Mercury Protocol, a project backed by billionaire investor Mark Cuban, is looking to change how people interacts over the internet.
According to a report in Fortune, Mercury Protocol is a software designed for messaging apps and built as a blockchain. This means users can message people without having to offer up any identifying and personal information. The idea behind the project is that WhatsApp, Signal and Facebook’s Messenger will eventually use the software.
Currently, the software is focused on Dust and Broadcast, two apps backed by Cuban, noted the report. Dust, which has been on the market for years now, is an alternative to Twitter and aims to provide a more secure platform for messaging and group discussions — with fewer trolls. Broadcast is still in the development stage, but will reportedly allow consumers to pay to have conversations with the likes of Cuban and other forward thinkers.
Behind all these efforts is blockchain technology. Mercury Protocol is built on the Ethereum blockchain, and with it, users can earn tokens after reading a certain number of stories. Positive contributions to discussions will also earn tokens. As Fortune noted, if users earn coins for doing constructive things online, the platform will effectively shut out the trolls who are bent on spreading hate or creating division.
Ryan Ozonian, CEO of Dust and head of the Mercury Protocol project, told Fortune that in the beginning users can only earn tokens by participating, but in the future, there could be the potential to purchase the coins.
The new startup is part of Cuban’s about-face when it comes to cryptocurrency. While he has always been a proponent of blockchain technology, lately Cuban has been warming up to digital currencies as well. In June, he called Bitcoin a bubble, but more recently announced he may be purchasing some of the cryptocurrency.
According to a news report in CNBC, Cuban is backing a venture capital fund focused on cryptocurrency investments. The fund, called 1confirmation, was started by Nick Tomaino, former business development manager at Coinbase, reported CNBC. The fund hopes to land $20 million, CNBC noted, citing a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
“It’s an interesting space that I [want] to get involved with and learn more about,” Mark Cuban said in an email to CNBC Tuesday (Aug.22). Cuban would not say how much he is investing in Tomaino’s 1confirmation VC fund.