It’s been a long time since we last heard anything official from Brendan Blumer and the team at Block.one regarding its upcoming ‘Voice’ social media network. By this week the team has finally revealed the date of the next stage in its public roadmap.
Voice’s beta has been announced for launch on the most commercially romantic day of the year: February 14th, 2019, AKA Valentine’s Day.
“We’re so focused on Voice: a blockchain-powered social network that rewires the formula in users’ favor—cutting out the opaque one-sided data auctioneering, eliminating the hidden algorithms, and cycling value back into users’ hands in the form of the Voice Token.
Voice Tokens are earned by being you, and expressing your voice; they possess the utility of attention, and can be used to elevate content in different ways throughout the ecosystem.”press release, Voice / Block.one
U.S. based Block.one recently established its company headquarters in Arlington, Virginia in September, with purposefully close proximity to Washington D.C. and Capitol Hill. This news was joined by the news of additional funds reinvestment from Block.one by hiring a total 69 new staff, with a total Combined Value of Approximately $5.5million (per year).
Coincidentally, Ripple similarly opened up a new office near the Washington D.C. area the following month – specifically citing the establishment and fostering of relationships with policymakers as being a primary objective.
The current state of the regulatory environment in cryptocurrency is unpredictable and uncertain, with Block.one itself being sued by the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a result of a token sale it had held between 2017-2018.
Block.one ended up paying the SEC $24 million, although this is only a drop in the water compared to the four billion dollars it had actually made at ICO.
“As with most emerging technologies, getting Voice in people’s hands requires more than some serious development.
The legal environment is still evolving, and the joining of blockchain, tokenization, and social media is relatively uncharted territory.
So, we’re in the midst of an ongoing, open conversation with legislators and regulators to make sure Voice is ready for users.”press release, Voice / Block.one
In the press release, Block.one refers to the complexities of US regulation concerning cryptocurrency and cite it as a reason behind Voice having a “long and somewhat unpaved road to market”. It also cites the perceived challenges in pioneering a convergence between
This might help to explain the lack of silence surrounding the project coming from the team over the past few months. The last piece of official news back in June when they infamously registered the Voice.com domain name for $30 million (USD).
Initial reception upon the announcement of Voice was fairly negative, as well as bewildered (with EOS value dropping after the keynote was discovered to be focusing on the social media project).
Despite this, Block.one claims that since launch public support has been strong, with “Tens of thousands [having] signed up for [the] beta” in addition to so-called “thought leaders”.
Amusingly, they also relay that the “media is asking for information and timelines – and so are you” before claiming that they “love it, keep it coming”. However, it’s far from a compliment to the “fans” when vital information is being breadcrumbed as it is now!
This statement, however, is followed by a more sincere appeal to fans, developers, and other interested parties to contribute to the project by way of engagement.
Ironically, this will be achieved using existing social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. All of which Block.one is using to promote its own social media network – suggesting a contradiction with its prior messaging regarding the potential for misinformation via these peers.
“Between now and then, we want to share our journey with all of you. Industry change doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen in a vacuum either. Voice won’t become everything it can be without your involvement, scrutiny, and feedback, at every stage of the process.
So consider this blog an open invitation. Our latest findings. Our biggest challenges. Stories from Dan and the developers. Regulatory updates and behind-the-scenes peeks. We’re putting it out there, expecting change, so you can join us in walking this road to beta. Talk soon.”press release, Voice / Block.one
Whilst there are a lot of companies which established themselves as social networks now entering the cryptocurrency industry (Kik, Telegram, Facebook); Block.one is doing literally the opposite.
Conversely, Voice is the only example of a of blockchain and token operator entering the social media space – as the team behind what is currently the seventh largest cryptocurrency token (by market cap). EOS trails just behind Litecoin, which is in sixth place via CoinMarketCap.