Billionaire real estate mogul Frank McCourt has decided to invest $100 million into a new blockchain-based project aimed at democratizing social media data, Bloomberg reported on 20 June.
According to the publication, the so called “Project Liberty” will try to change how we use social media, by developing a publicly accessible blockchain-based database of people’s social connections. The goal is to allow users to move their interactions between different social media services, instead of being locked into a few dominant apps. McCourt told Bloomberg:
“We live under constant surveillance, and what’s happening with this massive accumulation of wealth and power in the hands of a few, that’s incredibly destabilizing. It threatens capitalism because capitalism needs to have some form of fairness in it in order to survive.”
The motivation behind the projects was the fear of having a few big companies — such as Facebook — amassing large amounts of data, giving them enormous advantage over the competition. Project Liberty will focus on building a new internet infrastructure, called Decentralized Social Networking Protocol (DSNP), which will keep user’s records and connections the same way blockchain stores transaction data. This new infrastructure will even out the playing field, allowing social media companies to draw data from a common source.
McCourt has pledged to fist invest $75 million into an institute at Georgetown University, Washington, and Science Po in Parise, which will be used for technology research. The remaining $25 million will be used to encourage entrepreneurs to build DSNP-based apps and services.