The Sapien.Network Platform
What is the Sapien.Network Platform?
The Sapien.Network platform is a blockchain-based social network that was designed to offer a more fulfilling social experience that rewards members for their valuable contributions to social communities while respecting rights to privacy and data sovereignty.
The Sapien.Network platform is built on the Ethereum blockchain and uses SPN, an ERC-20 utility token, to fuel the economy of the platform.
Let's Unpack "Token Economy"
For the average social media user who is not familiar with Web3 technology, the term "tokenized economy" is almost meaningless. But the basic idea isn't hard to understand. If we unpack this important concept we can better understand both the problem that Sapien is trying to solve and the solution the Sapien.Network platform represents.
Token Economies are Nothing New
We're all familiar with the mechanics of token economies, whether we call them that or not. To understand how a token economy works in a social network, and how Sapien's value economy works, it will help to recall some familiar examples.
Token systems that represent ranked achievements and status are very common:
- The gold star that a teacher puts in the corner of a student assignment is a token.
- Letter grades are tokens.
- Educational and professional certificates (diplomas, degrees) are tokens.
- Belt colors in martial arts are tokens.
- Boy Scout and Girl Scout achievement badges are tokens.
- The rank stripes on a military uniform are tokens.
We are also familiar with tokens that grant the bearer access rights:
- When you pay an admission fee to a bar, club, or concert grounds, you may receive an ink stamp on your hand. The stamp is a token that gives you access rights to the venue for a period of time.
- Plane tickets, bus tickets, movie tickets, and concert tickets are access tokens.
- A monthly bus pass, or gym membership card, is an access token.
- A passport is an access token that grants rights to enter and exist national boundaries.
Some tokens function as identity markers that grant certain rights and privileges:
- A birth certificate is a token that identifies a person with a specific birthdate and location.
- Passports and certificates of citizenship identify a person with membership in a nation.
- Club membership passes are tokens that combine identity and access functions.
Tokens can be used as means of value exchange and as an incentive to engage in certain activities:
- In many fairs and exhibitions you can only play games or access rides with paper tokens, which you purchase at a token exchange booth. A simple ride may cost 2 tokens, while a haunted house or roller coaster ride may cost 5 tokens. You may also win tokens as a reward for successfully playing a game, which can be used anywhere on the fair grounds.
- Casinos use physical chips as tokens in lieu of currency. Visitors play the games with chips, receive winnings in chips, and then cash out when they leave.
- Educators may use token systems to reward completion of tasks and exercises, and to reward positive behaviors. They are common in special education circles (e.g. teaching children with autism spectrum disorders), where earned achievement tokens can be traded in for activities, games, trips, free-time, and snacks.
Finally, the money we carry in our wallets and store in our bank accounts is just a special kind of token. When a token can function as a medium of exchange, a store of value, and a unit of accounting, then it can function as a currency.
Wanted: A Tokenized Value Economy for Social Networks
Tokens can serve a wide range of social and economic functions. From a social design perspective, token systems are an essential component of the designer's toolkit.
The establishment social networks do not reward users directly for their contributions. When a person adds value to a Facebook group by posting relevant and quality content, engages in helpful conversation and commentary, or creates unique content of their own, they may earn respect and appreciation from their fellow group members, but they do not benefit financially from these efforts. The primary beneficiary is Facebook, who tracks user engagement data and uses it to sell targeted ads to third parties.
i. Earn Rewards for Great Content
Now imagine a different scenario. Your favorite social network uses a token system to recognize and reward the contributions of members. Like the examples we have seen, tokens can be used to verify a person's identity, grant access rights, represent status and achievement, and reward contributions.
Let's say Karen writes a great article, or curates a list of valuable resources gathered on the internet, and shares it in her group. The group members can reward her by "up-voting" her post with the transfer of a token. The most valued posts will have the highest number of votes, which may allow it to be featured on the platform.
ii. Profit-Sharing For a Group Podcast
Now let's imagine that Karen has agreed to co-host a podcast on a subject of interest to the group. The group as a whole participates in selecting topics, identifying guests, and promoting the podcast outside the group. They agree to share individual podcast episodes, and a subscription to the podcast, as NFT digital assets (another kind of token).
Now image that the podcast content is collectively owned by the group. They agree to a group revenue split where the two podcast hosts each get 15% of the revenue, with the remaining 70% split evenly among the other group members.
Everyone has an incentive to contribute to making a great podcast, and everyone benefits from the success of the endeavor.
iii. Tokens = "Real" Money
Finally, let's imagine that the token system is backed by a token currency that can be exchanged for fiat currency (dollars, pounds, yen, etc.).
The value represented by the token isn't restricted to activities within the group. With enough tokens a person can buy a car or make a mortgage payment.
These are only a few of the possibilities that exist within a tokenized value economy with a flexible token system that is exchangeable with a fiat currency. Value is recognized and rewarded within the community, and the community as a whole benefits economically from their collective efforts.
With this toolkit, whole new categories of economic opportunity can be built for creators, curators and communities.
The Sapien.Network Platform
The Sapien.Network platform is designed to implement a tokenized value economy like the one described above. (Note: In its current form the platform does not yet support the ability to share profits as depicted in the podcast example, or create NFTs.)
Core features of the current version of the platform include the following:
SPN: Sapien's Utility Token
- The SPN token is the foundation of the Sapien token economy.
- SPN is the medium of exchange on Sapien.Network and is used to reward creators and network participants, and to facilitate payments between Sapien members.
- SPN can be exchanged for fiat currency.
- Charges are a token that can be transferred to posts and comments, to reward or amplify content that members deem valuable.
- Charges boost the presence of posts and comments on the Sapien platform.
- Giving Charges provides the creators of the content you a certain amount of SPN, which will be available to the creator within 24 hours.
- The supply of Charges you have available is based on the current Sapien platform allotment of 10 Charges per day to your platform account (up to a maximum of 100 Charges at any point in time within your platform account); in addition to, any additional Charges you purchase using your available SPN within your linked wallet.
- The Sapien Rewards Engine automatically provides Sapien members who receive Charges from their fellow members.
- The Rewards Engine runs once every 24 hours, so users will receive daily rewards in the form of SPN, based on the Charges they received within the previous 24-hour period, for their contributions to their communities.
- Within the Sapien.Network platform members can create text posts, embed media, and share links.
- Members can comment on posts.
- Members can create and share polls, which can be set up to reward members with SPN tokens for participating in the poll.
- Posts can be ECHOED (like sharing), which will cause a post to appear on your profile feed and show up in the feed of users following you.
- "Tribes" are groups that members can join.
- Anyone can create a Tribe (requires a profile picture, display name, description, and access settings)
- Tribes can be set to public or private (invite-only).
- For public Tribes, anyone can see the content, and anyone can join.
- For Invite-only Tribes, no one can see the Tribe or its content unless they are a member, and no one can join the Tribe unless invited by a Tribe admin.
Technical Challenges and Milestones
The quickly changing landscape of blockchain technology poses an ongoing challenge for all Web3 developers. But Sapien has made steady progress on platform updates that improve the user experience.
Native Mobile Apps
Sapien.Network has native mobile apps for both iOS and Android.
In 2021 Sapien partnered with Matic Network to implement Layer 2 side chain transactions that are 100th the cost and 100 times faster than on the main Ethereum network.
A Smoother Wallet Experience
The requirement of setting up a cryptocurrency wallet presents a familiar friction point for users new to Web3 applications and cryptocurrencies.
Sapien has made continual progress toward a smoother wallet onboarding experience. These include partnering with Torus Labs to provide seemless non-custodial wallets to our members automatically, and adding support for Portis, enabling users to manage their tokens within a familiar password-based flow.
A Major Platform Update in the Works
A new version of the Sapien.Network platform, with many new features that will bring the platform closer to Sapien's vision for a democratized social platform, has been in development for some time.
Stayed tuned for announcements!