Jet8 says it is taking a new approach to social media and data ownership using blockchain.

Chief strategy officer Joshua Thomson sat down with CoinDesk to discuss how his firm is putting users “back in the center of the value chain.”

First, the platform enables anyone to create “Instagram-like” applications centered on their interests, hobbies or career. Secondly, members and content creators receive a portion of advertising revenue, in the form of the J8T token, for engaging with these apps.

The company claims this token, billed as a U.S. dollar-backed stablecoin, can be redeemed for real-world items at nearly 25,000 retail outlets, including 7-11 and Circle K, and a host of e-commerce platforms. (According to CoinMarketCap, the token trades on a handful of exchanges at a fraction of a penny, though volumes are minuscule.)

Jet8 also claims to have garnered nearly 20 million app downloads over four years. Much of its userbase is in southeast Asia and southern Africa, Thomson said.

The startup is making moves at a time when social media heads are facing scrutiny for the way their platforms turn users into products. In Thomson’s words, “They’re monetizing our content and data.” He added off-camera:

“Today 100 percent of digital advertising dollars go back to the social networks for our data and engagement…….an inequitable relationship. At JET8, we are giving the ad dollar back to users for their data. This to us is much more equitable and empowering.”

Update (Oct.18, 16:00 UTC): This article has been updated with additional information about Jet8’s token. Some passages were edited for clarity.

Image via CoinDesk Video

Disclosure

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.