Decentralizing the Front Page of the Internet

Reddit is often ( self) described as the front-page of the Internet. Fred Wilson has described the platform as an Internet Treasure — a service on the Internet that 1) is open 2) gets better when more people use it and 3) solves a need that many/all of us have.

  • Reputation: Measured by points within a community and displayed next to usernames and posts.
  • Memberships: Users can use points to purchase memberships in communities (subreddits) that will unlock exclusive features like Badges (icons/images), Animated Emojis, and special GIFs (pronounced Giff, NOT Jiff. ) Reddit will not take any points/percent spent on Memberships and instead the points are burned which decreases the supply and increases the value of other member’s points. Memberships can still be purchased in dollars and Reddit will burn the points for the user.
  • Voting: Normal voting view (1 vote per person) and a new “weighted vote” (one vote per point). The weighted vote will be calculated using an individual’s current Community Point balance or total Community Points ever earned (whichever is less) to ensure influence cannot be bought.
  • Over the first year, 50 million more CPs will be distributed which will decrease until 250 million CPs have been issued.
  • 20% of CPs will go to Reddit
  • 20% of CPs will be reserved for the Reddit Community
  • 10% will go to Moderators for their admin work
  • Half of all burned points are reintroduced each month into the next distribution
  • Option to secure an encrypted backup on Reddit’s servers that will have a separate password. Reddit claims they cannot access the private key.
  • There will be a standard 12-word recovery phrase that will enable someone to recover their account/wallet.

There’s a popular Reddit thread called TIFU — Today I Fucked Up. The thread contains common stories like that time you met your girlfriend’s parents and pretended you’d never seen a potato. You know, the relatable stuff…

The short answer: Advertisements and venture funding. However, Reddit is a private company and doesn’t look like its wildly profitable.

Source: FoundationInc

Finding Reddit’s Revenues

In 2014, Reddit donated 10% of its 2014 ad revenue (800k) to 10 non-profits and therefore made $8 million in total. Then, there were rumors that the company made $100 million in ad revenue in 2018. In 2019, Reddit raised $300 million rather than going public, probably because the company needed the cash (14-year-old companies typically try to have a liquidity event by now).

Reading between the Subreddits: What are Community Points Used For?

Community Points (CPs) are issued as ERC-20 tokens on Ethereum but the points don’t have any cleary stated utility, instead claiming:

A Platform Searching for Utility

Most Reddit communities (there are over 50,000) don’t have a lot of monetary value at stake, other than the internet traffic that some subreddits generate. Karma already does a good enough job preventing troll posts. Lots of subreddits have bots that automatically remove content that violets Reddit policies. Additionally, if I can pay for a Subreddit membership in cash, then the Community Points seem obsolete.