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Chingari VS. Cheelee: What Will Make Web3 Social Media Hotter in 2023

Traditional social media like TikTok starts to feel a bit outdated even in 2022 for ignoring all the potential that blockchain can offer to its mechanics. New startups like Chingari or Cheelee are ready to take the niche. But how sustainable are their models and who will win in crossing the chasm? More importantly, what users can get from all of this? Let’s start from the beginning.

The video-sharing boom of the 2020s

The Chinese video-sharing application Douyin – TikTok in the rest of the world – took the social media market by storm in 2018. In 2022, TikTok and Douyin ranked №4 with over 1 600 million monthly active users leaving behind Instagram which was too late with the Reels.

Such innovations as an AI-based recommendation algorithm made TikTok an absolute leader in being the “time-wasting machine”. Even in the US market, an average user spends every day over 45 minutes on TikTok, leaving all other social media platforms behind including YouTube and Facebook.

But what really changed for the user? So far the mainstream social media sector massively ignored the emergence of blockchain and the NFT sector by concentrating on its main metric – revenue per user. It seems that they have not even heard about the democratization trend.  Little was done to protect personal data even after the Facebook breaches affecting over half a billion people all around the globe.

Users are still a product for advertising companies who sell their attention to corporations while some bloggers manage to get a fortune on it. Of course, users started to massively look for alternatives.

From fighting the middlemen hegemony to rewarding users

The first inspiration came from the decentralization and democratization movement that started with various blockchain-it-all projects. After the invention of Bitcoin, it became clear to many that in the economy of trust there is no need for a middleman, be it the bank or Facebook.

The peak of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) made it possible to create unique tokens for any sort of content and reward the creators directly, freeing the creator economy from the hegemony of the middleman who took the lion’s share of profits at traditional services like Spotify.

In the social media sector, the experiments of direct rewards for content creators were made by Steemit as early as 2016 but it just did not fly yet. What was needed was a deeper shift in the social media paradigm. 2022 became the year when it finally became hot and noticeable.

The shift towards an “attention economy” became a missing part of the puzzle. The Nobel Prize Laureate Herbert A. Simon, who coined this term, shared the idea that attention, or time spent on social media in our case, is a scarce commodity with a value of its own and can be sold for money. In the 1970s there was no Web3, GameFi sector success with its Play-to-Earn model but in 2022 it started to come to fruition.

Democratising the creator economy

Who will be the next unicorn? Only time will tell. In the Indian market, there are at least two interesting cases that show that TikTok has been seriously challenged.

The first is the Bengaluru-based startup Chingaru which is already number one in India by challenging TikTok. At the first sight, all is already there: users get rewarded with tokens for uploading and watching videos, commenting and sharing videos as part of the GARI mining programme. Additionally, it optimises the process of buying advertised goods. And as a bonus, users can stake on and vote for suggestions to influence the future development of the project.

The co-founder and CEO of Chingari, Sumit Ghosh even advertises the new monetization plan as “another step towards democratization of the creator economy”. Yes, it might help “micro and nano-influencers” from smaller cities gain their share but will it change the way we consume social media and what is the economy behind it all?

First and foremost, the paradigm here is still with a great focus on the creator’s economy. Chingari rewards distribution depends on the video virality metrics. In other words, the reward for the creators grows with the number of views of the video. To earn more, a creator has to get more views. In the end, it all runs around the creator.

Secondly, there is a question of sustainability. In the press release from November 21, the company shared the launch of a new “content monetization plan”. By buying a subscription for Rs 20 per day, Rs 30 per week or Rs 100 per month, users will be able to double their earnings from GARI mining programme and “withdraw the money right into their bank accounts, making the whole process frictionless and easy”, reads the website.

What will happen when the market penetration will be further at its adoption curve? Also, those familiar with the blockchain market know that fiat-based subscription models are not doing well with Web3 models. Why is there a need to make users pay? The underlying problem is the lack of an NFT component or token economics. If the design can be made better in months with more competitors, underlying economics and mechanics are the core component for future growth. That is why the reward for Chingari remains rather limited.

Marrying NFT and ad-based profits for the benefit of a regular user

The first project that really made a step further in both directions: blockchain-based democratization and attention economy is Cheelee. The team of over 150 developers who already created the NUTSon app with over 1.5 million user base launched their alternative this winter. Both creators and users will find ways to earn money but Cheelee created an ecosystem based on the attention economy.

In contrast with Chingari, there is no need to pop up subscription plans with any fiat currency, or with any currency. It requires no investment at all. Like TikTok, Starting NFT glasses are absolutely free. And the reward will also be much bigger. How come one project offers more based on the same structure of social media?

The biggest difference is that Cheelee adopted the Web3 component to its core. It has built an underlying technology with NFTs and internal stability funds. Only on the basis of that, Cheelee offered a balance between NFT-based profits and advertisement-based profits.

The core idea is not to divide the existing pie and make creators fight over whose video is more viral but to grow the pie and improve the terms for all stakeholders to participate and make the token economy flourish. Needless to say, there is no need to subscribe and pay even Rs 1 to get the best of it.

As with any new idea, it will take some time to gain momentum. To help users notice the difference between being a product and getting paid for the time spent in the app, Cheelee is giving $50,000 to lucky early birds. Follow the project news to learn more about the paradigm shift and how it works in real life.

In 2021, one would laugh at the idea that users should get paid for watching TikToks. In 2022, after an influx of GameFi projects that forever promoted the  Play-to-Earn model over Pay-to-Play, the social media sector started to notice startups that work in this area. Some projects like Chingari are helping with the democratization of an existing model, while others like Cheelee work already in the Web3 paradigms from the start and put the user in the centre of the ecosystem.



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