On May 3, 2016, Mihai Alisie (Co-founder of Ethereum and of the Bitcoin Magazine) unveiled a project he and his team are developing, a social network based on blockchain technology which Alisie compared with "the missing puzzle piece that will enable us to tackle two of the most important challenges we face today as a modern information-based society: freedom of expression and creative perpetuity". That is AKASHA (stands for "Advanced Knowledge Architecture for Social Human Advocacy").
So AKASHA is a Social Network, just like Facebook or Twitter?
Yes and no. AKASHA is a social media platform in which you can perform activities like publishing, sharing, and voting for content, just like Facebook and Twitter. Fundamentally, AKASHA’s user functionalities are quite similar to other social networks. But the point that makes AKASHA different from the rest is that the content in AKASHA is published over a decentralized network rather than on regular central servers.
It's just a social network. Why would we need it decentralized?
The idea of developing a social network like AKASHA arose from a long-standing story of content censorship. Acknowledging that censorship is not new, Alisie noted that humanity has not learned from past mistakes. In today's information-based society, people have outsourced freedom of expression and collective memory to corporations that don’t have society’s best interests in mind.
Because established companies need to comply with certain requirements in order to stay in business, some of these requirements involve censorship. Today's centralized architecture allows companies to meet such requirements.
Censorship has outlived various governments and has evolved into modern superpowers due to the centralized information architecture that mainstream publishing platforms have implemented. A simple command can instantly delete anything from shared memory.
Where governments burned books in the past, the scope of censorship now includes millions of petabytes and billions of people.
In reality, the Internet is becoming centralized, with billions of users dependent on some large services. The Internet is also fragile because it relies upon a centralized distribution model, with servers that come and go. Whenever a server goes down for any technical or commercial reason or is taken down by the authorities, all the web pages stored on that server disappear.
For that reason, what would happen if there was no server to delete information from, and instead, the content would live forever on a decentralized network serving data through a fractal of nodes? The AKASHA project aims to establish an enduring repository embedded in the Internet network for all the information that is produced online. That explains why the development team wants AKASHA decentralized.
- As a decentralized social network, AKASHA gives users more control over centralized social networks, such as censorship resistance, ownership over personal data, and improved control over user-generated content. That means no one can modify users' content, whether a corporation or site administrator. Nobody can remove content generated by users, either.
- AKASHA uses the Inter-Planetary File System (IPFS) to ensure decentralization and reliability. IPFS is a distributed system for storing and accessing files, websites, applications, and data for those who don't know. Files in IPFS aren't stored in only one or several servers but are stored in many common computers. Hence, for some reason, make a server down, then the files are still accessible. Not only brings resilience, but with the advantage of decentralization, IPFS can also speed up the web by routing users' requests to the nearest server. Therefore, by using IPFS, AKASHA will have no central point of failure or bandwidth issues. You can find more information about IPFS in this article [bài cùng series Web3].
- AKASHA is built on Ethereum. Therefore, the project technically doesn’t depend on servers. Moreover, it will have a built-in infrastructure suitable for micropayments. If your content is good, you’ll make some ETH from it because the votes of a post in AKASHA are bundled with ETH microtransactions.
- The project is open-source, so anyone can check the code and its reliability.
All the information above is provided by the AKASHA blog. In fact, AKASHA is still in the testing and development stage, and the number of people who can test it is quite limited. Therefore, we cannot get a clearer view of this new social network, I wonder if AKASHA will become “The Next Generation of Social Network”?
The decentralized social network is a new land without a ruler. Besides AKASHA, there are many other decentralized social networking platforms under development. AKASHA's advantage in this race is having more than half a decade of research and development term along with a team of experienced experts in the blockchain field. Therefore, the advantage of the decentralized social network race seems to be in favor of AKASHA.
- Open source is a double-edged sword. Besides the high reliability and support from the large community, the risk that hackers will take advantage of it to attack the system is also very large. This requires AKASHA's development team to be very focused on security.
- Besides the benefits that censorship resistance brings, it also has many potential social risks. In decentralized social networks, anyone can publish anything they want without worrying about having their post taken down. What happens when false information about an individual or politics or religion is published on AKASHA, and that information cannot be removed? While individuals can block bad groups, they cannot prevent them from engaging in the network.
AKASHA is a promising platform for the next generation of social networking. Although the product release time is a bit long, according to the information on the AKASHA blog and the commits on GitHub, the development team is still trying to perfect the platform to bring users the most stable product. Hopefully, the AKASHA team will not disappoint those who have been waiting for years.
 Unveiling AKASHA, akasha.org, accessed on April 10th, 2022.
 AKASHA Reloaded: Three Spins Around The Sun Later, akasha.org, accessed on April 10th, 2022.
 AKASHA Project unveils decentralized Social Media network based on Ethereum and IPFS, bitcoinmagazine.com, accessed on April 10th, 2022.
 Akasha Wants to Put Social Media on the Ethereum Blockchain, news.bitcoin.com, accessed on April 10th, 2022.