It kinda made sense for big online communities to have their own money. Such practice has been popular in Japan for quite some time, and with the rise of blockchain — we are seeing similar schemes popping up around the world. This time, however, they have a “decentralized twist,” which should guarantee the safety of all transactions on the network.
Today’s story involves Tianya Club, the Chinese internet forum founded in 1999, that in many ways resembles Reddit. It announced the forthcoming launch of the blockchain-based Tianyan Token (TYT) as a way to reward original content contributions and participation in community activities. Also, the new digital currency will serve as a means of exchange and payments.
The Tianyan Token is expected to be available on August 8th, reportedly to spur the declining user activity on the network.
Tianya Club said 90 billion of these tokens will be created, 80 percent of which will be distributed to community members, while 20 percent will be reserved for the company’s operational teams.
It, however, hasn’t revealed all the details, like what platform Tianyan Tokens will run on, nor whether they will be tradeable on third-party exchanges or how its value will be determined. Guess we’ll have to wait a little longer to get that information.
To make things slightly more complicated, this isn’t Tianya’s first digital currency. In late 2017, the company launched Tianya Diamond that unlike TYT is a “centralized affair” with a hard-cap of 900 million units. At the time of its announcement, the company described Tianya Diamond as a utility token for collectibles and gifting, while promising “more use cases in the future.”
The two tokens are connected in such way that only users who hold a certain amount of Tianya Diamonds can receive TYT tokens for participating in community activities such as moderating threads. Users will be able to earn TYTs by contributing original content, with the total of any reward depending on the number of votes received from other users who hold TYTs.
Tianya hopes that this kind of digital incentives will help it revitalize its community, which ranking dropped from China’s 11th most visited website in 2015 to the 24th currently. Baidu has a similar service, called Baidu Tieba, and one would think that has something to do with Tianya’s decline in popularity.
Nonetheless, even without (strong) competition from Baidu, we would think that many big online communities will soon have their own digital currencies. It’s always a good business to “have your own money.” Or so we think.