As explained correctly in a slideshow by Reddit, the average user has lost a big chunk of power over what they want to see on the Internet. Be it companies trying to force their algorithms down your throat or advertisers using you for monetary gains, “free internet” seems like a distant dream. However, Reddit is not having any of that, and will roll out “community points” to promote quality content on the platform, giving the power back to the people, or so they say.
The company explains community points as a “way for Redditors to earn a piece of their favorite communities.” The company also said that the points can be used to access premium features like exclusive badges, custom emojis and GIFs in the comments. Summarising, they can be used as a measure of reputation in the community.
Reddit was serious when it was talking about giving the power back to people, as it said that the points will exist on the Ethereum blockchain, independent of Reddit. “Neither Reddit nor moderators can take away your points away it decide what you do with them. It’s all up to you,” the company said. That means that you can decide to hoard them, or be prodigal and burn them out, your choice.
However, this also brings forth an issue. A private key is provided once a user creates their Vault, which is stored locally on their smart device. This means that if you do not back up your key and you change your device or have an issue, you will lose your points since even Reddit cannot return what it does not have.
Reddit explained that when people spend Community Points, the points don’t go to them. Instead, they are “burned”, which makes everyone’s slice of points larger, thus rewarding the entire community.
The company also provides the option to buy memberships in dollars for those who don’t have any community points.
Points can also be gifted, tipped, and transferred between users. This means that users can leave a “tip” if someone ‘serves’ them right with their post.
Ethereum, consumes “gas” (an ode to the “burning”) for transactions, which is just a fancy term for Ethereum’s native crypto, ether (ETH). Now, since many of Reddit’s users don’t have this relatively unknown form of cryptocurrency, it is willing to cover the cost of this gas, for now. Later down the road, the company hopes to adopt a better scaling and gas solution after the system catches on, and the feature makes it out of beta testing.
“We believe in a new dawn for the Internet, where it can be free once again. We don’t have all the answers, but we believe together we can find a way. Will you join us in this new beginning?” : Reddit, 2020.