Online dating is a huge industry. Just last year it pulled in an estimated $3 billion in the U.S. alone, and is growing year on year.
There are lots of reasons for this popularity. In today’s busy world, opportunities to meet people in the course of our daily lives can be few and far between. Dating sites and apps are a way to cut through all the fluff and get in touch with the right person.
We’re bombarded with ads from various dating services, each claiming to have figured out the ultimate algorithm to ensure users are linked up with ‘the one’.
And yet, in spite of all the hype, the results aren’t all that encouraging. The Pew Internet Study showed that less than 1 in 4 online dates actually result in a relationship. Even those that do get lucky online are 28% more likely to break up in the first year than couples that met offline.
Fortunately, there could be a solution. Blockchain technology allows us to build systems that work in different ways, and avoid many of the pitfalls involved with centralized dating apps.
First, it’s important to take a look at why it’s so hard to find love online.
The problem with online dating
One of the main issues with online dating services is the algorithms they use to match people. As mentioned above, these are often enthusiastically promoted as a ‘secret weapon’ — the perfect formula to set up hopeful singles with the person of their dreams.
Unfortunately, the science behind them isn’t quite so optimistic. Research has found that these algorithms are generally not much better than pure random chance when it comes to successfully matching people. Companies tend to keep the exact details of their algorithms secret, and there’s not a whole lot of evidence that they really work.
Perhaps this could account for why only about 5% of Americans who are married or in a long term relationship actually met online.
It could also be the issue of harassment. According to the Pew study, about 42% of women report having faced some kind of harassment on dating sites, which is certainly enough to discourage people. Unsolicited messages and pestering are big turn-offs.
One other common objection to online dating is the safety aspect. It’s all too easy to create a fake profile, use misleading photos, and just plain lie about yourself. Nobody wants to go on a date with someone only to find that their profile photo was actually taken twenty years ago.
There’s a lack of trusted intermediaries in online dating, compared to real life where people commonly share a few mutual friends with their partner. Users are set up with people they’ve likely never met and know virtually nothing about, and that breeds an atmosphere of mistrust.
That’s probably why 46% of people who haven’t tried online dating say that a big reason is worries about scams.
The blockchain solution
With so much to worry about, what’s the solution? Well, one answer could be to stop relying on algorithms that don’t work, and instead go back to the time-tested method of using our friends.
That’s what Ponder wants to do. They’re a new blockchain-based platform that aims to decentralize matchmaking and change online dating for the better.
Because blockchain is decentralized, it takes the power away from the kind of third-party mechanisms that dominate online dating services. Instead, the ability to bring people together will rest with the users of the app.
In the app, users can match-make between their friends and contacts, suggesting matches between people they think are well-suited. If the couple decide they like each other, they’ll each pay a fee of $10, and the matchmaker will be rewarded half of this. The app will use its own tokens, based on the ECR-20, to manage payments and participation.
There’s more, too. It’ll be possible to build groups based around shared interests and values. For example, users could create a group for people who like to go hiking, or who enjoy philosophy.
Couples matched by their friends’ intuition are much more likely to trust each other and be optimistic about their future than random strangers thrown together by a computer.
And the results so far are promising. In the beta version the match rates for couples suggested by friends were 6 times higher than the industry average. It was also possible for users to suggest matches between people they didn’t know — and in this case the match rates were still 3 times higher than the industry average.
The platform will draw on the wisdom and judgment of friends and contacts – real people – instead of dubious algorithms. It’s a fresh take on online dating, and one that could change the industry forever.
The publisher of bitcoiner.today is not responsible for the opinions or recommendations expressed by its publishers. Investments in ICO's are high-risk investments, you may lose all or part of your investment. Consult with an investment specialist before you act.
The difficult thing is not to learn, the difficult thing is to know how to teach.
Editor and coordinator of the free book “La era de las BLOCK punto COM”
CEO of bitcoiner.today