What it is: A social networking question-and-answer app for mobile.
Who’s behind it: Led by the former founders of Kindr and gossip website JuicyCampus, Reveal has raised $1.5m from Boost VC and Digital Currency Group, among other investors.
Date launched: 16th June, 2015.
Basic summary: Reveal is a SnapChat-like social network that allows users to ask questions and answer via photo or video. The social network uses reveal coin, an asset on the Stellar network, as its “currency of attention”, allowing users a means to incentivize interaction.
CoinDesk rating: 4.5/5
Like most social networks, Reveal is a somewhat bizarre and often entertaining journey into mundane life, with users dedicating posts to everything from evidence of their omelette-flipping abilities to their thoughts on age-old questions about wealth and fame.
Perhaps most interestingly, the app happens to include a built-in cryptocurrency (reveal coin) that users currently earn based on the number of others they invite to the network (tracked through referrals) and how many likes their content receives. Reveal currently offers 100 RVL for every ‘like’, 1,000 RVL upon enrolment and 10,000 RVL for every new member a user invites, though these figures will change over time, the company says.
In the future, users will also be able to earn off the app’s ad revenue and, potentially, for new actions the company wants to incentivize. Reveal intends to keep 75% of its reveal coin as an investment in the future performance of the asset, which will gain in value as advertisers remove RVL from the system through purchases.
There will only ever be a total of 52bn RVL, with 13bn allotted to app users.
Using the service
Reveal’s signup process is quick and painless, requiring only a few simple steps.
To enroll, a user provides their first and last name and can opt to connect their Twitter account. Next, they are asked to connect an email account and phone number (verified by SMS message), then signup is complete.
Click the gallery below to view more images of the app in use:
Navigating the app
Once inside, users gain the ability to view and navigate posts in three streams, one devoted to friends, the other to trending posts and the final to all posts on the network.
True to its name, the video or photos appear with an exterior layer designed to be peeled away so users can ‘reveal’ the content within. Often, the outside of the posts takes shape with a messy combination of text, emoticons, colors and patterns offered by the app.
Following a bit of an exploration, users who want to make an appearance can click a blue-green arrow in the top-right corner, which will access the app’s camera.
From there, users click to take a photo or press and hold to take a video (which can easily be erased with a back click). Videos on the service are limited to 15 seconds, with those who film for too long seeing a red bar signal time is winding down.
Also available on this screen is the option to choose how long the photo or video stays accessible to potential viewers, with users being able to limit this window to 24 hours.
Once the interior content has been created, users are able to draft a cover slide (adding their own messy exterior), then click ‘post’ to share with others.
Asking a question
One of the most advertised features of app is the ability for reveal coin to be used to incentivize other users to answer questions.
For example, fans of Vine stars like the Miuccio brothers (three muscled beach dwellers with 18,000 YouTube followers and 732,000 Vine followers) are able to ask questions with reveal coin attached. The more reveal coin attached, the higher the message appears in the user’s inbox and the more likely they are, in theory, to post a response.
The incentive is also only for a limited time, as after 24 hours, those who post unanswered questions with reveal coin attached are returned the funds.
Users can also answer questions sent to them via the questions tab (accessed by clicking the three horizontal lines on the left side of the screen) or start Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions that invite other users to engage with them.
As with other popular social networks, Reveal users are able to follow others with relative ease, clicking their photo beneath the content to access their profile page.
In line with its mobile-first design, profiles showcase a picture and a one or two sentence ‘about’ section alongside metrics for how many followers the user has gained and how many posts they have made.
The profile also encourages engagement, with a prominent ‘ask’ bar displayed on the page.
- Content columns ease navigation
- Easy to use and friendly for non-technical demographics
- Elegant design enables feature-rich environment in mobile setting
- Format encourages creativity and engagement
- Impressive following ensures stream of new content
- Currently no way to withdraw or sell reveal coin
- Difficult to access reveal coin (requires setting up Stellar account)
- Some app crashes
- Lengthy reveal coin materials may turn off young user base
Reveal would be best considered a competitor to more established social networks as well as those seeking to appeal to users with ethereal features.
The app also bears some similarity to past attempts at cryptocurrency-based social networks, including projects such as GetGems and ZapChain, though these apps are focused on messaging and tech community discussion, respectively.
For all those who feel the bitcoin and blockchain industry is too serious, Reveal offers a compelling breath of fresh air.
The app positions itself as a precursor to what could be a new wave of projects that prioritize user experience and use cryptocurrency as a way to experiment within established consumer-facing business models.
Beautifully designed and as entertaining (or annoying) as its fervent users, Reveal also successfully piggybacks the anti-Facebook wave of social networking, using a new economic model as a way to show how cryptocurrency can create shared ownership within these platforms.
Today, however, Reveal arguably goes too far in putting cryptocurrency in the background, meaning enthusiasts won’t have much to explore on the app given its limited functionality.
Further, it remains unclear how effective the reveal coin model will be at exposing new users to the technology should the ability to trade the coins for real-world value continue to be cumbersome.
Disclaimer: This article represents the experience of the reviewer. Please do your own extensive research before considering investing any funds.
Author: Pete Rizzo