The primary use for social media is for users to stay connected. We’re usually surrounded by the big LIFT (LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter) in India. However, there is an entire subterranean layer of alternate social networks that have popped up for specific audiences. This series aims to shed light on four of these AltSocial platforms
That social network that allows you to bet on people’s reputation.
On March 8th 2021, I was researching for a session on Memes. In my research about the subject, I started reading about DogeCoin: A cryptocurrency made as a joke back in 2013 based on the Doge meme.
After the bull run this month, the market cap of DogeCoin is $34 Billion.
This rabbit-hole went deeper including learning about Indian coin exchanges, what cryptocurrencies actually are, the way mining works and why Elon Musk bought $1.5 Billion worth of Bitcoin early this year.
Whilst discussing this with a few friends, a millennial called Manan introduced me to BitClout. As millennials go, he kinda knew what it was about wasn’t completely sure.
What is BitClout?
Created by a bunch of techies (like most of these things are), BitClout is a decentralised social network that allows users to speculate with cryptocurrencies (with Bitcoin as source) on online personalities built from the ground up on their own custom blockchain. The platform itself mimics the structure and feel of Twitter. The core selling point is built around the power of reputation – based on speculation.
Essentially, its Twitter + the allure of a dollar based value system instead of followers.
What is it like?
I’m biased towards clean, black & white visual interfaces and the first time I used the platform, I really liked it. But then again, that’s like buying a Lamborghini Aventador SVJ and when someones asks you what it’s like, you say, ”It’s white”.
Also, I don’t really know how to judge social networks so I’ll do what I can to dissect it:
- User Interface: Mixed bag. I was sold on the B&W colour scheme immediately. Makes images, display pictures and the red colour of the ‘like’ heart pop well. They don’t have an android app although I do think an iOS app exists. Since its built on an evolving blockchain backend, the transitions might seem a bit slow. On the phone or the desktop, the website is fairly similar and functions the same way. Also, since it involves some blockchain and crypto magic, logins are not the typical ID/Password you’re used to. They give you a phrase which is a bunch of words put together in a sequence (usually lacking coherence). That’s your access key. Keep it safe. Once you lose it – no forget passwords.
- People: This could just be based on the fact that there are fewer users, but people are actually nice. Like Twitter, lot of users put out their thoughts and queries out there into the void for others to respond to. Also, there are a bunch of celebrities like Elon Musk, Kim K and JakePaul on it. Pretty sure these profiles aren’t really ‘real’ and on checking, this is the message I got.
- Creator Coins: The sauce of this platform is the creator coins. When you join, your profile has the equivalence about $3 worth of your coins. Yet to figure out the hows and whys – but that’s what it is. Since like most social networks, this one also works on the network effect, users can trade each other’s coins and based on (at least I think it works this way):
Your reputation (within and beyond the app)
The engagement you have on the app
The rarity of your coin.
This is what my, uh, shareholders (coinholders?) look like:
There is some. Well, more than some.
According to a recent LinkedIn Post by Paul V,
“Many fear that monetizing an individuals’ likeness could warp the social dynamics behind social media, where social interactions are now explicitly designed for financial gain as opposed to genuine connection.”
Makes a lot of sense. There are some other reasons why users are skeptical:
- Only incoming, no outgoing – The primary method to buy additional BitClout tokens that allow you to buy other Creator coins within the app is Bitcoin. However there is no way to cash-out your Bitcoin once in. James Prestwich said on an interview call with CoinDesk:
“There’s no venue to sell BitClout. You can put money in but you can’t get money out.”
- Nobody found the founder – In line of Satoshi Nakamoto of Bitcoin, the founders of BitClout hide under pseudonyms. The lead creator goes by the name DiamondHands and this has led many to believe that this ‘crypto based social media experiment’ will fall like a pile of cards soon.
- Asli/nakli – There is much to say about the way the social network’s role in creating and representing celebrities. Celebrity accounts and various crypto denizens with preloaded accounts already will find that they also have a certain amount of their tokens set aside for them now. The amount was set proportional to their followers, according to Diamondhands. There were about 15,000 pre-loaded accounts, all based on Twitter.
It’s too weird. And I kinda like it. As long as you’re not putting any of your own Bitcoin into the platform or giving away too much info, it’s an interesting experience. You get to talk to some nice people. They’re usually quick to respond and the vibe of conversations is usually around investments, financial independence, cryptos and sometimes ‘what 3 things you’d take to a deserted island’
Try it. Whilst you’re at it, read about cryptos in general.
See you next week.
The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.