Olympique de Marseille owner Frank McCourt is to create a new platform that will give social media users the ability to control their personal data. | Frank McCourt, Gavin Wood, Polkadot

Frank McCourt’s Project Liberty, which leverages blockchain technology to democratize social media data, is partnering with Polkadot to collaborate on the first implementation of the Decentralized Social Network Protocol (DSNP).

Backed by Frank McCourt, the billionaire and owner of Olympique de Marseille, the Liberty project will focus on developing a publicly available database of people’s social connections.

In a joint statement, McCourt and Gavin Wood, founder of Polkadot and the Web3 Foundation, said their alliance aims to evolve an open-source internet protocol to become the central social layer of the next generation of the Internet.

McCourt commented on this partnership and said:

“We are excited to work with Gavin and his colleagues to realize our shared vision of a healthier web. Not only are they pioneering innovators, but our values ​​are aligned with how the internet should be restructured in a way that empowers users, benefits society, and strengthens democracy.”

The project is created in the institution of Franck McCourt, which works on the development of ethical technologies. In addition to the institution’s resources, McCourt donated $100 million to the project.

Major players like Facebook and Instagram’s Meta currently store their users’ data and tailor it to match specific advertisements and other content. This generates new likes and comments which can be stored and processed to match content in the future.

McCourt and Wood argue that decentralized blockchains are the key to giving full data ownership to users. They guarantee that no database can be controlled by one entity and allow users to transfer their digital data from one platform to another.

Underlining the purpose of Project Liberty, Mr. Wood said:

“Web 3.0 needs a universally accessible social graph to succeed, because Web 2.0 social giants currently have absolute control over what users can say or do on their platforms.”

The challenges of the Liberty project

One of the biggest challenges the project is tackling is scalability. Large datasets slow down blockchains, and no traditional chain can profitably operate as a social media data store.

Wood’s Polkadot is building a Decentralized Social Network Protocol (DSNP) to connect multiple blockchains to maximize speed and scalability to solve the scalability problem.

Popularity is another issue. In order for users to claim rights over their data, they will have to abandon the most popular social networks and migrate to those that will be built on the Liberty project. It could be difficult for users to leave the platforms that their families and friends also use.

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