‘Goldrush’ predicted for onchain social content

Plans to improve on today’s ‘free’ social media business model — in which services are paid for by selling users’ information to advertisers — have always raised a difficult question: how can you get people to start paying for something which they think of as free at the moment?

Many ideas involve users being rewarded for content that they post. No doubt those users would be happy. But without selling their data to advertisers, the audience would have to pay, somehow, to use the network. Bitcoin could make those transactions technically easier and cheaper, but is that enough? It looks like Bitcoin SV (BSV) entrepreneurs are starting to provide some real solutions.

A panel at a recent London Bitcoin Meetup was produced and chaired by Darren Kellenschwiler, an entrepreneur who’s working on his own BSV startup Probat.us which will connect ID and content, but independent of any particular platform. During Darren’s session, advocates of BSV-supported social media came up with some plausible answers to the question of why users would want to pay.

Twetch is a social media startup — a kind of homage to Twitter — where users have to pay BSV with Money Button to add content. But don’t think of that as paying for what you could get free on Twitter, said CTO Ben Izvirni. Instead, you’re paying a little — the BSV equivalent of maybe just a couple of pence or cents — to have your information stored on the blockchain immutably.

What’s more, even if you have to ‘pay to play,’ said Jonathan Aird another BSV entrepreneur and the founder of BSVnews.today, there’s an incentive to do so, because you can make some money back when people reward you for good content. Jonathan had already made about $2 on Twetch, he revealed proudly. “On the chain, the content is king and you are the content,” he said.

Finally, Maria Eugenia Lopez of Yours.org, another platform that rewards content creators, said that the quality of engagement was different when social media is powered by Bitcoin: as a user, you pay attention because you’re paying.

Ben was outspoken in his critique of current social media. The companies behind them “rarely give something back to society”. There are “too many clickbait articles” and “people are wasting their time”. What’s more, people “want to own their own data”, which a BSV-rewarded system makes possible.

So how to get from here to there? Ben said that Twetch is working on features that are common in existing social media, implying that new users should find themselves in a relatively familiar environment. And Twetch is thinking about encouraging new users by offering them a small amount of credit to start using the system, or offering credit to people for referring new users.

Jonathan Aird said he’s looking forward to a time when even high quality video can be stored on the BSV blockchain, and predicted “there’s going to be a goldrush in onchain social content.”

For Darren Kellenschwiler, the possibilities for BSV-powered social media are exciting because they mean that by requiring a small payment, “you’re paying for people’s attention”. The new platforms should succeed because their business models ”better reflect the reality that people’s time is worth something”. But Darren admits that when content-originators are rewarded when someone comments on their post, they are incentivised to create “call and response” posts, “baiting you into commenting.”

It’s too early to say how the new business models will evolve as they learn what users are prepared to create for the new generation of BSV social media startups. No doubt there will be a process of trial and error before the right mix of editorial costs and rewards is found. But in an echo of a familiar call in relation to Bitcoin from Jimmy Nguyen, Founding President of the Bitcoin Association, Ben insisted that it’s time for social media “to start growing up.”

Facebook likely not done with blockchain buy-outs

Facebook likely not done with blockchain buy-outs

It looks like Facebook will continue to make noise in the blockchain industry. The Information reports that, according to their sources, the social media giant is still considering multiple acquisitions in the sector.

Their reporting has revealed that Facebook has spoken with at least a dozen blockchain startups since they began investigating the technology. They may still spend tens of millions of dollars to acquire companies and talent.

The companies that we have a good idea that Facebook is co nsidering would all help with their effort to integrate a stablecoin payment system. They allegedly spoke to Basis, a stablecoin project shortly after their December shutdown. They also reportedly spoke with Algorand, a company working on scalable blockchains, and Keybase, an encrypted messaging app that already provides support for Bitcoin Core (BTC) and Zcash.

Each of these companies would contribute a key role in Facebook’s plan to roll out a stablecoin, for user to user transactions, for WhatsApp India.

Much like Facebook’s recent “acqui-hire” of the Chainspace team, one investor claims that Facebook is not seemingly interested in buying the work of these companies, but rather to bring on the employees, to help bolster their own blockchain effort.

Facebook executives have apparently said that they rather build their blockchain in house rather than turn to an existing blockchain, because they fear existing technology is unable to scale to the needs of their billions of users. This demonstrates an ignorance of the Bitcoin SV (BSV) blockchain, which has already proven it can scale massively on chain.

In January, BSV proved that it can both reach 103MB blocks, and also sustain 64MB blocks for a period of 24 hours. The bComm Association has also made their plans clear to scale to 1GB blocks sometime this year, and who knows how much potential there is beyond that?

Facebook’s scaling needs are indeed massive, but BSV is already proving capable to the task. As it piles on more evidence of its ability to meet the needs of big businesses, expect BSV to be the only serious option for enterprise applications.

Telegram's resistance to Russian crackdown takes paper wings

Telegram’s resistance to Russian crackdown takes paper wings

In the middle of its Initial Coin Offering (ICO), Russian courts attempted to have social media platform Telegram turn over encryption keys for the application. When Telegram refused, citing customer privacy concerns, Russia ordered the company to be blocked in the country, but, as any dedicated entrepreneur would do, Telegram’s founder Pavel Durov and the entire community found ways around the system, and many began protesting the court’s action.

Telegram fans began launching paper airplanes (the airplane is Telegram’s logo) at the headquarters of Russia’s security agency, the Federalnaya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti (FSB). The airplane antics have resulted in several protestors being arrested, but this hasn’t stopped the movement. Durov is now pushing for extended protests, requesting that protestors fly their airplanes at the FSB building en masse at a specific time.

The ordeal began on April 13, when a Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitri S. Peskov, argued for the necessity of the information, telling the court, “There is a certain legislation that demands certain data to be passed to certain services of the Russian Federation.” The courts agreed and Judge Yulia Smolina ordered the ban, saying that it will remain until the FSB’s demands are met.

Durov said on his personal Telegram channel, “For 7 days Russia has been trying to ban Telegram on its territory – with no luck so far. I’m thrilled we were able to survive under the most aggressive attempt of internet censorship in Russian history with almost 18 million IP addresses blocked.”

In a separate post following the ban, Telegram explained, “We don’t do deals with marketers, data miners or government agencies. Since the day we launched in August 2013 we haven’t disclosed a single byte of our users’ private data to third parties.” This was followed by a post by Durov, who said, “To support internet freedoms in Russia and elsewhere I started giving out bitcoin grants to individuals and companies who run socks5 proxies and VPN. I am happy to donate millions of dollars this year to this cause, and hope that other people will follow. I called this Digital Resistance – a decentralized movement standing for digital freedoms and progress globally.”

About four days ago, protestors began targeting their airplanes for the FSB building. It didn’t take long for police to show up, dispersing the crowd and making arrests. One of those arrested was Maria Alyokhina of Pussy Riot. Alyokhina and the other members of the all-girl band have found themselves in hot water with the police several times for controversial lyrics and inappropriate performances. She appeared before a judge, booked for “blocking a public passageway” and was released.

This past Monday, Durov was on his Telegram channel, urging activists to support the cause. He posted, “If you live in Russia and support free internet, fly a paper plane from your window at 7 PM local time today. Please collect the airplanes in your neighborhood an hour later – remember, today is Earth Day. My thanks to all the members of the #Digitalresistance movement. Keep up your great work setting up socks5-proxies and VPNs and spreading them among your Russian friends and relatives. They will be needed as the country descends into an era of full-scale internet censorship.”

Telegram has become the main platform for cryptocurrency-related conversations, as well as, in some cases, transactions. Hopefully, there will be a resolution that is amicable to both sides in the near future.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.
Social media crypto ban ‘only temporary

Social media crypto ban ‘only temporary,’ LinkedIn’s Eric Ly says

Eric Ly was an expert in software before creating LinkedIn with a small group of like-minded individuals while studying at Stanford in 2002. He worked at companies like IBM and Steve Job’s NeXT before launching the social media platform for professionals, which was sold to Microsoft in 2016 for $26 billion. He left LinkedIn in 2006 and launched an app for events in 2007. The entrepreneur is now involved in initial coin offerings (ICO), developing a “reputation system” to help investors make solid decisions when it comes to moving around cryptocurrencies. He recently met up with the folks at CoinTelegraph and gave his take on the current social media ban on cryptocurrency-related promotions.

Facebook and Twitter recently banned ICO ads from their social media platforms, mainly due to fears over backlash if something were to go wrong (such as a $13-million pyramid scam). Said Ly, “I believe that these kind of platforms are conservative protective approach for themselves. Recently, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been asking a lot of questions and subpoenas for information from people and companies. I believe that is a protective measure from a lot of these companies to not engage in new form of not advertising, but activities by ICOs, they probably want to avoid potentially uncertain interactions with SEC.” He added that he doesn’t believe the bans will be permanent, and that they’ll be lifted once regulatory issues are better defined.

Ly said that he doesn’t think a decision has yet been made regarding allowing cryptocurrency and ICO ads on the LinkedIn platform, but that it might be possible down the road. As with Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn needs to protect itself, and he suggests that any move by the platform would be similar to that of the other two social media giants.

Ly’s cryptocurrency trust protocol is called Hub. The idea being the application is to put trust and reputation information on the blockchain, making it accessible to everyone. It would be portable from one marketplace to another, allowing for anyone to use the data. He explains, “It’s sort of like a meta social network if you will…It’s underlying many different kinds of applications, both new and existing. So we’re not necessarily building one social network. We’re trying to enable a trust layer that can work across many different social networks and many different marketplaces…”

Given Ly’s history of coming up with award-winning solutions, Hub could turn out to be a highly useful tool for the cryptocurrency community.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.