Billionaire to revamp social networks in new and innovative $100 M project
- New project aims to help people control and get greater economic and social value from their personal data
- McCourt will invest $75 million in an institute to research socially beneficial technology
- Project will use the blockchain to build a new, decentralized social network protocol
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Former LA Dodgers owner and billionaire real estate mogul Frank McCourt is investing $100 million in Project Liberty, a project to develop a publicly accessible social connection database. If realized, it has the potential to revolutionize social media. Bloomberg reports that if it’s successful, users will be able to move their relationship data between different social networks.
The project proposes social media users start doing things completely differently. The ultimate outcome will be an inclusive and open data economy where people control, own, and get greater economic and social value from their personal data.
An attack on the big corporations
McCourt fears the power that corporations like Facebook have. It basically owns its users’ data. He commented:
“I never thought I would be questioning the security of our underlying systems, namely democracy and capitalism. 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.”
Building a new web infrastructure
Of course, many others feel the same way. They are pressuring Facebook to change its model, waiting for new companies to disrupt the status quo, or passing new laws to reform social media. According to McCourt and Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, the solution may involve the blockchain. It would be used by Project Liberty to build the Decentralized Social Networking Protocol (DSNP), a new internet infrastructure. This would store records of relationships on social media the way the blockchain stores information about cryptocurrency transactions.
Eliminating social media monopolies
The idea is that social media companies would have to compete by providing new and improved services because they all draw their resources from the same data pool. This would discourage the formation of monopolies.
Getting down to business
The monetary investment is one thing, the technical implementation – quite another. This is something former CTO of Fandango Braxton Woodham will be tasked with. McCourt hired him to develop DSNP. He also plans to invest $75 million in an institute to research socially beneficial technology. The remaining $25 million will be used to support entrepreneurs in developing services that use the innovative protocol.