005. “I love serendipity, my favorite word.”

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005. was curated by nathanmaton, written & edited by NVO , Bits designed by Dripcult Guest bit design (intro) by WilliamLaurent (all undervalued). ASG pretended to look busy.

Hi friends,

Welcome to edition 005 of @BitsTODAY. Our first four editions were a wild, adventurous ride across the world of BitClout, in which we kept you up to date with the latest memes, new creators on the platform, and much more. And we’re not here to stop the fun now.

In that spirit, let’s take a quick tour across the Clout-iverse before we dive into something special. Because as usual, between whispers of Scooter Braun’s imminent arrival, the great ascendancy of @craig into the top 3, and general bacchanalia on a great day for cryptocurrencies across the board, well… there’s lots to cover! 🐋

Guest bit design (intro) by WilliamLaurent

Diamondhands’ drops 💎:

  1. @Bitnews tells us that Bitclout is on pace to record another 1M likes across the platform today alone. This impressive stat comes amidst growing attention from the boomer journos; following NY Mag yesterday, Business Insider released a piece today on “An influencer stock market… tied to the reputation of icons like Elon Musk, Chamath Palihapitiya, and Justin Bieber.” (see here) Of course, we know it’s much more than that.
  2. Re: platform expansion, we also loved this post from @kurz yesterday. If you couldn’t tell from our first few editions, we’re quite partial to a few tongue-in-check laughs.

3. And what do all the new users joining the platform actually think about the current state of BitClout? @melodaysong summed it up well: “My global feed is like 2007 instagram and twitter had a baby.” We couldn’t have framed it better ourselves.

*Drum role please 🥁*

Now, we’re excited to release a special feature, which we hope will be the first of many longer-form interviews with important members of the clout community. We’re thrilled to present a conversation between @BitsTODAY and none other than @sigil himself. You heard that right.

Without further ado, here’s the write-up of @nvo and @sigil’s conversation.

It’s about 4:50 am on the West Coast. I tweaked my back yesterday (not sure how, maybe just from hammering away at my keyboard writing @BitsTODAY too much), and I woke up in pain and couldn’t fall back asleep. “Oh well, might as well get started for the day” I thought to myself, as I gingerly rolled out of bed.

When I popped out of the shower a while later, I saw that @sigil had not only accepted my discord request for the AMA, he’d actually pinged me:

“Wassup”

It turns out getting up before dawn was quite serendipitous — he’d be tied up for the rest of the day. And could maybe spare 15 minutes. Right now.

When we first hopped on our Discord video chat, @sigil was rousing his teammates @aryanm and @venkat, beckoning @venkat to man escrow for the morning. In true start-up scrum fashion, the team is working out of @sigil’s house in Toronto building @BitSwap, which is on-pace to be the first automated application for a process that has otherwise been confined to OTC markets with human escrow intermediaries.

The name of the game? Exchanging BitClout for other cryptocurrencies.

Surprisingly, this is actually @sigil’s first month working in crypto. He got introduced to the space by way of NFTs; he and @venkat built cooldoge.com, which turned them on to web3 and the exponential sea-changes happening in the creator economy.

@sigil put it simply for me: “I just love to create stuff.” As an example, he shared that he loves rock climbing. When COVID first hit and gyms closed down, he started building a rock-climbing wall in his garage immediately. One day after he started building it, he was climbing on it.

@sigil’s internet presence itself started on YouTube. Growing up, he had trouble speaking, especially when pressed to improvise on the spot. To navigate this challenge in school, he made pre-recorded videos (often riffing off of and engaging with famous OG YouTubers) for presentations. This allowed him to gain facility in video editing and with video editing software, which in turn helped him break into deeper tech and development applications.

@sigil and @BitSwap co-founder @aryanm dove into their first hackathon in 2019, building a text summarization bot that leveraged machine learning. @sigil notes that @arynam is the more technical of the two and is leading the build and development of @BitSwap.

When asked what about @BitSwap excites him, he shared the following key questions he often asks himself:

“What are the gaps in knowledge and my current abilities that would prevent me from building out an idea that I come up with? For instance, would I be able to build a company right now?”

For all intents and purposes, it sure looks like it.

So how did @sigil, @aryanm, and @venkat land on BitClout?

For one, they got to BitClout hyper-early as far as the platform is concerned (3–4 weeks ago). After reading the white paper, @sigil immediately saw the potential and went all-in.

“I’m very public with my projects. I was on my social media telling all my friends to get on BitClout and come work with me.”

At first, the goal was simple: Make a killing.

@sigil and a group of 20+ friends were each running 5+ accounts on the platform, posting day and night to make sure that at any given moment in time, something on BitClout’s global feed was coming from their consortium of clouters. @sigil turned $130 into $50,000+ in his first week, through a combination of his own coin’s value growth, investing in his friend’s new accounts as well as other growing accounts on the platform.

As to how him and his team landed on developing @BitSwap, @sigil says that they saw an obvious need. OTC markets to exchange BitClout for other cryptocurrencies or USDs were popping up organically, validating the demand for a product to facilitate these types of transactions. @sigil and team saw multi-million dollar flows in these OTC markets, which rely on a trusted human escrow to mediate transactions between buyers and sellers. Plus, these OTC markets invariably breed bad actors.

The question was not would something like @Bitswap come on-line (BitSwap’s website is here in case you’re not on BitClout). It was just a matter of when. @sigil says an early, trusted advisor actually tried to steer them away from building @BitSwap, as he cautioned that major exchanges like Coinbase (also a BitClout investor) and Gemini would create their own BitClout exchanges.

When I asked @sigil how he navigated moving forward with the project regardless, he said that ultimately, “you just have to use your own judgement.”

While Coinbase equity will list on public stock exchanges tomorrow for the first time (tracking towards a $100B valuation), @sigil and team might just be able to tell their grandchildren that they beat this giant to market at their own game. Once @BitSwap does go broad-market, we’ll be curious to see how readily it scales. If BitClout continues to grow exponentially, who knows how much money might be flowing through these types of exchanges in a month or a year? And how fast transactions can be processed?

For now, the amount of progress made by the @BitSwap team in short order is staggering. On day one, @sigil and team built their website for @BitSwap in an hour. @BitSwap’s BitClout account was verified within twelve hours too, and has since hit a market capitalization of ~$1M with 1,000+ users in queue for beta-testing.

And this break-neck pace hasn’t let up. On Sunday, only a few days post-launch, posts were hitting the global feed purporting that the first exchanges had successfully been completed.

Further, as of this writing, @sigil and the swap-squad plan to grow their team to include 7 full-time members by end of day.

Feverishly working on @BitSwap has of course come with some drawbacks; @sigil notes his asthma is flaring up and he’s been sick a lot considering how hard the team is grinding. He’s also been open and transparent in the past about struggles with anxiety. But the swap-squad isn’t letting up, and has plans to share new releases in the coming week.

What’s next for @sigil beyond @BitSwap? For one, he’s excited to continue building his YouTube presence. If you’d like to give him a follow, here’s a video of that aforementioned rock climbing wall.

He also likes penny boarding, doing calisthenics (I watched him do some chin-ups; I couldn’t join considering the state of my back), and I got to meet his cat, xiao hui.

What I personally will take away from my conversation is another question @sigil notes has always interested in, namely: “Why do people do things the way they do?”

As I reflect on my own work, I realize a lot of it is driven by patterns I’ve simply fallen into, many of which are driven by environment, culture, norms around how we work and live, etc.

@sigil meanwhile epitomizes a few great things that are particular to the revolutions happening in the creator economy. Beyond the bleeding edge disruption, he’s setting a strong example of building (i) thoughtfully (ii) in public (iii) and being open and honest while he does so. And there’s power in that, regardless of whether @BitSwap will be around for another week or year.

Other Notables From The Day

We couldn’t resist. Here’s a few more quick hits from across the clout that caught our eye today.

  1. @wolfofwallst is making a massive comeback on BitClout; he’s been rallying his coin price all day. As of this writing, @quaaludes is still available.
  2. The legendary @naval was on Clubhouse last night sharing his perspective on BitClout. While he said he won’t join until he thinks the platform has maturated more, i.e. once there’s open source code, an off-ramp, etc. he did acknowledge the massive opportunity, especially as competitors to BitClout come online: “Whoever wins will not only create something like a better Twitter, but also an Instagram, Tiktok and Clubhouse.”
  3. Finally, we’re stoked to see that charity-type concepts are popping up on BitClout, too. The future of charitable giving that still includes a form of ownership could be revolutionary. Maybe accounts like @charityclout will help celebs who want to give back with their newfound clout weath. Special thanks to @alinaferry for the tip.

That’s a wrap, clouters. What did y’all think of this special edition? As we ramp up the @BitsTODAY project, we’re hungry for your feedback and insights. Plus, we’d love to know who the top creators you’d want to see interviewed are. Happy whale fishing!

Until next time,

The BitsTODAY gang.

BitsTODAY, a nightly digest of far-out experiments, sick posts, general absurdity, and everything in between happening in the world of DeSo & BitClout… rn.