Recent turmoil surrounding the social news website Reddit, which saw many of its most popular communities taken offline, has led to speculation that a decentralised version could be created based on bitcoin's underlying technology: the blockchain.
In order to avoid a repeat of the blackout – sparked by the dismissal of popular staff member Victoria Taylor on 2 July – prominent venture capitalist Fred Wilson suggested that using the blockchain to underpin the new site would mean it would be immune to censorship or being shut down.
"We have wondered what the first killer app of the blockchain is going to be," Wilson wrote in a blog post. "Is it going to be personal finance (bitcoin), is it going to be peer-to-peer connectivity (mesh networking), or is it going to be something else?
"There's a chance that the answer to the struggle that Reddit is going through will also answer this question... The demand is there. The supply (technology) is there. And we've seen a bunch of teams working on this. I think one or more will get it right. And I think that will happen soon."
The decentralised nature of the blockchain would mean that Reddit would be hosted by the network of computers, rather than a centralised server managed by a company.
According to a former Reddit engineer, the site has previously looked into creating a decentralised version but plans have since been scrapped.
"Although I was publicly hired to work on cryptocurrency, we actually had a secret, higher priority goal: we wanted to decentralise Reddit," Ryan Charles wrote on Medium recently.
"I left my job at BitPay, the leading bitcoin payment processing company, to join Reddit. My primary goal at Reddit on day one was to decentralise Reddit."
A complete redesign of Reddit may still be a possibility in the fallout of the #RedditRevolt – as it has become known – after more than 200,000 people signed an online petition calling for Ellen Pao to step down as the CEO.
"We screwed up," Pao said in a statement. "Not just on July 2, but also over the past several years. We haven't communicated well, and we have surprised moderators and the community with big changes.
"The mods and the community have trust in me and in us, the administrators of Reddit."