The Zion social network will allow you to send and receive BTC by sharing videos, photos, or memes on its platform.
Zion is available on iOS, and Android will be available in October this year.
The social network uses LND, an open-source implementation of Lightning.
Zion is a decentralized social network based on Bitcoin's Lightning network, allowing, among other things, the creation and sharing of content. It does not store personal data, and users will even send and receive payments in Bitcoin.
"By replacing digital intermediaries with transparent, open-source protocols, Zion circumvents corporate profit motives and grants each user full sovereignty over their entire digital experience. Absolute freedom of expression and irrevocable custody of their personal information."
According to Zion, users can reward content creators directly with bitcoin through Lightning. The social network allows users to send and receive payments instantly through their non-custodial wallets.
"Imagine getting paid for that perfect meme or hilarious comment on your friend's post. Turn your comments into cash. Turn your brilliance into bitcoin. Turn your sarcasm into satoshis," Zion.
Zion explains that messages are "essentially snippets of content overlaid" on top of Lightning transactions, ensuring that conversations are "untraceable and end-to-end encrypted." Each message involves sending three satoshis (sats) that the network later sends back to the user, so the cost is zero.
Your node, your access to Zion
To use the social network, users must use nodes for Bitcoin's Lightning network. Zion uses Lightning Network Daemon (LND), an open-source implementation of Lightning created by software developer Lightning Labs.
There are two possibilities to connect to Zion. One is to rent a node. However, this option is not available because the nodes have sold out, following an "overwhelming response" from the public, according to Zion. The rental of each node had a cost of $9 monthly. So far, they have 367 active nodes.
The second option is to set up your own LND node with the relay software. The nodes also include a "preconfigured channel," allowing the use of LND immediately and access to the application.
"Our nodes are self-healing. They also allow you to be hassle-free, as we take care of the headaches of node management. We'll tackle things like backups, networking, and version upgrades for you," Zion creator Justin Rezvani informed the specialized media outlet, Bitcoin Magazine.
How does Zion earn revenue?
The Zion social network doesn't collect user data, and neither employs banner ads, so they don't earn revenue as other social networks do.
"On Zion, there are no ads, no affiliate marketers, and no creepy tracking, so you can focus on sharing the moments you create. Connect and get paid without annoying ads or creepy pixels tracking your every move. With no algorithms, our goal is not to keep you on the site to manipulate you. Our goal is to get you to see the content you want. No curation. No algorithms. Just the content you subscribe to, in chronological order."
Zion Social Network
The company has two revenue models. The first is node hosting, and the second is network routing fees, i.e., a fee for facilitating payments between users through Lightning.
In this regard, Rezvani made it clear that each user "has full control of their funds, as they are the ones managing the private keys. They are running their nodes and have full custody of their bitcoins. Whoever controls their private keys controls the nodes."
For now, Zion, you can only use through a mobile app on iOS. They plan to release the app for Android in October 2021 and desktop by Q4 2021.
Privacy features and censorship resistance
Zion claims to have one unique feature, as only the people you want can see the content or read the messages. The company does not have access to any of them as it relies on Lightning network cryptography.
Another advantage the social network claims to have is that it guarantees freedom of speech. "Imagine creating, connecting, and sharing without censorship. Imagine saying what you want without being banned or, worse, banned, but in the shadows," adds Zion.
Bitcoin's Lightning network expansion.
Bitcoin's Lightning network has a lot of versatility in different areas. For example, a new protocol named The Lightning Address was recently reported, allowing generating a humanly readable personalized address to receive bitcoins through this network of payment channels.
The advantage of such an application is that it allows greater privacy for users, since behind a custom-made, humanly readable, and Internet-accessible username is the user's wallet, without revealing his transaction history.