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[Slashdot] - Inside BitClout, the Dystopian Social Network With Big Backers and Vocal Critics


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An anonymous reader shares a report from Decrypt about BitClout, an ambitious decentralized social network that tokenizes Twitter personalities. Here's an excerpt from the report: At first glance, BitClout looks and feels like primitive mashup of Twitter and Robinhood, including a stream of messages and buttons to like or share what other people post. Anyone can create a profile and begin participating in the network by providing a phone number. But BitClout has already created 15,000 profiles based on popular Twitter personalities, including ones for Elon Musk and influencers in the cryptocurrency world -- all without asking anyone's permission. Diamondhands [the man behind BitClout who asked for anonymity even though his real identity is well known] says BitClout created the profiles to prevent impostors from creating fake accounts and squatting on them. Every BitClout account is also tied to a "coin" that rises and falls in value depending on how many people use it. Anyone can follow a given account -- as they would on Twitter or Instagram -- but the coin means they can also own an asset that is hypothetically tied to the person's public reputation. "What you get to do is monetize yourself," says Diamondhands. "All the positive things you put out in the world will cause people to like you and buy your coin. You can monetize pent up enthusiasm for you, and let fans ride the rocket ship with you." BitClout users who feel inclined to being bought and sold in this way can create a profile to earn a portion of the coins associated with their image. In the case of those Twitter personalities whom BitClout already added to the platform, they can claim their profile (and a portion of the coins associated with it) by tweeting that they have joined the network -- a requirement that conveniently provides free marketing for BitClout. [...] A tracking site called BitClout Pulse has already sprung up to track the value of more popular coins. BitClout's unusual twist on social networking extends beyond adding people without their permission. The project also stands out for its technical operations, which rely on dozens of autonomous blockchain-based nodes scattered around the world -- a very different architecture than Facebook or Twitter, which rely on centralized servers to keep their networks running. Every message or transaction is recorded to BitClout's blockchain, which Diamondhands describes vaguely as custom-built software similar to Bitcoin's, but with greater capacity for social networking functions. He says BitClout's code is open source and the team will soon publish it. All of this, says Diamondhands, will eventually lead to brand-name organizations hosting BitClout nodes that will display feeds tailored to various interests. For instance, he says, ESPN could run a node that displays a feed heavily populated with sports figures, while Politico might do the same with a focus on political leaders. But Bitclout's node structure also means it will lack centralized moderation policies like those found on platforms like Twitter or Facebook. Yes, we're on BitClout: bitclout.com/u/slashdotorg

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Read more of this story at Slashdot.


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