On May 3rd 2016, 279 days A.E. (After Ethereum), we unveiled the AKASHA dapp and opened the signups for the alpha version to celebrate World Press Freedom Day. We called for brave people to help us test the idea of a decentralized social network, built with Ethereum and IPFS, to be censorship-resistant by design.
Today is when it all begins! Unveiling #AKASHA https://t.co/7toDWBKjXT. Signups now open on https://t.co/BGOAwFdF2Q pic.twitter.com/GAmXomWw4jMay 3, 2016
We didn't know what to expect. Amazingly, the response was both overwhelming and humbling at the same time. Words cannot truly express the spectrum of emotions we felt back then, but it turned out we were not the only ones excited about this idea:
We surpassed another #epic milestone: 2000 signups for the #AKASHA alpha release! Many, many, many #thanks everyone! pic.twitter.com/O4uWG5uNFGMay 31, 2016
Before the end of the month, over 2,000 people signed up to help us test the idea. By December, when we started sending the alpha 0.1 dapp invitations, we were amazed to see the counter now showing over 7,000 signups.
A couple of weeks after finishing sending all the invites and patching the first round of bugs with the help of all these brave pioneers, we shipped the public alpha 0.2 release and announced it with this post:
Now, even if we don't know everything from the start, we know something - basic human rights such as freedom of expression and privacy must be part of the solution(s). Otherwise, they're not good solutions.
We believe that continuous experimentation is the key to discovering new services and features we cannot even imagine at this point. Some could reinvent whole industries and business models. Others will fail miserably, and we will learn something new in the process.
It will be a marathon, not a sprint, but we expect every step of it to be enlightening.
Following this post, ~10,000 identities were created (over 9,000!!!) inside the alpha dapp.
Fast forward to the 4th of November 2017 (or 5th depending on timezone), we presented the beta version and opened the signups at the Ethereum DEVCON 3 conference.
The beta was more or less a new application, (re)written from scratch. By December 23rd 2017, we sent the beta invites as a nice Christmas present....but this time to over 40,000 people! 🎅🎄🎁
The next few weeks were spent fixing bugs and polishing the dapp before opening the beta in February 2018.
A couple of months later we also released the beta web version and invited everyone to help us stress test the apps, smart contract architecture, and cryptoeconomic ideas. The web version of the beta was also in some ways a new dapp on its own, with the IPFS part completely rewritten in IPFS.js to enable browser peer-to-peer communication.
Since then, the marathon continued and we found ourselves understanding that sometimes it’s not just about “BUIDLing”. When contemplating the importance of the challenge at hand, it felt irresponsible to build a product with a “let’s move fast and break things” mentality.
This is why we tried as much as possible to first think and then build with purpose. It is also why we enshrined this mindset as one of our core values.
The marathon began with us testing the idea of a social network dapp. In its first iteration, that meant signing up, following, posting, voting and commenting through an User Interface operating on Ethereum and IPFS. The original alpha dapp design was done using the Keynote app and many, many, many, many duplicate slides.
Since then, it is a continuous process of “scratching the surface” in an attempt to understand “the possibilities” opened by these new technologies. In our imagination we are moving towards something taking the shape of a “network of social networks,” modular and interoperable by design. 🌍
We have many examples of successful Web 2.0 social media network copycats. Each social network is fighting for the human social graph and walls people in, one way or another. We can expect a similar trajectory for blockchain social media networks. Especially when someone could fork the code and change a few lines to add their own ✨token✨.
But what if we make it easy to customize and deploy a social network for a specific need or purpose? What if the replication of successful social networks becomes an evolutionary advantage instead of a threat by design? And what if each social network becomes a portal to a bigger, meta, **** social network emerging from the network of social networks effect? 🤔
This marathon is indeed enlightening. And, at the same time, still just beginning.
Those just joining us in this evolution, can check the first part of the Metamorphosis series alongside the second part for more information on how we reached this stage. As for the ones that have been alongside us throughout this adventure, we'd like to say that these years also made us realize how lucky we are.
Lucky to be alive during these times, lucky to be a part of this space, and even luckier to have you, the Community, at our side on the front lines - actively co-creating this new world.
Your support has been truly invaluable along the way... on many occasions.
Your kind words and warm encouragements made us believe in ourselves even when solutions seemed out of reach. Even better, you helped us to get out of our comfort zone and walk that "extra, extra mile" in search for better answers.
Among all the hype, craziness and uncertainty surrounding the blockchain landscape, we found something to center us. Your support. From the bottom of our hearts, we want to say: thank you!!! 🤗🤗🤗
Thanks to you, today, exactly 1,095 days after the unveiling the AKASHA idea and app for the first time, we are celebrating the World Press Freedom day together again.
This time by 🙌 opening the signups for the AKASHA Reloaded phase! 🙌
The new AKASHA.world will represent the convergence of all the ideas, conversations and experiments unfolded throughout the last three years. After tirelessly researching and developing a decentralized social network designed to enable individual self-expression, we feel that we've reached the required level of understanding for the next challenge: collective self-expression.
Oh, and we also published 🦋 the second part of the Metamorphosis series 🦋 for the curious minds interested in the thinking behind this new phase known as ✨AKASHA Reloaded✨!!!