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Will New Reddit Cryptocurrency Shares Give Users Any Real Power?

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Reddit is playing a long game when it comes to growth as a social network. After the recent announcement of $50 million in funding, users and pundits are wondering how Reddit will develop in the future. One of the main topics of interest is what shape the proposed Reddit shareholders cryptocurrency will take.

The current round of funding came from a variety of sources. The interesting thing is that 10 percent of the shares it generates will be given to the Reddit community in the form of cryptocurrency, a vision being championed by Reddit CEO Yishan Wong.

Sam Altman, a venture capitalist and one of the recent investors, is a big proponent of the distribution of shares. He says, “It’s always bothered me that users create so much of the value of sites like Reddit but don’t own any of it.” He added later that the move could “be really cool and hopefully a new way to think about community ownership.”

As for the mechanics of this currency, details are sparse, but Reddit is working towards implementation. Reddit recently hired BitPay’s Ryan Charles, a cryptocurrency engineer that “understood cryptocurrency and blockchain technology at a fundamental level.”

Users discussing a possible new currency in the r/Bitcoin subreddit believe that this move could turn out a few different ways. u/ImkoImko speculates the the currency could be built on top of Bitcoin, with a system known as “colored bitcoins.”

“I think it’d be a vastly more sensible idea to build it on top of colored bitcoin satoshis, which would be a huge, biggest-ever, test case for bitcoin as an asset ledger.”

This approach would tie the Reddit cryptocurrency to a proven cryptocurrency, and negate the need for a separate exchange-wallet-mining infrastructure. If this were the case, the Reddit currency could become immediately useful, but other users point out that by exchanging the shares, they could be removed from circulation.

The other option is to create a new currency, and with Charles joining the Reddit team, that’s a very real option. How users will receive shares is still unclear, but if every Reddit account comes with a free wallet for these shares, there would be no problem.

Despite Reddit’s sizable user base, it’s unlikely their shares will result in any real power. But it looks like there’s a movement toward giving users their due on social networks, with Reddit, LinkedIn and Ello leading the way.

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