During the last week of March, several people in my network started to speak about a new social network called BitClout. I loaded up the website only to find myself looking at a page requiring me to enter a password.
Being quite familiar with crypto-based projects, this didn’t deter me. On the contrary, it piqued my interest further. Eventually, I found my way, and was faced with a familiar-looking interface.
For the unassuming eye, their first interaction with BitClout feels familiar. You scroll through a twitter-like feed with very similar mechanics. What stands out immediately is the dollar figures all over the place with strange buy options next to the handles.
It took me a while to figure out how they were calculating the prices of coins for each individual and how the network worked, BitClout is a network that directly rewards users and creators who have their own coins known as ‘creator coins.’
Anyone who makes a profile on BitClout has a creator coin linked to the profile, and people can buy/sell the coins. The coins have a built-in appreciating price auction (so they basically go up in value as more people buy and more coins are minted) and everyone on the platform has an incentive to share and promote the profile they support.
Personally I don’t think the financial mechanics are as important as what BitClout represents.
How Social Networks have Evolved
When one looks at how social networks have evolved over the years, the following is a high-level guide:
V 1.0: Sharing what you are doing right now with friends and family.
V 2.0: Algorithmically shared global content and interest groups.
Traditionally social networks have been controlled by a single company that benefits by capturing all the data and monetizing it. They also have complete control over who stays on the network, and they can censor or ban accounts with a single decision.
From my perspective, the next version of social networks are going to break away from centralized control. That is what interests me with what BitClout has built.
BitClout is a Peek into the Future
V 3.0: Decentralized social networks
A decentralized social network is one where no one company has control. Everything is committed to a blockchain, and anyone in the world has access to and can query the data.
BitClout is a prototype of what the future may hold. Developers can go to this link, and query any person’s account and get data on their activity.
The access to this data has attracted several developers and teams to start building on the platform. Some of my favourite examples of projects that have launched in just the last three weeks are:
- Subclout: This project is similar to Substack, where creators can send out newsletters to their followers and coin holders.
- Bitclouthunt: It’s similar to Producthunt and has a list of all the projects created on the platform.
- Bitswap: A payment gateway that enables people to convert their BitClout coins to Ethereum.
These projects have all raised funding, and the pace of development on the network has been amazing to see.
High Output Ventures has also launched a project in this space called Signalclout. At Signalclout, we are building a single source for truth for investors and product owners to get daily updates on what their known collaborators/investments are doing on the BitClout platform.
What the Future Holds
While Bitclout may not be the next iteration of what social networks will look like, it does give us an idea of what could be. For those who remember the early days of Orkut and Friendster – They were the first forays into the world of social networks.
Each of those networks had features and structures that have survived as part of today’s major social networks.
What has become more evident to me after my short exploration into this world is that decentralized social networks are inevitable. They open up questions such as:
- How will moderation of content work on a decentralized network?
- How will curation of global feeds work?
- How will the network work on getting consensus on how they want to improve the core network?
These are all fascinating questions, and over the next couple of years, we will most likely see a lot of innovation to solve them.
For anyone who is interested in learning more about the vision of the initial founding team, this document they have put together is a great place to start.
Omar Parvez Khan, Venture Partner
Omar Parvez Khan, Venture Partner