Synereo has been around for a little while, and raised the equivalent of $126,000 in their initial AMP crowdsale last year. Since then, they’ve been relatively quiet, and I was surprised to hear they plan to have another one. Their team has been hard at work, however, and while their fundraising/marketing strategy has been confusing to many traders, I’ve always been extremely impressed with their founding concept and the technical prowess of their developers.
In case you hadn’t been following, Synereo began as a decentralized social media platform, now called the social layer. Their developers, however, found that no existing smart contract platforms met their requirements, so they were forced to set out and build their own. But before getting into the fine technical details, I first wanted to go over the concept that first got me so excited.
The Attention Economy
Synereo’s white paper does a great job of demonstrating their academic talent, but most people who don’t like equations will find it hard to read. For those of you without the time or inclination to really study it, you can get a somewhat accurate understanding by using some handy metaphors.
AMPs are literally backed by the human attention span, which is a finite and therefore valuable commodity. Instead of enriching a middleman such as Facebook, the funds from sponsored content go directly to its viewers. This essentially redeems AMPs for your time and focus, allowing you to sell them for another good/service or sponsor content of your own.
Of course, not everyone’s attention is equally valuable. Since social media users typically want to reach as many others as possible, the value of a person’s attention is measured in how much and how many people pay attention to him or her. Synereo does this using variables such as engagement, which is how much one person has clicked, liked or shared content from another, or Reo, which is two users’ relative standing in their shared community, or bundle.
With the value of everyone’s attention objectively established, it can now be tokenized. By buying and selling AMP on a cryptocurrency exchange, it will be possible for you to speculate upon the value of social media advertising—that is, until additional Synereo d’apps are developed, if AMP remains the base token.
A Smart Network
As users’ relative engagement and Reo change over time, Synereo’s P2P network will evolve in a manner similar to the human brain, with nodes being analogous to neurons. If you were to take a long hiatus from social media, your Reo would fall, much like neural connections atrophy from lack of use. Likewise, interacting with others’ content strengthens your connections, increasing the likelihood of future content of theirs appearing in your feed, or Stream.
Gradually, users with similar interests will be identified, and the shape of the network will take form. Node clusters will emerge where like-minded groups of people discuss topics such as politics, pop-culture and hobbies, kind of like how the brain is organized into lobes with different functions. This brings you closer to content you’re interested in, while users that bore you will grow farther away as time goes by.
Every post you upload to the network follows a path along these lines. Using a (very) simplified electric model of the nervous system, each one starts with a certain charge, which dissipates over time as the message crosses the connections between more and more users. It is replenished when users engage with the content, allowing virality to take place.
Your post’s prominence in others’ Streams is dependent upon its current, which is proportional to its charge and other factors such as Reo. Notably, you can increase it by expending AMPs (which derive their name from amperes, the physical unit of current). All of this is defined in their white paper mathematically.
This paints a pretty good picture of how the social media network functions, but the reality at the technical level is more complicated. Every node in this social media network is layered on top of a physical network, a technical stack with its own blockchain, smart contracting system and network of nodes and miners who may not even use social media. We’ll cover those in the next article.