Serey: a Cambodian social media platform on the blockchain inspired by Friedrich Hayek

Serey is a new Social Media platform that specifically targets the Cambodian market. The country that saw nearly a quarter of the population decimated during the civil war of the 60’s and 70’s, the Khmer rouge regime, and the subsequent famine, has gone through rapid economic developments in the past two decades due to its friendliness to free markets. Accompanying this development is the adoption of new information technologies. One such technology is social media, and blockchain.

These two technologies are now combined into a social media platform called Serey. It rewards content creators, such as writers, for their creativity. The platform now has 400-500 users who all contribute by writing content ranging from short fictional stories to history, philosophy, and technology. Users can post any content they want. There is no central authority that can censor the posts in any way. The system is based on a democratic voting system in which every user can vote on articles. Dependent on the votes, the content creators are rewarded with the platform’s native cryptocurrency called Serey coins (SRY).

What does Serey stand for? 

The name of the platform, Serey (សេរី in Khmer), is derived from the Khmer word seripheap (សេរីភាព) which stands for liberty or freedom. The platform is built on the philosophy of liberty and is inspired by Friedrich Hayek’s theory of dispersed knowledge. Realizing that every individual knows just a fraction of what is collectively known and that our collective knowledge is therefore decentralized, Serey is looking to encourage the sharing of the unique information that individuals possess through the Serey platform. It wants to create an open platform where everyone is free to enter, to exercise their creativity without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity. The platform also encourages to engage in thoughtful, civilized discussions.

There was no such online platform in Cambodia yet. Cambodia, at this moment, also doesn’t have a culture of reading and writing. Serey is aiming to transform this so there is also an educational component to it.

We need to learn to dance with our feet, with ideas, with words, and, need I add that one must also be able to dance with the pen?

The mission statement of Serey is as follows:

“Rewarding self-expression and creativity.”

Why is Serey run on a blockchain?

The Serey blockchain allows the storage of content – actually only the actual text of the article and no pictures or videos to keep block sizes minimal – in a distributed manner. Anything written on Serey is stored on a blockchain that is shared among many other servers, called witnesses, that run an exact copy of the blockchain. This makes all content tamper-proof and censorship nearly impossible. This is in line with Serey’s belief that everyone should have the right to free expression.

In addition, a blockchain serves the people’s right to keep the fruits of their labour. Serey cannot take away any of its users Serey coins. All earnings are rightfully theirs and they can spend it in any way they want.

What are the features of Serey?

Serey is principally a fork of Steemit – another social media platform on the blockchain – and therefore essentially makes use of the Graphene technology that also powers Steemit and Bitshares. However, whereas Steemit is trying to create a one-size-fit-all approach with their platform, Serey is entirely dedicated to the people of Cambodia. They believe that regional differences require different user interfaces and functionalities that match the people’s cultural makeup and level of sophistication with blockchain technology.

Compared to Steemit, Serey has a different layout, a market place section, a Khmer language option, an free advertisement section, and a simplified reward system.

The Serey Decentralized Exchange is currently under development and will offer an English and Khmer language option.

In addition, the Serey Decentralized Exchange is currently being built in cooperation with developers close to Steemit and Bitshares. It will be a full-fledged decentralized exchange that is accessible by anyone, anywhere in the world. Users will then be able to trade Serey coins (SRY) for 15-20 other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dash, Bitshares etc.

Other features that Serey users can look forward to in the next six months are an online betting system, improvements of the market place section, an integrated chat feature similar to that of Messenger, and a mobile app.

If you are interested in Serey, please feel free to visit the website and to register for free. Most articles are written in Khmer, but English articles are welcome as well.

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How to change the world properly

Jordan Peterson (Prof. in Psychology & clinical psychologist) gives a great lecture on how young people should change the world.

Young people want, rightly, to change the world. But how might this be properly done? Dr Jonathan Haidt recently contrasted Truth University with Social Justice University. Social Justice U has as its advantage the call to social transformation. In this video, Peterson outlines why Truth is the proper route to societal improvement – and why that starts with the individual.

How and why Asians and Westerners think differently (part 4)

This is my final post on Richard Nisbett’s The Geography of Thought (2003). Here you can read part 1, part 2, and part 3. In this final part, I am listing some other experiments from the book that I have found interesting. What the findings of these experiments are saying about the differences between East-Asians and Westerners is that:

Easterners Westerners
Have preference to categorize objects based on thematic relationships. Have preference for common category memberships.
Have higher learning rate of verbs. Have higher learning rate of nouns.
When playing with their toddlers are teaching about social relationships. When playing with their toddlers are teaching about object labeling.
Language is thus constructed that to speak of an object or a class of objects depends on the given context. Language is thus constructed that it is easier to speak of an object or a class of objects.
Are more likely to set logic aside in favor of typicality, desirability and plausibility of argumentative conclusions. Are more influenced by logical operations of argumentation.
Have higher preference for proverbs with contradictions. Have higher preference for proverbs without contradictions.

On preferences for common category membership vs thematic relationships
Given three pictures – a cow, a chicken, and grass – and asked to group two of the pictures together, the Easterner is more likely to group the cow and grass together as cows eat grass. Westerners are more likely to group the cow and chicken together as both are animals.

Relationship judgement testWhen Koreans, European Americans, and Asian Americans were presented the illustration of two groups of flowers and another flower at the bottom that displayed characteristics of both groups in figure 1, 60% of Koreans thought that the target object was more similar to the group on the left as they share more family resemblances. 67% of European Americans thought the object was more similar to the group of the right, due to the principle that they have a straight stem.

Learning rate of nouns vs verbs
Western children learn nouns at a faster rate than verbs. East-Asian children learn verbs at about the same rate as nouns, and, by some definitions of what counts as a noun, at a significantly faster rate than nouns.

Teaching toddlers object labels vs social routines
Western parents are noun-obsessed, pointing objects out to their children, naming them, and telling them about their attributes. When American and Japanese mothers were asked to play with their babies using new toys, American mothers used twice as many object labels as Japanese mothers (“piggie,” “doggie”) and Japanese mothers engaged in twice as many social routines of teaching politeness norms (empathy and greetings, for example). An American mother’s pattern might go like this: “That’s a car. See the car? You like it? It’s got nice wheels.” A Japanese mother might say: “Here! It’s a vroom vroom. I give it to you. Now give this to me. Yes! Thank you.!”

Using “a duck”, “the duck”, “the ducks”, or “ducks”
European languages indicate whether you’re speaking about an object or a class of objects by saying “a duck”, “the duck”, “the ducks”, or “ducks”. But in Chinese and other Sinitic languages, contextual and pragmatic cues can be the only kinds of cues the hearer has to go on. The presence of a duck that has just waddled over from a pond to beg food, for example, would indicate that it is “the duck” one that is talking about, rather than “a duck,” “the ducks,” or “ducks.”

In Chinese, there is hence no way to tell the difference between the sentence “squirrels eat nuts” and “this squirrel is eating the nut” without context.

On convincingness of arguments
Korean, Asian American, and European American participants are asked to evaluate the convincingness of twenty arguments. An example runs as follows:

Consider the arguments below. Which ones seem to you to be logically valid?

Premise 1: No police dogs are old.
Premise 2: Some highly trained dogs are old.
Conclusion: Some highly trained dogs are not police dogs.

Premise 1: All things that are made from plants are good for health.
Premise 2: Cigarettes are things that are made from plants.
Conclusion: Cigarettes are good for health.

Premise 1: No A are B.
Premise 2: Some C are B.
Conclusion: Some C are not A.

The first argument is meaningful and has a plausible conclusion, the second is meaningful but its conclusion is implausible, and the third is so abstract that it has no real meaning at all. However, all three arguments are logically valid. Korean and American college students were presented arguments that were either valid or invalid and that had conclusions that were either plausible or implausible. They were also asked whether the conclusion followed logically from the premises for each argument.

Both Koreans and Americans were more likely to rate syllogisms with plausible conclusions as valid. As expected, though, Koreans were more influenced by plausibility than Americans. There is no question of this difference being due to the Korean participants being less capable of performing logical operations than the American participants. Koreans and Americans made an equal number of errors on the purely abstract syllogisms. The difference between the two groups would seem to be that Americans are simply more in the habit of applying logical rules to ordinary events than Koreans and are therefore more capable of ignoring the plausibility of the conclusions. East Asians, then, are more likely to set logic aside in favor of typicality and plausibility of conclusions. They are also more likely to set logic aside in favor of the desirability of conclusions.

Preference for proverbs with contradictions
Chinese students had a preference for the proverbs with contradictions, whereas Americans had a preference for the proverbs without them.

Examples of proverbs with contradictions:
“Too humble is half-proud.”
“Beware of your friends, not your enemies.”

Examples of proverbs without contradictions:
“Half a loaf is better than none.”
“One against all is certain to fall.”

This shows that Easterners prefer to think dialectically as they orient themselves towards the principle of change and the principle of contradiction or paradoxes in the world.