Billionaire entrepreneur and investor Mark Cuban has been advising chat app Dust for the past few years. And now, Radical App, the group that oversees Dust, is adding two more properties.
The team will be releasing its Mercury Protocol blockchain messaging technology by the end of next month. The business also will be introducing Broadcast, a social media platform that targets online harassment.
Ryan Ozonian, CEO of Radical App, was unable to share much detail on Broadcast, but he’s excited to introduce Mercury Protocol. The technology will be integrated into Dust and can work with other apps.
The group wants it to be as secure as messaging app Signal, but with global messaging tokens that reward good behavior. To use the technology will require tokens, but for the bullies and harassers, it will cost a lot more.
Calling the Mercury Protocol “transformative,” Cuban said “it allows any application or network, social or otherwise with the opportunity to generate revenue from participation rather than making its users the product. It also provides mechanisms to reward positive contributions and interactions, which in turn should change the interpersonal dynamics of the network for the better.”
Technically, the tokens “may or may not have an actual dollar amount attached to them based on the market,” project manager Ian Connelly told TechCrunch. It will largely depend on the popularity of the Mercury Protocol. But regardless of the monetary value, token collectors will be able to access premium services on Mercury Protocol platforms.
Ultimately, the group believes that this is a solution to the privacy concerns that come with free messaging apps. The Radical App team hopes this will be an alternative to selling user data.
But it’s a competitive landscape, with countless chat apps. Encrypted messaging has become increasingly popular, and there are already plenty of options.
It’s unclear whether these virtual tokens will be enough to motivate people to stop online harassment, but in the age of Twitter trolls and Reddit bullying, it’s good to see that the Mercury Protocol is making this a priority from the get-go.