their photos within our digital commerce store, for either the stock image market or as a new revenue stream for indie/professional creators. The full-resolution image is protected from view until someone makes a purchase. This has interesting use cases for content creators to help fund their different creations. Webtoon artists can monetize without ads, indie artists can create a “virtual tip jar” to fund future projects, and entertainers can control their image rights while profiting from the image themselves.
ABR: How will Pibble ensure copyright ownership and track usage movement?
TL: We developed our own copyright ownership and tracking technology called BitDNA. When a picture is uploaded, the characteristics of the picture will be extracted, the value hashed, and that hashed value will be written into the blockchain. If another user tries to upload the same picture, the hashed value is compared and it would be rejected. This creates a way to track both the use of copyrighted content and its movements with blockchain. In this way, ownership data and copyright are managed together and cannot be edited or deleted, as they are written in real-time on the blockchain network.
ABR: There have been many concerns with Facebook and Instagram’s use of data for advertising. What is different about Pibble’s advertising model?
TL: Pibble aims to embrace the original ideals of blockchain technology: trust, transparency, security, and value creation. Dominant social media platforms have really dropped the ball when it comes to how they handle data and commoditize their customer base to advertisers.
As one way to prevent this, we created a P2P marketing system, where anyone can set a budget to boost or promote their contents to others. If another user engages with the promoted content, they actually get rewarded as well, and Pibble only takes a small fee.
In the future, we believe brands will see the true value of advertising in this way, as the user is motivated to engage with the advertised content. It all comes back to the idea that we want to reward our users for any social action they take on the platform.
ABR: How does Pibble plan to expand blockchain adoption among average users?
TL: At first glance, blockchain seems almost impenetrable or impossible for the average person to understand. For blockchain technology to reach everyday users, the easiest way would be to integrate the technology into something familiar to the average person. What is more familiar around the world than social media? The more than 3.2 billion daily social media users spend an average of 2 hours a day posting pictures, scrolling through their feed, and liking the content that they enjoy.
Pibble can provide a seamless social media experience that a user of any of the current offerings would be familiar. Secondly, our ecosystem is available for anyone to participate in and start earning, even if they do not have a clue what blockchain is, as the technology is working behind the scenes. Our UI (user interface) allows anybody to easily transfer their earned PIB to an exchange wallet. So our basic philosophy is: social media at first glance, blockchain behind the scenes.
ABR: What is Pibble’s long-term goal?
TL: Long-term, we hope to overtake the current social media giants. The demand for a next-generation social media platform is already there, to be honest. The average age of Instagram and especially Facebook users is climbing higher and higher. You can see the younger generations moving over to newer platforms such as Kik and Tiktok over the last few years. The fun factor of the established social media companies has really dropped off recently. Not just that, but content creators have to rely on brand deals to fund their creations, and some feeds feel more like continuous advertising instead of sharing moments.
By providing average users and content creators compensation, we believe that our goal of 1 million users by the end of 2019 can easily be achieved. From there, we expect exponential growth, both within Asia and internationally, as we expand outward.
ABR: In your opinion, what is the future of content management, and how can blockchain help in this area?
TL: The biggest issues with content management are providing proof of the original creator, tracking how copyright is being used, and compensating creators for their works. If correctly done, Blockchain is the perfect technology to do this. Once content can be tracked on the blockchain, there can be no dispute about the original creator and whether or not the usage of that content was allowed. With the correct implementation, this can provide both legal recourse for unauthorized usage as well as a means to monetize content more simply.
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