We interviewed Modclub, a start-up focused on user-generated content moderation. They see moderation as vital to building trusted communities on the blockchain and are supported in this view by 89% of those who took part in their recent airdrop survey.
- What attracted you initially to Blockchain?
Personally, it took me some time to warm up to blockchain, and I don’t claim to be an early adopter. Eventually, I’d say the transparency and traceability aspects are what appealed to me. The transparency that decentralization and immutability offer has tremendous implications for freedom of expression and democratization. That, in conjunction with traceability, allows blockchain technology to be used to hold companies and people accountable and build trust.
2. Of all the platforms you could have chosen, why did you decide to build on the Internet Computer?
A key reason I was initially drawn to the Internet Computer was its reverse gas model. The Internet Computer Protocol is much more user-friendly for the general population. A non-crypto enthusiast doesn’t need to understand how applications are powered behind the scenes. I think this is key to the mission of the Internet Computer and democratizing the Internet.
As a developer, I love that the Internet Computer extends the functionality of the public Internet so that I can deploy everything, from frontend to backend. Having all my code exist on the internet computer magnifies the benefits of decentralization.
3. How long has your company been established, and what is your business model based on?
I had been looking forward to the DFINITY launch for a while; as an engineer, I’ve always loved building products and solving problems. I thought about the idea of a moderation platform earlier this year before DFINITY was launched. I knew that the DFINITY developer community would develop many great applications based on user-generated content, and I wanted to create something that would be useful to the community. As soon as I heard about the DFINITY developer grant, I knew this was my opportunity to execute my idea.
We are in the MVP development stage now, and the response has already been overwhelming!
4. What makes your company marketable, and what will ensure its long-term success?
It’s becoming clear that User Generated Content (UGC) moderation is vital to building trusted communities on the blockchain. From our Airdrop survey, we found 89% of applicants believe that moderation is essential to the success of a decentralized application.
Although more mature dapp communities may have enough users to handle moderation themselves, others might not. We aim to have a large community of trusted moderators and be the aggregator of content from many sites so that moderators can earn rewards efficiently.
We also gathered a lot of developer interest. Over 200 self-identified developers said they would be interested in integrating with Modclub. I’ve had great conversations with other dapp developers and everyone creating an application with a social aspect, and UGC is grappling with content moderation. Some are building out moderation functionality and features on their own, which I fully support. I think Modcub will still have a place to support them as well.
Modclub allows dapp developers to focus on building their core product. Moderation can become more complicated the more you grow–you need to address malicious and duplicate users, ensure sufficient rewards, and maintain a critical mass of moderations to get through the posts quickly. Dapp developers who integrate with Modclub can be confident they get a robust moderation solution that is constantly evolving.
5. What challenges have you faced while building this company?
With the DFINITY development ecosystem still growing, there are some limitations on what you can do. Canister-to-canister querying, for example, is not possible, and the size limitation of canisters is challenging. I recently learned that these both are going to be addressed, which is great.
Another challenge is simply managing your state. Traditionally, you’d have some flavor of a database that you can make queries to, but while building on the Internet Computer, you are doing everything from scratch. The example code provided was a handy learning tool, and there are great solutions now, like Sudograph, that can handle most of the heavy lifting. Once indexing gets added to Sudograph, we will most likely switch over.
These are just some of the challenges of being an early adopter. On the flip-side, it’s exciting to be working on Modclub in tandem with the growth of DFINITY.
6. What overall vision do you have? Do you have a roadmap? If so, what does it involve?
My overall vision is for all apps on the Internet Computer to use Modclub as their solution for UGC moderation.
Our roadmap includes a token sale soon, an expansion of features, such as enabling pre-approval of UGC content before it gets published and enabling programmatic filtering. Once the platform is released, we want to introduce a governance system so that the community can control the evolution of Modclub. I can also see us adding different types of moderation and including proof of humanity to ensure that users are real people. I think AI could be leveraged to support initial categorization and filtering of content before it gets to the moderator's page. And a mobile app!
7. What advantages do you believe you have over other competitors?
Our competitive advantage is our focus. We are solely focused on moderation, and we believe our solution will be more advanced, offer more functionality, and be more user-friendly than other solutions. Having a central location for moderation to occur will be easier for app developers and DFINITY community moderators. We aim to aggregate moderators for dapps and aggregate UGC for moderators.
8. Tell us more about the team.
One of the best parts of being an entrepreneur is building a team that I love to work with. Max has five-plus years of experience as a corporate lawyer focusing on cybersecurity and is acting as my business advisor. Our Partnerships Lead, Pema, has her master's from the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy and is the Policy and Stakeholder Relations Advisor at Ontario’s Research and Innovation and Optical Network. And Chris, our product manager, is a serial entrepreneur of over ten years. As for me, I am a Waterloo Soft Eng graduate, former Microsoft, Amdocs, and RubiKloud engineer. I have worked at big companies and small start-ups throughout my career, but there is nothing more exciting than building something of your own.
9. What advice do you have for anyone working in the same space as you?
My advice for developers working on the Internet Computer is to reach out to community members. I’ve already connected and learned so much from other DFINITY Developer Grantees, and everyone is just trying to learn and build cool stuff.
10. What other projects building on the Internet Computer are you most excited about?
There are a lot of interesting projects being built on the Internet Computer. One example is crowdEats. It’s an Internet Computer Yelp, where reviews can be trusted, and reviewers can get paid. I also think DSCVR, an Internet Computer Reddit-type platform, and what they are doing with the hackathons community is getting more people interested in the Internet Computer. And you guys! Anything that strengthens the community and gets people more educated on and interested in the Internet Computer is great!
11. Do you have any plans to collaborate with other projects building on the Internet Computer?
I have already been connecting with some developers, but anyone who wants to integrate, feel free to reach out! The 200+ developers that said they would be interested in integrating with Modclub in our survey, I want to hear from all of you! I want to hear about the challenges you are facing with moderation, what you need and expect from Modclub. You can reach out to me at Raheel@modclub.app.
12. Do you have any token sale planned for the future? If so, when? Can you give details?
Yes! We have done our initial Airdrop, and we will be doing a part 2 close to the launch date. Our goal is to do our token sale later this year. Follow us @ModclubApp on Twitter for updates. Developers, investors, future moderators, reach out!