What is Mithril | A Beginner’s Guide
Mithril is a decentralized social networking platform that uses Ethereum’s blockchain and ERC-20 token standard to track and reward its users for creating content. Lit, the first social network to use the Mithril platform, is developed by the company itself, but the platform is intended to integrate with other social media networks as well.
Key features of the platform include a system for tracking social media views and rewarding content providers with ERC-20 based Mithril Tokens (MITH) in a process called “social mining”; and the Mithril Vault, an interface for managing MITH tokens across social networks.
M17 Entertainment, the company behind Mithril, resulted from a merger between Singapore-based dating app Paktor and the Taiwanese video streaming platform 17 Media. Prior to the MITH crowdsale, the company had raised $40 million in Series A funding led by Infinity Ventures.
Billing itself as “the future of social networks”, the company essentially believes that social media networks should reward their users for providing content, just as YouTube currently does with some content providers. We’ll delve deeper into this and other facets of Mithril through the following topics:
At the center of Mithril is its social mining system, which will reward content creators over the next “several years” with 35% ($350 million) of the 1 billion total supply of MITH to drive early adoption of the platform. Similar to other cryptocurrency difficulty adjustments, social mining will distribute tokens in a decreasing amount annually (by half).
This model of distribution is intended to favor early adopters, who will be driven to the platform with larger rewards. Mithril assumes that lower rewards will be offset by increasing demand and value of MITH tokens. They do not, however, mention how the platform will continue to reward content creators once all, or most, MITH are mined.
How much money can one get through social mining? Although the white paper and website makes no mention of numbers, in interviews, founder Jeffrey Huang has said that initially, 1,000 quality views will earn content providers $1 USD worth of Mithril. Content providers will not only be rewarded for views, but also for “hearts” (akin to other social network “Like” and “Love” functions). More weight will be given to hearts than mere views, according to the white paper (possibly 5 times more weight if their current proposed system sticks).
As alluded to, all transactions of MITH will be verified and secured by Ethereum’s blockchain and smart contracts. The Mithril Vault will be the bridge between different social network partner platforms, allowing MITH to be tracked across multiple networks. Functions will include the standard wallet abilities of sending, receiving and tracking transactions, as well as a reward estimation tool that will estimate a user’s potential social mining rewards on different networks.
Mithril sees itself helping to integrate the Mithril platform into its partner networks, and it has high hopes when it comes to who it sees itself partnering with, stating in their white paper that “The ultimate goal of the Mithril team is to become the best and most optimized blockchain for social network applications. The first step to achieving this goal is to integrate MITH into all major social networks.”
They also intend to work towards integration with mobile apps and services, becoming accepted as a type of social currency to pay for premium features and services on different platforms beyond pure social networks.
This integration of Mithril into other platforms is to be done through what their white paper refers to as the Mithril Integration Protocol, and although the paper is short on details, it’s seemingly a type of API system to build data transfer and other functions between other platforms and Mithril.
As the Mithril platform grows, Mithril intends to scale by either staying with Ethereum as it implements its own scaling solutions such as Plasma and the Raiden Network, moving to other blockchain solutions such as EOS or Zilliqa or eventually developing their own blockchain.
Lit is the first social network to showcase the Mithril platform, designed to initially develop the system of rewards and benefits for users and merchant partners while providing the first mobile wallet for spending MITH.
A key feature of Lit is its Stories, which is a time-sensitive private or public sharing feature similar to Snapchat’s Stories. After a post is shared, which could include text, images, videos or slideshows, it will automatically be removed after 24 hours.
Other features of Lit include:
- Lit Camera / Video: a fully featured mobile phone integrated camera and video app with filters, effects and retouching tools.
- Lit Story Feed: intended to be a central focus of Lit, this is exactly what it sounds like: an interactive feed of stories from one’s social network, featuring friend and other followed feeds.
- Lit Chatroom: Lit’s chat function will feature private conversations, groups, and community chat rooms.
- Lit Discover: a feature for connecting people with others of similar interests, allowing users to access feeds from friends of friends, interest groups, and categories related to news, business, celebrities and media, all based on a user’s trending interests.
- Lit Profile: a public and private profile system allowing the user to manage their personal data, and to archive and view their stories and other content.
Although exchanges are never the best place to store your cryptocurrencies due to security concerns, this is one possibility. Better would be to store them using an ERC-20 wallet that allows you to add custom tokens, such as MyEtherWallet, MyCrypto, or Coinfy. The official MITH wallet is due for release in Q4 of 2018.
Although the Mithril platform and its flagship social network Lit are still in fairly early development, as an early mover, they are poised to be a leader in the decentralized social networking space. If Mithril gets its way, centralized social networking companies may soon have worthy competitors that offer users more control of their data while rewarding people for creating the content that is ultimately the life-blood of all social networks.