We explore how companies like Luna, Hicky, Viola, Ponder and Matchpool are using blockchain to help change the dating industry.
Finding love online is big business. This year, the online services helping people to find a match will pull in $1.4 billion in revenue, according to statista, a data gathering website.
But for some, there’s trouble afoot. Hacking scandals, spam accounts and fake user profiles are just a few of the issues troubling the industry. Could blockchain help us be luckier in love?
These five companies believe they can. 💖
Online dating has some of the lowest satisfaction scores of any online service. One of the biggest reasons? Spam.
In an experiment conducted by a British data journalist, fictitious female users received upto 230 messages per week, 17 times as many as fictitious male users.
On Tinder meanwhile, the average a male user can expect to be swiped left (i.e. ignored) by over 99% of women. That’s where Luna comes in.
It uses a cryptocurrency that can be earned through actions such as fully completing a profile, and allows users to spend them on actions like contacting those they like.
It’s a clever system that makes it harder for spammers to abuse the network, and the scarcity of resources could lead to more considered messaging.
Dating sites, by their very nature hold a lot of sensitive information. Those databases, if breached could lead to deeply intimate details being exposed to prying eyes.
That’s where Hicky comes in.
The site uses voice recognition and face scanning technology to verify profiles, and has also built in a peer-based conflict resolution tool. If users behave poorly, community memebers can decide whether they want that user to stay on the site, or not.
Becoming a moderator will earn users Hicky tokens, which can be used to take advantage of features on the platform.
Dating apps aren’t great at retaining users. The natural churn of people finding partners - or not - and ultimately leaving the platform is high. In addition, the average length of relationships is in decline, according to a recent UK study.
Can Viola.AI’s solution fix that?
Where does blockchain come in?
Ethereum Smart Contracts enable the community to be rewarded for their contributions to improving the network incentivising couples to remain on the network.
The matching algorithms on dating sites aren’t great. In a recent study published in the journal Psychological Science, bots were found to be terrible at pairing potential couples when compared to humans. So why not build a matchmaking platform that incentivises humans to do the work normally handled by machines?
Say hello to Ponder.
A matchmaker drags and drops photos of singles that they think would make a good couple. If they match, they win $10, if they marry it's a $1000 reward.
For singles it's a way to get a curated stream of date prospects suggested by friends and a community of matchmakers. For everyone else meanwhile, single or taken, it's a fun, rewarding reason to play cupid for your friends.
One of the positives, and negatives of dating is the sheer volume of people who can reach and contact you (or not). With those volumes, it can make it difficult to find the right match. That’s lead to curated platforms like The League and Inner Circle arising.
But curation on those platforms often resides in the hands of the network’s owners. That’s something MatchPool wants to change.
The platform is built around exclusive dating communities called pools. Individuals will be able to create their own matchmaking pools where they can specify traits such as demographics, geography, and interests.
Like Tinder, Facebook profiles will be used to verify user identities. Users who fit a pool’s curation parameters are able to join as subscribers using GUP, the native token of Matchpool.
The idea is the network allows the community to create their own groups that help increase the chances of singles looking for love.
The global dating industry is worth some £3 billion, and is set to only get bigger. However, as many who have tried dating apps and online services can attest, the experience can often feel like profits are being prioritised over partnerships.
What the above five companies are attempting is a radical rethink of how people search for love online. Can they do it? Only time will tell.
But for now, cupid has a new ally, blockchain. 💘