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Minds, the cryptocurrency social network focused on crypto and privacy, has raised $10 million from the technology freedom organization Futo.
Owned by Yahoo Games founder and primary investor WhatsApp Eron Wolf, iPhoto is dedicated to technology and politics that is bringing back control of computers to people. While other social networks mine your data for advertising purposes, Minds targets user privacy, and is based on open source technology.
New York based Minds is an encrypted social network with instant messaging chat app that allows people to communicate with each other in real time. It has grown to more than 14 million since it received a funding round in October 2018.
“We have been completely focused on building a decentralized, encrypted, and open source alternative to the mainstream social networks. It has always been shocking to me that none of them are open source,” said Bill Ottman, CEO and founder of Minds. “And there seems to be an emerging pattern with the lack of Transparency, censorship and abuse of users’ freedoms. So from the start, I have always considered it inevitable for the emergence of a decentralized open source social network, similar to the way open source has taken over operating systems with Linux.”
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He added, “Based on everything we’re seeing in coding, even if you look at Mozilla, open source is going to eat software the same way software eats everything. And so I thought we might as well. I mean, if something were to happen, I’d try to make it happen. “.
The new round of funding builds on previous funding from Medici Ventures, a wholly owned blockchain subsidiary of Overstock.com that recently partnered with Pelion Ventures. The money will be used to support the company’s mission to build the world’s largest crypto social network and put control back in the hands of users.
Many users are drawn to its game-like features that incentivize participation and reward users with Ethereum-minted Minds token. The use of the social network has made it particularly popular in the gaming, coding and anime communities.
In April, the network made a series of improvements to the Mind Token — highlighted by its Decentralized Finance (DeFi) integration — to help bridge the gap between traditional social media and Web3’s decentralized infrastructure and provide users with more ownership over their digital identity and data.
Earlier this month, Minds also introduced Minds Chat, an end-to-end encrypted decentralized global communications app with secure video conferencing and file sharing.
Minds CEO Ottman said in an interview with GamesBeat that Minds gives users control through its free and open source software, decentralization, privacy, and concurrent economic incentives.
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Osman said that digital rights, freedom of expression and privacy are currently at risk due to secrecy, censorship and surveillance by big technology.
Wolf was a longtime software programmer who started Yahoo Games in 1997 and spent 18 years in Silicon Valley working for technology companies. He found that the incentives offered to entrepreneurs are “totally out of control” when it comes to doing things that are beneficial to society. At Futo, he prefers investing in the “little guy who rivals the big guy”, which is one of the reasons why he invested in Minds.
Furthermore, he said, “I really trust Bill and what Bill is about. It is about being transparent towards the user, not offending them. One of the important things to me is that he is not colluding, as if he were competing with Facebook and Twitter.”
Wolf said his previous projects made him wealthy and able to give back to society through technology for a social purpose. He believes that Minds software can help people escape from technological oligopoly. And Minds doesn’t want you to sell to a tech giant, as that would likely “throw users under the bus.”
“Every time that happens, users end up with worse products afterward, and they get abused more,” Wolf said. “So at the end of the day, I’m trying to identify ‘the most honest entrepreneurs.
He said he was not satisfied with the “destruction” wrought by tech monopolists and the entrepreneurs who sell them. He said the world needed more companies like Minds dedicated to independence, transparency, user sovereignty and freedom of expression.
“We cannot let technological oligopolists control us through the devices in our pockets,” Wolf said. “That’s kind of the direction we’re headed, or implanted in our brains or whatever, you know, wherever it is. The individual needs to master their technology.”
The MindsChat feature was launched in May. MindsChat combines with the Matrix protocol, an open standard for secure, decentralized, real-time networking with end-to-end (E2E) encryption built in.
Due to Matrix’s interoperability specifications, users can connect with others within and beyond its global ecosystem, via bridges, to networks such as Slack, Signal, Twitter, and more. MindsChat is currently available to anyone with Canary Updates turned on.
Minds started in 2015 and has grown in parallel with cryptocurrency. Since it focuses on encrypting user messages, it has become popular with people who value their privacy, such as those in the cryptocurrency crowd. You could say that it was a magnet for drug users, criminals, terrorists and online hackers. But Osman said the network is not built for criminals. It has been designed to ensure that people are free and don’t have to worry about mandatory back doors that can jeopardize everyone’s safety and security.
“We will definitely be at the end of the spectrum that puts end-to-end encryption and privacy first by default,” Ottmann said. But I certainly do not think that this means that we have any desire to assist in any kind of illegal activities. I don’t think that because you put privacy first means you support that, because in reality, if you compromise, or allow backdoor encryption, or if you don’t have encryption, you’re actually creating the potential for another type of crime. You make everyone less safe when you do that. “
In 2017, the company moved to a player rewards system, where users were rewarded for their use of the social network.
Osman said that the company remains a centralized company, but is moving towards more decentralization. However, it is not a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO).
The company has a lot of users in Thailand and Vietnam. Minds is used by artists, photographers, filmmakers, and journalists, as well as gamers and cryptocurrency enthusiasts. He said that one of the things helping to increase the popularity of Minds is that cryptocurrency is going mainstream.
“It can be said that the independent media is our largest demographic, because we have a policy of freedom of expression and we protect their privacy, which is what matters to journalists a lot,” Othman said.
“It has functions similar to those of Telegram, Discord and Messenger. It is completely open source, decentralized and end-to-end encrypted.”
The company employs about 15 people, not counting the developers of the open source community.
Instead of making money by mining user data and serving people ads, Minds offers recurring memberships through premium Minds Plus accounts, which have additional features. It shares Minds Plus revenue with content creators who produce the most popular content on the social network.
“We have like thousands of Minds Plus members now, which is really amazing this year,” Ottmann said. I think people really want to support networks that respect their freedom. And I think people are willing to pay for subscription products. We do have ads, but it’s not the core of revenue and it’s not surveillance ads.”
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