Wortheum News: India's First Web3 Social Journalism Platform

August 13, 2022
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A new DPoS blockchain called Wortheum has launched its first dapp called Wortheum News. It has democratic governance mechanisms such as voting, three-token system, reward system for creators and curators using a decreasing inflationary model, and state of the art Web3 implementation techniques. This makes it a scalable solution with fast transaction times, ideal for supporting social communities.

Wortheum News is an example of the kind of dapps that can be made on top of this blockchain. It is the flagship offering of the Wortheum team to introduce their ecosystem to the world. The aim of such a decentralized social platform with inbuilt rewards and reputation systems is to foster a democratic community of active participants who will exchange news & other information, and empower one another.

Let us have an in-depth look at the Wortheum project, exploring its launch, purpose, challenges, and technical aspects.

Wortheum Team and Beta Launch

The Wortheum core team is based in Lucknow, India. The CEO of Wortheum is Ashutosh Singh, Vishal Verma is the CTO, and Dev Raghuvanshi the COO. The userbase of Wortheum News is currently predominantly Indian, and we can see them sharing English and Hindi language news.

wortheum sports news trending

The team launched the Wortheum News platform on August 6, 2022. Simultaneously, Coinstore, a Singapore-based cryptoexchange listed and began trading the Wortheum token. It is also possible to trade Wortheum on the Wortheum Wallet platform, a decentralized alternative for buying and selling the token.

wortheum team at news launch

Wortheum is an Independent Fork of Steem

Wortheum project takes inspiration from Steem, another decentralized social blockchain. As a result, there are many similar concepts, tokenomics, and architectures shared by the two. Steemit is the top decentralized app (dapp) built on the Steem blockchain. Similarly, Wortheum News is the first app built on top of the Wortheum blockchain.

steemit trending page for entrepreneur community

There are many other dapps on Steem, like DTube (a youtube alternative), DLike, and Steepshot. Likewise, Wortheum has been designed to support developers and companies to build their own dapps on top of Wortheum blockchain.

The Purpose of Wortheum News, its Challenges and Suggested Solutions

Wortheum News is a decentralized platform which people can use to share user generated content. It monetizes user engagement and activity using cryptocurrency and blockchain. The team calls this rewards system based on user activity as Proof of Brain, as users are earning the currency by using their brain. Users can add new content or comment and upvote on other users' content, which together comprise Proof of Brain. There are many different purposes and challenges behind the architecture of the Wortheum blockchain, and the beta launch of Wortheum News:

1. Resisting Censorship

Web3 brings the power of people to the decentralized network formed using blockchain. Since this is inherently a peer to peer network without a central authority, it is censorship resistant. The team states that all information written to the blockchain will remain there, so it is immutable and resists censorship.

A DPoS blockchain can be vulnerable to 51% attacks while it is small. It can be possible in the early days for wealthy malicious entities to coopt the platform by infiltrating the nascent userbase with biased users. For instance, maybe they will upvote only selected content, based on monetary rewards promised by malicious entities outside the system.

All these possibilities will get minimized as the platform scales up and acquires lot of value.

2. Empowering Journalists

As the team pitched their platform during its beta launch, the USP and primary vision of Wortheum News is empowering the Indian journalist fraternity. It is too soon to see if the platform can fulfill this promise, as the userbase is quite small, plagiarised content from other news publishers are being posted without moderation, and it doesn't look if there is a thriving community of serious journalists yet.

But we hope that the Team will focus on these essential journalistic elements to ensure that there is a high quality of original and accurate information on their platform. They can appoint official moderators and screen user generated content regularly. More voting power can be vested with the official moderators in these early days, to cultivate a good culture. Otherwise, it will appear like another project trying to ride on the hype of buzzwords like Web 3.0, DeFi, and Blockchain.

3. Supporting Community-building

Creating communities has been at the heart of Steem, the original blockchain platform from which Wortheum has been forked. You can see the Steemit website where worldwide users are posting in their native languages. Similarly, Wortheum News uses a similar user interface, and currently the prominent user base is from North India. So it is likely that the people from the social networks and circles of the founders are the first movers to these communities.

It will depend on how well the WORTH token gets traded on cryptoexchanges, and how well the Team can raise funding from investors. By using the capital smartly, Wortheum can increase its userbase throughout India and make the platform more heterogeneous, with different voices and viewpoints. India embodies unity in diversity, and the team should aspire to bring a diverse mix of all opinions, topics, languages, and regions on their platform.

4. Improving the Quality of our News and Information Ecosystem

As the Team has pitched to the media during its launch, Wortheum News aims at fighting fake news and paid propaganda, and help in bringing higher quality real journalism to the readers. But decentralization alone doesn't mean it will automatically fight fake news or misinformation. There still needs to be wisdom of crowds to report plagiarism, fake news, inappropriate content, etc.

Perhaps Wortheum needs to select a seed userbase of serious journalists and expert moderators to ensure such good quality and true journalism is fostered. Or maybe the economies of scale will take care of this, pulling in good quality as the platform grows. There are many challenges to solve before this vision of improving the quality of our information ecosystem starts getting realized.

5. Fair Distribution of Value

Distributing value fairly to content creators and curators, without a central platform taking away a large share, is the incentive for building and offering Wortheum News as a Web3 platform. Otherwise, it is quite easy to implement the same features using Web 2.0 or even Web 1.0 technologies. Only, in that case, it will need something like "benevolent rulers" to ensure that value created in that network is distributed fairly.

Now, thanks to the decentralized blockchain implementation, the community that develops and forms around this platform will be able to protect this goal. The Proof of Brain rewards system incentivizes communities to be more participative. All actions of members can be monitored by other members. For doing this, they receive rewards through upvotes and power ups. Once people get more testimonials from their circles that this is a viable, fair, and frictionless way of earning and converting crypto rewards into fiat currency, more users will flock to this ecosystem.

6. Inspiring creation and funding of other Social Dapps

Like Steem, Wortheum isn't meant to be just one plaform or website. It is a social blockchain capable of supporting thousands of decentralized apps. There is a good amount of developer support for using JSON and other API methods to write data to the blockchain, and then create different front-ends as per their vision.

So, Wortheum News is just an example for inspiring other social platforms that third-party developers and companies will build on top of the Wortheum Blockchain. We hope to see more new social platforms and dapps being created on the Wortheum blockchain.

How the Wortheum Ecosystem Works

There are many gears and levers, and stages of evolution in the Wortheum ecosystem. Let us look at the different technical parts:

Wortheum Initial Token Supply and ICO (Initial Coin Offering)

wortheum initial coin offering ICO

From 10 August 2021 to 30 May 2022, the Wortheum project offered 500 million WORTH tokens as the intial coin offering. 70% of this initial pool was available for sale for the public. The Team retained 12% share and allotted 10% for partnerships. For running bounty and airdrop campaigns to generate interest among the public on social media, 4% of the tokens were deployed. The remaining 3% were kept in reserves and 1% for the advisors to the project. Also, the team minted 0.7 million Wortheum Backed Dollars as part of this premined supply.

This initial supply served to bootstrap the funding and development of this project, and to let the public become early investors. Initial supply tokens are not used in the rewards system on the social decentralized platform. Instead, the WORTH token has been designed to have an inflationary supply. This inflation rate gradually decreases over time as the platform and community matures. And, it is the supply of new tokens from this inflation that is used to reward participants who add and upvote on news content using Proof of Brain mechanism.

The Three Tokens System of Wortheum

Wortheum News is the beta social news plaform from the team, that resembles Reddit and Steemit, running on the Wortheum blockchain. The Wortheum ecosystem consists of three tokens: Wortheum or WORTH, Worth Power (WP), and Wortheum Backed Dollars (WBD).

  • Wortheum $WORTH is the primary token, and users can buy, sell, or earn it.
  • Worth Power (WP) is the staked version of the Wortheum token. You need to have Worth Power in order to participate in voting mechanisms in the community.
  • The purpose of Wortheum Backed Dollar (WBD) token is to make it convenient for users to hold value of their Wortheum tokens in US Dollar equivalents.

Resource Credits

Wortheum transactions are fee-less. Users without tokens can also participate in the Wortheum ecosystem. This lowers the barrier of entry and allows everyone to earn Wortheum by engaging with the platform. However, there is a limit to the number of transactions & interactions that users without tokens can make in a given period. So, you need to have more Worth Power tokens, or Wortheum tokens in the staked form if you want increase the number of interactions you can perform. This is where the concept of Resource Credits comes into picture.

Having more Worth Power, or the staked version of Worth tokens, rewards you with more Resource Credits (RC). The purpose of RC is to viably support the feeless transactions. When you are transacting the tokens or posting and upvoting on content, you use up your Resource Credits. RCs renew automatically at a 20% rate daily. This automates a Fair Usage Policy in the network, and lowers the possibility of spamming or oversharing. We can also call it Bandwidth Rate Limiting. It also incentivizes users to earn or buy more Wortheum tokens to participate more.

Rewards Pool

rewards pool

Once the ICO period of Worth tokens ended, the inflation of the WORTH token began. The system mints new tokens as block producers or witnesses sign a new block every 3 seconds. We can call these newly minted tokens as the inflation. This started at 9.5% annual inflation rate, which decreases gradually. The total supply of Worth tokens is endless. However, the rate of inflation decreases by 0.01% for every 250,000 blocks. This is equivalent to approximately 0.5% decrease in inflation per year. Once this decreasing inflation reaches the 0.95% mark, it will remain constant. So, after about 20.5 years, the inflation of Wortheum will stabilize at the 0.95% annual rate for lifetime.

Now, 65% of this inflation goes to form the rewards pool. 50% rewards are given to content creators, who add new content like news and videos to the system. And the remaining 50% rewards are given to the community of curators and moderators who perform various actions on the content, like commenting, upvoting, making collections or communities, etc. Thus, the community can grow sustainably while ensuring active participation from all users.

Besides Rewards Pool for the social news content, tokens from the inflation have other purposes. 15% go to WP stakeholders, 10% for witnesses for block signing, and 10% to the Decentralized Worth Fund (DWF). In short, we can say that this remaining 35% of the inflation supply is put for governance and maintenance purposes.

Determining the Allocation of Rewards

Wortheum's system for determining who deserves rewards operates on the basis of one-WP, one-vote. So individuals who have invested or earned more tokens can get more potential voting power. However, you cannot vote with the plain WORTH tokens. First, you must stake some amount of Worth tokens to get and use the Worth Power tokens as your voting power. To ensure sensible use of this system, users cannot instantly destake their tokens once they have staked them. There is a vesting period of 13 weeks, whereby you can only withdraw your staked tokens at a ratio of 1/13 per week. This takes care that only the users who are serious and committed to the system are participating.

Now, every post made on the social platform has a 7-day evaluation period. This is the time when everyone can upvote on it and also participate by commenting on this post. The user who posted this is the creator of the post. And the other participants like commenters and upvoters are the curators of the post. Whatever value this post will incur at the end of the 7-day period, will become the earnings of this post, which will then get allocated 50% to the creator, and 50% to the curator pool of that post.

Also, every user's profile has a reputation score that paints the quality of their behavior over time. This is a transparent score from 0-100 that anyone can see with a glance. As users participate in the ecosystem, their reputation scores will change. If their activities are upvoted by other members, and they are trusted more, their reputation score will go up. Since it is easy to see anyone's reputation score, we can expect good continued behavior by people over long time periods.

Wortheum Payouts for User Generated Content

Users receive payouts for posting or commenting 7 days after the intial period when their monetization is active. By paying out  by default 50% in WBD or Worth Dollars, and 50% in WP or Worth Power staked tokens, we can ensure that there are enough liquid tokens suitable for encashing earnings, as well as staked tokens for letting users participate. However, individual users can choose different settings for their payouts, and get WBD and WP in different ratio as per their liking. Thus, it becomes easy to maintain a balance in the ecosystem, as users can do various types of interactions requiring different tokens seamlessly based on their goals and needs.

Wortheum has an official wallet, as well as a savings account that keeps earnings for minimum 3 days before they can be encashed. This will slow down any phishers or malicious users from stealing earnings from other members. There are also other mechanisms like Account Recovery, Trustee System, and Escrow Services, that users can utilize if their account gets compromised. This ensures that users can safeguard their earnings, trust the system, and continue being part of it for a long time.

DPoS fosters Democratic Communities

Wortheum uses "Delegated Proof of Stake" or DPoS as its consensus mechanism, just like Bitcoin uses Proof of Work (PoW). We call the block producers as Witnesses in Wortheum, similar to miners in Bitcoin. Using DPoS, the community adds new blocks to the blockchain using a voting mechanism to elect the witness for every block.

Wortheum can support 10,000 transactions per second in parallel. This enables it to support social platforms that can rapidly update and require less resources. And every transaction completes in just 3 seconds. Transactions are thus fee-less and occur at lightning-fast speeds.

It would have been impossible to use Proof of Work for supporting a vibrant social platform. While the inefficiencies in Bitcoin are being solved by off-chain and sidechain solutions, they are not fully decentralized and are vulnerable to corruption and control by a few people. Proof of Stake and its variants are therefore the dominant consensus mechanisms for scalable, efficient, and fast blockchain solutions.

Proof of Stake (PoS) vs Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS)

There is more intelligence and human discernment in the Delegated Proof of Stake, compared to the original plain Proof of Stake, where the rules give more importance to randomness and stake ratio. Thus, in the Proof of Stake, it is possible that the wealthy participants will grasp control of the system.

DPoS, on the other hand, is more democratic, with voting and power delegation features. Witnesses are the block producers who sign the new blocks. Top-tier witnesses are the top 20 or so witnesses with the most amount of votes. New top-tier witnesses can be made by winning more votes. Thus, there is trust and reputation in the DPoS. Delegates are groups of people who all participants can elect to govern and audit the blockchain and the ecosystem.

Proof of Stake depends much more an automation and smart contracts. Delegated Proof of Stake allows for more human participation. It can be easier and faster for a community to agree and make changes in the protocol in DPoS. In PoS, the rules and regulations are hardcoded in the very first or the genesis block. This means any major changes requires hard forks for PoS blockchains. DPoS blockchains, on the other hand, are built to maintain the same chain despite any new proposals being implemented. For example, the Steem blockchain forked 18 times, but only one chain persisted, thanks to DPoS, with the elected delegates keeping the blockchain and the community united.

Weighted Key Hierarchy in Wortheum Blockchain

There is a hierarchy of 4 types of keys. Users need these different keys for different types of interactions on the Wortheum platform:

  1. Owner Key, for recovering accounts, resetting passwords, etc.
  2. Active Key, to transfer funds, vote for witnesses or on proposals, etc.
  3. Posting Key, for adding posts and comments, etc.
  4. Memo Key, for decrypting encrypted messages, etc.

Node Types

Wortheum consists of community members running specially configured software on computers or servers. We call these as nodes, and they provide the computing power for the blockchain and social platform. There are 3 types of nodes:

  1. Witness Nodes, for signing blocks.
  2. Seed Nodes, for external P2P connections.
  3. API Nodes, for external Remote Call Procedure connections.

For Developers

Like Steem, Wortheum works with the database solution ChainBase. It supports faster load and exit times. Parallel access to the database is possible. It experiences lesser data corruption and is a robust solution for Web3 dapps. Also, cross-platform and application integration is made simple by using JSON for encoding data onto the chain.

Wortheum uses layered solutions like Hivemind (Python) database-driven layer. It acts as the consensus interpretation layer, and serves as the API for the blockchain. It allows near-real-time transactions, makes it easier to scale the blockchain, and eases node requirements.

AppBase is another component that is essential for Web3 social dapps. It makes the Steem and Wortheum blockchains more modular, allows creation of non-consensus additional blockchains called plugins. Using this method, it becomes easier to repair, maintain and scale the blockchain, without replaying the entire chain.

This modularity happens because AppBase enables different computers to store different parts of the Wortheum blockchain. It is a significantly more efficient solution, rather than requiring every node to store the entire blockchain. There are further advances to be made in these techniques, so that blockchains can become fully parallel and optimized in the future.

Summary

In 2022, we are still in the early days of Web3. There will be plenty of hype and scams from short-term profiteers who will try to misuse the trending buzzwords without creating real value. However, visionaries and mission-driven teams will find innovative solutions that will bridge the many gaps in today's world of economics, information, education, and resources. Decentralized communities will emerge and thrive around scalable and efficient technical implementations. Developers will experiment with various consensus mechanisms, scaling solutions, and modular architectures to make blockchains friendly for large social applications.

Wortheum is one important thread in this early Web3 experimental stage. Built by a team of Indians, Wortheum News is a social dapp that can bring together the creators and consumers of information, and help them create and share value in a peer to peer manner. With DPoS consensus mechanism, it also ensures that the maintenance and protocol improvements of the Wortheum blockchain occurs successfully without fracturing the communities that will be built on it. And the Wortheum platform has functionalities and features that can support a large number of different decentralized apps and communities, so it can become a vibrant playground for developers and software companies interested in creating Web3 solutions on top of the Wortheum blockchain.

wortheum news featured image

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