Block.one has been awarded a patent that covers the bidding on a post in a social media platform, as well as the incentivization methods for a digital identity. Contrary to what some may have initially thought, Voice will not be the first of many social media platforms to gamify users’ interactions on social media, it will be the only. The patent grants Block.one exclusive rights to the algorithms/systems that Voice uses to make it such a unique platform. Voice is a product of Block.one.
What’s covered by the patent?
A lot, if not all, of the unique features of Voice are covered by the patent in a couple of methods which include; (1) displaying the post in a public forum of the social media platform, (2) the post comprising original content created by an author, (3) the post authenticated for authenticity through a blockchain. (4) receiving bids from users on the post, (5) the bids comprising credits of the users. As well as a method for (6) determining a highest bid from a highest bidder of the users. (7) distributing the credits that were bid to the users who were outbid and to the author. Lastly, a method that includes; (8) displaying the highest bidder in a top spot in relation to the post, (9) the top spot prevalently displaying a profile associated with the highest bidder, (10) the profile comprising a link to content of the highest bidder.
These methods may be a bit confusing to visualize, especially for some of us who haven’t had the chance to actually use the Voice platform. But basically, methods (1) to (10) form a system that’s similar to a chain reaction and this is what it breaks down to:
(1) displaying the post in a public forum of the social media platform – The public forum where a post is displayed is the homepage of the platform. The homepage (public forum) displays all the posts submitted by users and these posts can be sorted by; most popular, most recent, oldest etc.
(2) the post comprising original content created by an author – this just reiterates one of Voice’s content rules, which is that all content posted on the platform needs to be original content that belongs to the authors i.e the person posting it.
(3) the post authenticated for authenticity through a blockchain – the author’s post is validated through the blockchain to verify that it isn’t content plagiarized from somewhere/someone else.
(4) receiving bids from users on the post – this is self-explanatory as long as you understand that on Voice – bids are in the form of tokens.
(5) the bids comprising credits of the users – here it is clarified that bids/tokens represent credits of the users.
(6) a method for determining a highest bid from a highest bidder of the users – this covers a system capable of determining which user got the highest bid, i.e. placed the most amount of tokens/credits on a post.
(7) distributing the credits that were bid to the users who were outbid and to the author – a system capable of distributing credits/tokens back to the users whose bids got countered by a higher bidder, and to the author whose post is being bid on.
(8) displaying the highest bidder in a top spot in relation to the post – similarly, once the highest bidder is determined (6), then that bidder is displayed in a top position relative to the post they bid on.
(9) the top spot prevalently displaying a profile associated with the highest bidder – this is clarifying that the top spot will display the profile (platform account) of the user who is the highest bidder.
(10) the profile comprising a link to content of the highest bidder – again, this clarifies that the profile that’s shown in the top spot will link i.e. redirect to the content or platform account of the highest bidder.
These 10 methods form the basis of how content can be monetized on the platform, but also how user interaction is gamified. We’ve covered a lot about Voice, as well as written articles that communicate its differentiators. All of which can be found under the ‘Dapps‘ tab.
The patent covers much more; like a method for allotting a predetermined amount of digital tokens to each user upon joining the social media platform, and a method for distributing said amount of digital tokens to each user per day. Basically, if you’ve seen it implemented on Voice, then it’s most likely covered by the patent.
Incentivization for a Digital Identity
In a recent interview, Salah Zalatimo (CEO of Voice) mentioned that they would be launching a “big update” that won’t require a government ID in order for users to sign-up to the platform. Now, if you’re familiar with Voice then you know its ethos is based on the provision of a social media platform where users never have to worry about fake accounts. Voice creates an environment where each of its users have to be real, and the universal method for proving the authenticity of each user, is via verification of their government IDs. Has Voice found a more efficient solution?
Reading through Block.one’s patent a paragraph comes up which is clearly different from the other topics being discussed. The paragraph refers to a “method for incentivizing verification of a digital identity”. Unlike the methods for bidding or gamification; digital identity introduces a new concept that’s different from current universal methods for identity verification. Let’s break it down step by step, and try to envision how it would work on a social media platform like Voice.
The patent provides both the method and the execution of the system that constitutes the incentivization for a digital identity. To keep the technicalities to a minimum, I’ll only break down its method.
Method: A system is provided for storing instructions, and means for executing the stored instructions that, when executed by the means, cause the means to perform a method for incentivizing verification of a digital identity. (1) A first digital identity is generated through at least a first certified device. (2) The first digital identity, including a first secure digital artifact, are uploaded to an auditable chain of a public ledger to establish a first physical identity of a first user. (3) Associating the first digital identity with a new digital identity. (4) The new digital identity, including a new secure digital artifact, are uploaded to the auditable chain of the public ledger to establish a second physical identity of a second user. (5) The first digital identity providing verification for the new (second) digital identity.
The method also includes providing rewards to the first user for associating the first digital identity with the new digital identity; the rewards including social and/or monetary incentives for associating the first digital identity with the new digital identity.
This may seem like a lot to wrap around. But I think a huge part of this digital identity is very similar to a patent that Block.one secured last year, regarding a secure digital identity. For those not familiar with it, I’ll give a brief description of what it is and leave a link to the patent at the end of this article.
[Note: Daniel Larimer (CTO) and Richard Whitner (Manager of Software Architecture) are listed as the inventors of both patents for Block.one.]
Block.one’s ‘secure digital identity’ patent…
Basically, it is a solution for creating a secure digital identity; the kind that Voice would need in order to provide an efficient form of verification without requiring a government ID. Much like the method that is mentioned on the other patent, this also has mention of a device to verify a digital identity, a digital artifact, linking the first user identity with the second user identity, etc.
The methods for this patent are as follows:
(1) verifying a device belongs to a user; (2) tying the device to a private key located on the device; (3) obtaining a first user-generated item generated through the device, with the first user-generated item comprising an identifiable feature of the user; (4) digitally signing the first user-generated item with the device to generate a secure digital artifact; (5) uploading the secure digital artifact and the first user-generated item to an auditable chain of a public ledger, the public ledger comprising a database; (6) verifying a digital identity of the user by auditing the auditable chain;
(7) obtaining a second user-generated item generated through the device, with the second user-generated item comprising the identifiable feature of the user; (8) comparing the identifiable feature of the user from the first user-generated item and the second user-generated item; (9) uploading the second user-generated item to the public ledger when the comparing is within a threshold, (10) the second user-generated item hashed with the first user-generated item to create a link in the auditable chain; with (11) the first user-generated item and the second user-generated item comprising live photographs of least two distinct users generated through the device.
Hopefully you were able to pick up some similarities between these two methods for a digital identity, and have a general idea of how it would work. Now to put this in perspective I’ll use the Voice platform as an example.
Imagine you’ve just download the Voice app on your mobile but now in order to sign-up for the platform you need to verify your identity. Since you’re not using an ID, you’ll need to take a picture of yourself to create this “secure” digital identity. The steps go something like this:
(1) You take a picture of yourself to link with your Voice account. Your account (app) has a private key that’s unique to you and/or your device. (This represents your digital identity)
(2) Now that your picture is linked to your Voice account and private key – a unique digital artifact is created to represent your new digital identity.
(3) You upload this digital artifact, along with your digital identity, to a public ledger (blockchain database) where it is verified on the auditable chain.
(4) Using the same device (which is now tied to your private keys through the Voice app), take another picture of yourself in order to create the second digital identity, as well as the second artifact.
(5) This second identity is then compared to the first, and if it provides a satisfactory match, it is then uploaded to the public ledger.
(6) The first and the second artifacts are then hashed to create a link in the auditable chain. (Perhaps, the first artifact could hold your personal info, while the second serves as your public identity for general purposes.
Based on information from the first patent; the more pictures a user takes from different locations and different settings, the stronger their identity becomes. For instance, if you took your most recent pic in London, and someone is trying to use your identity from a location in the US, then that would obviously raise some red flags and the person wouldn’t be able to log into your account until they can verify their identity by taking a selfie in real-time. That’s how a digital identity becomes more secure than a government ID.
I understand this may be a lot of information to take in, especially when its all jammed up into a single 10-minute article. It makes for a better reading the second time around as you’re now familiar with the concepts. With Voice being the social media platform of the future these methods may be worth understanding. Likewise, Block.one’s secure digital identity solution could become the standard for identity verification, especially as we’re headed for a more digital future.
The first patent – bidding on a post in a social media platform – protects Voice from having other entities use its methods, at least not in the context of another social media platform. Anybody else will have an extremely tough time trying to create a social media platform that incentivizes and gamifies user interaction through tokens/credits/bidding. As well as infusing incentivization methods for the second patent (digital identity) into one well-crafted patent for a social media platform. These are features of utmost importance if a social media platform wanted to give value (social/monetary) back to its users.
The second patent – systems and methods for creating a secure digital identity – is more of a reference and a supporting act in providing a more comprehensible context. Block.one’s ‘secure digital identity’ patent is a stand-alone invention that can only be implemented by its owner i.e. Block.one, unless permission for third party use is granted like in the case of Voice.
Please bear in mind that this was an example I gave based on my own understanding of the methods contained in the patent documents and how they could be used. Links are provided below for further reading and understanding.
Thank you for reading!
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