ONO, a Chinese block chain-based social network, announced today it has raised $16 million in a Series A funding as the company is looking to ride on the tide of block chain-based communities.
Some notable investors include INBlockchain, China Growth Capital, Purple Cow Fund, Green Pine Capital Partners, Korea Investment Partners and Grand Shores.
Leveraging on some of the characteristics of block chain, ONO claims a new approach to social networking. It says it’ll offer a token mechanism to reward users posting high-quality contents. The service, once launched later this year, will be targeting the post-90/95s as core audience.
Common knowledge is that Tencent’s WeChat dominates China’s social networking area, which is true to a large extent. However, just like the youngsters in the States are disconnecting themselves from Facebook after their parents also got on the platform, Chinese younger generations, the post-90s, are also actively looking for other niche social networking solutions.
With the rise of block chain technology, quite a few startup, including QunQun and YeeCall, saw the potential of using it in the social networking scene, launched similar platforms.
ONO claims 280,000 invite-only Beta users to date.
It is also noteworthy to mention with the rise in privacy issues, highlighted by the recent Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal and Europe’s rollout of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), social network users are now looking for something new.
This could be a further boost for the firm, as its international version of this invite-only Beta test is slated to be rolled out later this month.
While ONO has seemingly managed to catch on the new wave, it is not immune to market competition from other blockchain-based platforms, such as Sola, Indorse, Ong, Steemit and Mithril.
However, each of these platforms has a different focus and their own unique way to envision the future of blockchain based social media.
A closer rival for ONO, which blends both content creation with social engagement, could be Facebook, even as the company reveals its international expansion plans.
Despite the huge setback and public scrutiny, Facebook is now actively investing in blockchain technology to improve its social network system. It has also recently appointed David Marcus to head up a new blockchain department.