press release
Published: 05 January 2022

Surrey researcher launches next-generation, blockchain-based social media network that protects users' content

A researcher from the University of Surrey has launched a new social media platform based on blockchain technology that allows users to monetise their content.

Pixie – a network believed to be the first to use web 3.0 and decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO) concepts – acts as a crypto version of TikTok and Instagram, with the added distinction of allowing content creators and the platform itself to share in the profits.

The majority of today's social media companies, many of which are valued above £100 billion, are dependent on a centralised business model that exploits the content generated by its users. At most, few content creators can capitalise on their social media presence through limited activities such as deriving a share of advertising revenue from traffic generated by their content.

On Pixie, quality content that gains a large number of interactions (likes and reposting) receive an in-platform cryptocurrency called PIX. Users with a large amount of PIX over time improve their influence in the platform and will, on average, receive more of the crypto than other users whose content doesn't generate high engagement.

Pixie uses innovations that solve some of the critical problems faced by blockchain technology – such as its inability to quickly process a large amount of data. Pixie developed a multi-layer, hierarchical data processing algorithm to deal with heavy user interactions on its platform to record data efficiently. Pixie allows its algorithm to tend to the frequent user interactions but, crucially, records interactions that need a high level of security (such as PIX or non-Fungible tokens (NFT)) directly on the platform's chain.

This security feature allows Pixie to protect digital content as soon as it is created and, with the use of its social data, can give accurate pricing for NFTs.

Professor Yu Xiong, Principal Scientific Advisor of Pixie and Associate Dean International at the University of Surrey, said:

"Pixie is built on the idea that the public will wake up to the fact that multinational social media companies are making billions from their content, and they will not see a penny of it. At the University of Surrey, we believe that the age of the centralised digital economy is coming to an end; and we are passionate about shaping a fairer decentralised vision of the web.

"Using our world-leading knowledge in blockchain technology, we have built what we believe is the world's first SocialFi network. Ensuring users have true ownership of their content is at the foundation of Pixie, and we hope it sparks the beginning of the 'socialise to earn' era."

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