Blockchain Based Quora: A Reality or a Myth

As blockchain technology matures, more and more traditional businesses are trying to harness its power. The benefits that blockchains offer – namely decentralization and security – benefit all existing modes of business. Quora is one of the leading online platforms for asking questions and sharing knowledge where questions are asked, answered, edited, and organized by its community of users. The site’s users bring enormous value to the website which has answered questions related to everything from school, to college admissions and related to professional lives. Let’s see how Quora and its users can benefit from blockchains.

The Problem WIth the Current Model

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Quora is one of the largest Question & Answer (Q&A) websites in the world that recently breached the 100 million users mark. The majority of Quora’s users come from India and the second highest from the United States. Unlike some other Q&A sites, like Reddit and Yahoo! Answers, Quora requires users to register with their real names or log in using their Google, Twitter or Facebook accounts. This lends more credibility to the answers, and in many cases, those who answer are the people who are very experienced people in their respective fields. Quora has a large and varied user base with members ranging from Scientists to Astronauts, Venture Capitalists, Entrepreneurs, Actors and even the President of the United States who used the site in 2014 to answer questions about healthcare.gov.

Despite the vibrant community and the enormous wealth of knowledge available on the website, there is no real way to monetize this information currently. Users are essentially just sharing knowledge out of their goodwill. This is one the key areas where blockchains can help provide fair compensation to the contributors and also create positive incentives to put in more effort for their work. That is because blockchains make it very easy to ascribe ownership to content across various social media platforms. Smart contracts also make the calculations and payments for royalties automated. One of the most important functions of a Q&A website is to ensure that the information on the platform is authentic. Therefore, using data integrity services like Factom, Quora can ensure that the content on their website has not been tampered with.

The ideal platform to build a blockchain based Quora would be EOS. EOS has been built from the ground up by the creator of Steemit to handle enterprise-grade applications. The main problem that EOS wants to solve is that of scalability. With its focus on vertical and horizontal scaling, EOS plans to build commercial level dApps which could support millions of users in parallel because of its asynchronous consensus mechanism. EOS design philosophy is that blockchains should be free to use and that dApps should be able to function in parallel to each other. This makes EOS a very good candidate for applications like Quora and a decentralized version of Wikipedia is already being built on EOS.

Existing Solutions/Alternatives

  • Steemit – Steemit is the most popular blockchain based social media platform that has a working product right now. It is a mix of existing social media platforms like Reddit, Facebook and Quora. Steemit allows its users to make new posts or share content from other websites. Other users can comment and ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ the posts. This helps generate a post’s popularity which translates to the amount of money that the poster earns. All of the monetary exchange is handled from within the platform and utilizes Steem Dollars, a tradeable cryptocurrency. Steemit is quite similar to Quora in that it also allows users to ask questions and share their knowledge. The one big advantage it offers over Quora is that users actually benefit from the work that they do instead of the companies that make money by monetizing their personal information.
  • The Brave Platform – Brave is a blockchain based browser that aims to make the market for ads more equitable. Currently, big corporations like Google and Amazon use the private information of their users to serve them targeted ads. Brave lets users get paid for seeing ads using in-browser ledger keeping and the cryptocurrency BAT (Basic Attention Token). However, Brave also works with existing websites like Quora. It can help Quora with monetizing by paying the website in the BAT. Brave allows its users to pay the websites that they browse in BAT based on the amount of time they spend on any given website.