Dedicated Blockchains Are Needed for Web 3 Social Media

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Many people think that general-purpose blockchains like Ethereum, Cardano, Avalanche, and Solana will eventually power all of the web’s applications, including financial apps, social apps, and even marketplaces like Amazon. On-chain storage is a game-changing issue that is largely being ignored.

While today’s general-purpose blockchains have been successful in handling storage-light applications like decentralized finance (DeFi), such as social apps and marketplaces, they are unable to scale to manage these applications. Imagine a scenario in which storage costs for each “like” or “follow” on a decentralized app cost $1 or more.

Unfortunately, that situation has come to be due to the storage restrictions on all current general-purpose blockchains. New blockchain designs will thus be necessary for web3 social media app development to realize its full potential to challenge Web 2 and the established systems.

Head of the DeSo Foundation and creator of the social networking site BitClout, Nader Al-Naji.

Between a finite state and an infinite state

All general-purpose blockchains available today were created to support what is known as finite-state applications. These are the kind of apps where you have a finite quantity of data or state that you must keep on hand for each user. For instance, all you actually need to know to check transactions in a financial app is the balance of each user’s account.

Users could exchange money millions of times, yet ultimately all that has to be stored in a small integer that represents each user’s final amount. In other words, rather than growing in proportion to the volume of transactions, the state you must maintain grows in proportion to the number of users.

Perhaps surprisingly, finite state applications make up the majority of DeFi.

What happens if we wish to see past finance? Applications with infinite states have a data storage need that grows exponentially with the number of user actions. Consider a standard social media app, for instance: Users can add a state by creating profiles, posting, following, and other similar actions.

The distinction is that, unlike DeFi, where all transactions are state-neutral, with social applications, all transactions are state-augmenting. With social, you need to be able to store an infinite quantity of data rather than simply a few account balances in your state. Even worse, other network users must regularly query this information, necessitating high availability.

Blockchains will need to be specifically designed for the application at hand, such as DeSo for decentralized social, in order to manage the storage and indexing requirements inherent to infinite state applications. This is because the costs of storing, indexing, and querying the data will soar without being able to make assumptions about the sort of data that will be kept, rendering applications built on the chain uncompetitive.

An unnecessary expense

Across blockchains, there are huge differences in the price of holding merely 1 GB of on-chain state. Importantly, because general-purpose blockchains weren’t made to scale storage, these costs are only predicted to rise.

Even when employing bridges to storage-focused blockchains like Arweave or Filecoin, the great majority of Web 2 apps cannot be implemented on today’s general-purpose blockchains because of the high on-chain storage costs. It is too expensive to store even a simple connection to Arweave or Filecoin on a general-purpose network at the current price range of $0.10–$1.00+.

Furthermore, despite the fact that many blockchains assert to be able to process thousands of transactions per second (TPS), this statistic does not account for the application’s storage requirements. When compared to 50,000 social transactions, which could produce tens of megabytes of data that needs to be saved, indexed, and searched, there is a significant difference between 50,000 DeFi transactions, which might produce zero bytes of new state data.

Even the most sophisticated blockchains of today absolutely fall short when managing the latter kind of transaction. Some of the most intriguing Web 3 apps are being hampered by this constraint.

The majority of the crypto field has underrated how challenging it is to store and index data in a scalable manner. The Web 2 application field has been dominated by finite-state applications for a very long time, with little attention paid to the vast array of infinite-state applications, such as social apps and marketplaces.

Due to the inherent storage and indexing constraints of the current general-purpose chains, blockchains that are specifically designed to enable new use cases will be necessary for Web3 development company to fully realize its promise to disrupt Web 2 and the systems of the past.

 

Many people think that general-purpose blockchains like Ethereum, Cardano, Avalanche, and Solana will eventually power all of the web’s applications, including financial apps, social apps, and even marketplaces like Amazon. On-chain storage is a game-changing issue that is largely being ignored. While today’s general-purpose blockchains have been successful in handling storage-light applications like decentralized finance…

Many people think that general-purpose blockchains like Ethereum, Cardano, Avalanche, and Solana will eventually power all of the web’s applications, including financial apps, social apps, and even marketplaces like Amazon. On-chain storage is a game-changing issue that is largely being ignored. While today’s general-purpose blockchains have been successful in handling storage-light applications like decentralized finance…