Decentralized web developer Blockstack has earmarked $1 million to fund decentralized social networks projects, the company announced on Thursday.
While developers will determine the particular nature of their projects, the firm hopes the grants will encourage a variety of usable dapps oriented toward the preservation of digital rights, privacy and user choice.
"We're really looking for the best teams to build applications on top of Blockstack that have the highest likelihood of getting widespread user adoption," the company's co-founder, Ryan Shea told CoinDesk in an interview.
"This is about bringing real value to end users. There is a lot of speculation in the space, there is a lot of talk and hype and not enough real things getting built that touch people's lives."
The initiative, he said, was borne out of a desire to incentivize developers to build alternatives to major social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
In the wake of incidents such as the Cambridge Analytica scandal, he said, "We knew it was the right time for a lot of these social networks to gain traction."
The company has specifically suggested that developers pursue features like uncensorable microblogs and community-curated blocklists among others. Likewise, it proposed that developers could create dapps targeted toward illness support groups, journalists and activists under authoritarian regimes, and LGBT communities, for example.
However, Shea said Blockstack doesn't intend for these ideas to "confine people," but instead hopes they will provide a point of departure for further exploration.
Additionally, he suggested that the funding will act as a stepping stone for developer teams, helping them to subsist until they are able to raise venture capital.
The grants will be only one source of financing for developer teams. They will also have the option to build monetization into their dapps via a rewards system that is embedded in the Blockstack protocol.
"Every single application that's built on Blockstack will be eligible for these rewards and they will be eligible proportional to their ratings," Shea explained.
He added that Blockstack's support for social network dapps will be ongoing, noting:
"We really want to empower those teams."
Social network concept image via Shutterstock