Major Latin American social network Taringa! revealed the launch of a new crypto-centered community in an attempt to reinvent itself after 15 years of setting trends in the Hispanic market.
The announcement came this week at Blockchain Summit Latam, held in Mexico City, and previews a holistic change of philosophy in which decentralized technologies will now play a fundamental role.
“Taringa! Pioneros is the pilot program towards the path of decentralizing Taringa! from Taringa! ‘portal’ to Taringa! ‘network’. Make the transition from an online community —a traditional model with a single site company— to a decentralized platform where content can appear on different channels.”
Since its launch in 2004, Taringa! positioned itself as one of the most popular sites for interaction between netizens, becoming one of the first Spanish-speaking Web 2.0 sites in the world — even before Facebook and Twitter popularized this term. In 2013 and 2014 comScore ranked it as the third most important social network in Latin America and Argentina’s number 2.
The platform used a system to determine the reputation of each user, awarding points for the popularity and interactions generated by each post. Subsequently, the user could give those points to others as a reward for their contributions, and while the points had no other purpose than to increase the reputation – and ego – of the contributors, the community took the system very seriously.
Aware of the success of its reputation system, the platform hopes to add value to these points by harnessing the power of blockchain technologies. This week, the Taringa! team announced its partnership with MakerDAO and Airtm to create a pilot program called Taringa! Pioneros which would monetize those points into DAI.
The social network has been flirting with the idea of creating a proprietary cryptocurrency since 2017, and back in 2015 an experiment with a revenue distribution system in Bitcoin was already underway thanks to a partnership with Xapo. The program grew so fast that it exceeded the platform’s capabilities. This is how Hernan Botbol, founder of Taringa! explained it to the Latin American news site Criptonoticias last year:
“In 2015, together with Xapo, we integrated an income distribution system with which we pay users a percentage of the profits generated by the posts they make, in bitcoins. The program started in a beta version to which we had 35,000 members, but we decided to stop it because we realized that it had certain technical difficulties … Right now we have a small group of 2500 members on the program.”
The platform lost some popularity after it had to delete all the pirated content posted by its users, due to a series of legal controversies that sparked heated debates about the liability of intermediaries in the distribution of content — similar to the discussion generated by the experiences of Ross Ulbricht and Kim Dotcom.
Taringa! Pioneros will use DAI, a stablecoin created by MakeDAO. Users will then exchange the crypto for fiat via Airtm. This way, Taringa! can experiment with crypto without the risks of creating a proprietary token – as Facebook chose to do with its Libra cryptocurrency.
Will the tokenization of reputation be the future of content sharing sites and social networks? Nobody knows for sure, but it seems more evident every day that crypto can play a role in virtually every 21st-century industry.