Chinese blockchain entrepreneur, Xu Ke, has launched a social media network that within four months has attracted over three million users and with which she aims to bring down Facebook, a firm that she says has made a fortune selling its subscribers’ data.
Ke’s story is quite fascinating. She’s a native of Beijing, but in 2013 went as an exchange student to the University of Riverside, California. There, she showed great ability with numbers, which she exploited by regularly playing poker, through which she increased her skills in probability and risk assessment.
She moved back to China in 2014 but continued to play poker, and invested all her winnings in Bitcoin. Xu says that she met a lot of interesting people that turned her on to Bitcoin and altcoins. She was intrigued and began to mine Bitcoin.
Massive Bitcoin investment
At one point, she owned over 50,000 Bitcoins, and four years ago decided to cash in 20,000 worth of BTC. It was priced at $240, giving her some $4.8 million.
With the proceeds of the sale, Xu founded Nome Lab, the firm responsible for creating the popular blockchain game CryptoDogs and her flagship firm Ono, the first social media network in China that is blockchain-based.
Inspiration behind Ono
“When [British computer scientist] Tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web, his vision was to let humans exchange information and knowledge freely,” Xu says in an article published by Forbes. “The internet belongs to all of us. However, it’s become so centralised now. Most of the top 10 tech companies in the world built their net worths by selling user data.”
She adds: “This is why blockchain is important … you own the data yourself.” Xu explains that unlike Facebook, Ono could not sell its users data because it is a decentralised app, which means her firm has no control or access the information of its users.
Xu challenges Facebook with Ono
Ono, which has 76 staff in Beijing and 15 more around the world, is available in the Google Play store and the iOS version is expected to be ready before the end of this month.
“Ono is run democratically, and lets content creators retain ownership over their content and get rewarded,” Xu says. “This will be achieved via a reward system in which the best content creators (as voted by the community) receive digital currency that can be traded or used for in-app purchases.”