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如何看待Facebook的区块链计划?

区块链国际资讯

如何看待Facebook的区块链计划?

从历史上看,Facebook通过大力投资新技术和进行精明的收购,在技术进步方面确实做得很好。从WhatsApp到Oculus,该公司利用其日益增长的现金流,通过抢购科技和人才,总是领先消费趋势一步。经过上周的内部通告,Facebook宣布其将大力投资并由曾经领导Messenger和Paypay的前任首席执行官David Marcus领导新的区块链技术研究部门。很明显得失,该公司已经将目光锁定在了这一新兴的技术上面了 。

区块链技术——以及它廉洁的、去中心化的数字分类账——可以提供必要的问责性和透明度,使Facebook能够摆脱最近的数据安全困境。在剑桥分析丑闻之后,首席执行官Mark Zuckerberg被拖到了美国国会面前。从另一方面来看,区块链的去中心化特性将使Facebook难以继续其最具价值的商业模式:即收集用户数据并根据用户的在线行为对用户进行不同广告的投放。

因此,考虑到这个难题,Facebook将如何计划使用区块链,这将如何影响到区块链技术的全面发展呢?

Facebook的计划是什么?

我认为Facebook在构建区块链能力方面有三个潜在的动机:

首先,也是最明显的一点是,Facebook的目标是公开与一项技术相结合,该技术最大的特点是提供透明度,并在剑桥分析丑闻之后帮助Facebook为用户提供对自己数据的控制。前面提到的丑闻让许多用户质疑Facebook对用户数据的管理,以及该平台的透明度和隐私条款,而区块链的应用程序可能会缓解这一问题。

第二个原因是Facebook希望继续吸引开发者在其开发者平台上开发应用程序,因为现在有大量的程序员都涌入了加密领域这一流行趋势中。如果Facebook可以开发一个平台,应用开发者可以通过在区块链上通过代币来提高和赚取应用程序,那么奖励激励程序员们的速度要高得多。代币给开发者提供了即时的价值,而不是等待数年才能让他们的应用程序成熟来获得什么大奖。

第三,鉴于最近的丑闻,Facebook可能正在监控一些新兴的基于区块链的社交媒体平台的进展,比如Steemit和YOYOW。然而到目前为止,这些竞争对手都是这家大型公司的真正威胁,他们每天的用户量大约在10万左右。因此,Facebook很有可能会展望未来并推出一个由区块链支持的下一代社交平台,该平台为用户提供更多对数据使用的控制,并有机会分享他们的数据。

Facebook是最有可能使用区块链技术的么?

安全性和数据管理

区块链技术实现了不变和透明的记录保存,这样就可以帮助Facebook重新建立对用户数据存储和使用方式的信心和信任。通过区块链,用户可以看到谁被允许访问他们的数据,这意味着Facebook将不得不更好地允许用户设置他们自己的数据访问限制和限制。例如,用户可以准确地看到他们存储在Facebook上的个人数据,然后决定哪些数据可以公开或出售给营销人员。这也为用户通过Facebook平台将他们自己的数据变现的机会打开了大门。

市场和加密货币

基于以太坊或其他现有的加密货币创建Facebook自己的代币,这将允许在Facebook应用商店中交换代币,也允许在Facebook市场等较新的Facebook活动形式中交换代币。

区块链最好在共享经济中使用,在共享经济中人们可以通过多方合作来创造相互信任的环境。引入代币就可以让Facebook的应用程序和市场变得更加复杂,但也更值得信任。区块链通过增加透明度,增加用户对自己数据的控制,在加上Facebook超过20亿活跃用户的访问,这些都将足以让大多数开发者或品牌加入到Facebook所打造的平台当中。

Facebook如果要打造区块链平台,其被采用过程中的障碍将是什么?

将其整个业务模型基于用户数据的全面控制的平台的分散化将需要对网站架构进行真正彻底的重新设计。

然而,尽管此举将是一项艰巨的任务,但从理论上讲它不应该提出太多基于绩效的问题。从技术上来看,去中心化的数据库没有理由不能应用于社交媒体网络。现有的区块链技术经过一些修改将能够支持平台的大小和流量。

更大的影响将来自于对Facebook平台和架构的整体进行重新定义,创建一个由区块链和其去中心化的用户网络直接控制数据访问的系统。简而言之,Facebook将不得不放弃对用户数据的控制并允许它被整个社区所控制。这一变化将使其当前的广告和目标模式浮出水面。

因此,我认为我们不太可能在不久的将来看到Facebook采用这种类型的系统。更有可能的是,未来几年将会出现有限的应用程序,它可能是应用程序商店和支付,而去中心化的Facebook 3.0平台将在时间合适的时候单独发布。

这件事的长期影响会是什么?

如果Facebook以一种有意义的方式整合区块链技术,我们无疑会看到社交媒体领域的其他大玩家也会纷纷进行效仿。Facebook使用这项技术的方式将非常重要。如果Facebook沿着创建自己的加密货币的道路走下去,或者采用现有的加密货币,它将在很大程度上使这项技术合法化,并将其推广到更大的大众,并使区块链和加密货币更接近世界的主流。

时间将会告诉我们Facebook是否会遵循它之前的收购方式,比如像Steemit这样的初创公司,或者公司的核心价值观和结构是否会变得如此不同以至于一切将不可能发生。尽管Facebook在过去已经拥有了收购竞争对手的资源,但即使是最大的企业也无法购买一种加密货币,比如没有人拥有所有的以太坊代币 。也就是说,我们很可能会看到Facebook在未来几年尝试一些去中心化的社交网络或数据来管理平台。

然而,尽管Facebook拥有数以亿计的用户和庞大的现金流,但它仍将面临与其他美国企业一样的区块链和加密货币相关的法律问题。值得注意的是,对于这样一个大公司,组建一个少于10人的团队只是进入区块链世界的一小步,而不是一个巨大的飞跃。但这可能足以让全世界的社交媒体用户看到,Zuckerberg和他的公司最近在这个的角落里学到的东西,并愿意在未来清理他们的行为就已经足够了。

Historically, Facebook has done a great job of staying on the cusp of technological advancement through investing heavily in new technologies and smart acquisitions. From WhatsApp to Oculus, the company has used its bulging bank balances to stay one step ahead of consumer trends by snapping up tech and talent. And, after last week’s internal announcement that Facebook would be investing heavily in a new blockchain technology research wing, headed by David Marcus, one of the company's top execs, leader of its Messenger platform and a former CEO of PayPal, it is quite obvious which new emerging technology the company has its sights set on now.

Blockchain technology — and its incorruptible, decentralized digital ledger — could offer the accountability and transparency needed to pull Facebook out of its recent data security quagmire, which saw CEO Mark Zuckerberg dragged in front of the United States Congress following the Cambridge Analytica scandal. On the flipside, the decentralized nature of blockchains would make it difficult for Facebook to continue with its most valuable business model: harvesting user data and targeting users with advertising based on their online behavior.

So, with this conundrum in mind, how might Facebook be planning on using the blockchain, and how will this affect the overall development of blockchain technology?

What Is the Plan?

I would argue that there are three potential incentives for Facebook in building out its blockchain capabilities:

The first, and most obvious, is that Facebook is aiming to publicly align itself with a technology which is most famous for providing transparency and offering users control of their own data in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The scandal has left many users questioning Facebook’s management of user data and the platform’s transparency and privacy terms, which blockchain applications could potentially alleviate.

The second is that Facebook wants to continue drawing developers to create apps on its developer platform by capitalizing on the popular trend of coders moving en masse into the crypto space. If Facebook can develop a platform where app developers can raise and earn from their apps via tokens on the blockchain, the speed to reward incentive is much higher. Tokens offer developers immediate value at the point of launch, rather than having to wait years for their apps to mature to hit the jackpot.

The third, in light of recent scandals, is that Facebook likely to be monitoring the progress of a number of emerging blockchain-based social media platforms, such as Steemit and YOYOW. However, to date, these competitors are well off being a real threat, with less than 100,000 daily users. As such, the chances are that Facebook is instead looking to the future, to launching a next generation social platform enabled by the blockchain which offers users more control over the use of their data, and the opportunity to be rewarded for sharing their data.

How Is Facebook Most Likely to Use Blockchain Technology?

Security and Data Management

Blockchain technology enables immutable and transparent record keeping which could assist Facebook in re-establishing trust and confidence in the way users’ data is stored and used. Through the blockchain, users could see who had been given access to their data, which, in turn, would mean Facebook would have to do a better job of allowing users to set their own data access restrictions and limitations. For example, users would be able to see exactly what personal data they have stored on Facebook and subsequently decide what data can be made available to the public or for sale to marketers. This would also open the door to users being able to monetize the sale of their own data, via the Facebook platform.

Marketplace and Cryptocurrencies

The creation of Facebook’s own tokens, based on Ethereum or other existing cryptocurrencies, would allow for the exchange of tokens on the Facebook app store and also in newer Facebook initiatives like the Facebook Marketplace.

The blockchain is best used in shared economies, where multiple parties cooperate and create a mutual environment of trust. Introducing tokens could allow Facebook apps and marketplaces to become more sophisticated but also more trustworthy. The added transparency of the blockchain, with increased user control of their own data, plus access to more than 2 billion active users, would be enough to bring most developers or brands onboard.

What Are the Roadblocks to Adoption?

The decentralization of a platform which has based its whole business model on the total control of user data would require a truly radical redesign of the site’s architecture.

However, while the move would be a huge task, it shouldn’t, in theory, pose too many performance-based issues. Technically speaking, there is no reason why decentralized databases could not be applied to social media networks. Existing blockchain technology, with some modifications, would be able to support the size of the platform and its traffic.

The bigger impact would be the overall redefinition of Facebook’s platform and architecture, creating a system where data access was controlled directly by the blockchain and its decentralized network of users. In short, Facebook would have to give up the reins of its user data and allow it to be controlled by the community as a whole. This change would blow its current advertising and targeting model out of the water.

As such, I think we are unlikely to see Facebook adopt this type of system in the immediate future. It is much more likely that there will be limited applications over the coming years, possibly in regards to the app store and payments, whereas a decentralized Facebook 3.0 platform will be released separately when the time is right.

What Will the Long-Term Effects Be?

If Facebook integrates blockchain technology in a meaningful manner, we will undoubtedly see other big players in the social media space follow suit. The way in which Facebook uses the technology will be important. If Facebook goes down the route of creating its own cryptocurrencies or adopting existing ones, it will go a long way toward legitimizing and promoting the technology to the greater masses, and moving the blockchain and crypto closer to the mainstream worldwide.

Time will tell as to whether Facebook will follow its previous path of acquiring startups like Steemit or whether the core values and structures of the companies will be so different that this will be impossible. But, while Facebook has had the resources to buy out competitors in the past, even the largest of businesses cannot purchase a cryptocurrency, such as Ethereum, which no one person owns. That said, we are likely to see Facebook try its hand at some form of decentralized social networking or data management platform in the coming years.

However, while Facebook has the advantage of billions of users and bulging bank balances on its side, it will still face the same blockchain and cryptocurrency related legal issues as any other American business. It is important to note that, for such a large company, setting up a team of less than 10 people is a small step rather than a huge leap into the world of the blockchain. But it might be enough to show social media users around the world that Zuckerberg and his company have learned from their recent time in the naughty corner and are willing to clean up their act in the future.


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