Special Edition X12: From platform to protocol — BitClout rebrands blockchain as DeSo.
Howdy there friends!
Can we still call you all ‘clouters? Since many of us are likely still hanging out on bitclout.com, we’ll keep rolling with it ;). And for those of you who are new here, or are maybe just hearing about DeSo / BitClout for the first time today? Welcome 👋. We’re glad you’re here 🤗.
Tonight we celebrate the 100th issue of @BitsTODAY (counting special editions). For the past 5–6 months, we’ve been hard at work chronicling the development of what is now known as the DeSo blockchain from the beginning since its public launch. As we now know, almost two years of work went into the blockchain before any of us knew about “BitClout” or “bitclout.com.”
Since the public launch in late March, it’s been our pleasure to share this wild ride with you as we’ve charted the development of DeSo, bitclout.com, and the vibrant community that’s steadily growing on top of the two 🤠. In today’s special edition, we’ll explore the re-brand of BitClout → DeSo and all of the other updates + activities on bitclout.com that accompanied it. Here’s a quick look at where we’re headed 👇:
- The re-brand & re-structure
- The news beyond the re-brand
- The reception
Strike you as a solid agenda? Excellent — let’s dig in 🍴😋.
The re-brand & re-structure
To be honest? When @diamondhands said there was something big coming this week… we underestimated him. Our mistake. We won’t do it again 🙏.
In retrospect… it was inevitable™️! Things will never be the same.
Earlier today, BitClout changed forever. ICYMI, the BitClout blockchain will henceforth be known as ‘DeSo,’ short for decentralized social media🤯. To kick things off? Our fearless leader, @diamondhands got the party goin’ with a good ol’ fashioned clout storm ⛈️ :
More on points 2 & 3 later… let’s stick to the DeSo change here first. The re-brand was launched complete with a new website, deso.org, which includes much of the OG vision behind BitClout that many of us have become familiar with as well as more technical docs for folks interested in building on DeSo.
The site also includes a number of succinct, slick blurbs outlining the value proposition for DeSo as a highly scalable solution for social ⚡:
As part of the deso.org launch and his clout-storm announcing the launch, @diamondhands also had his own coming-out party, officially revealing his identity as Nader Al-Naji (just @nader on bitclout.com).
After this tear-jerking torch-passing farewell on bitclout.com, @nader took to Twitter a bit later in the morning to spread the good word to the general public 🗣️:
Beyond the name change, the vision and the why of what used to be known as the BitClout blockchain haven’t changed drastically. For the spark notes version, see below for more from Nader’s Twitter thread on the DeSo announcement. For the full version… read the vision docs on deso.org!
The name change is a savvy move for a number of reasons. For one, there’s been no shortage of confusion around what ‘BitClout’ really is. There’s a big difference between what was formally known as the ‘BitClout’ blockchain and one website that leverages said blockchain, namely bitclout.com. Rebranding the blockchain as DeSo separates the app from the blockchain, the platform from the product 👍.
Another reason this is important is that bitclout.com is mired in baggage (so much so that Spirit would definitely charge you extra for it) 🧳✈️. There’s a cacophony of commentators whose reflex is to yell “SCAM” anytime they hear the words “Bit” and “clout” in conjunction. Separating the blockchain from bitclout.com should help folks realize that there’s much more here than the celebrity creator coins that got pumped back in March 📈. There’s a blockchain that anyone can use to power decentralized apps and it comes complete with pre-integrated functionality that facilitates creating social tokens, seamlessly tipping other users 💎, NFTs, and much more.
In sum, bitclout.com is a mere proof of concept. Teams can now build decentralized Instagrams, Snapchats, Substacks, or entirely new applications we haven’t even dreamt of yet using DeSo 💡✨.
DeSo is also simply a better name for the blockchain and its ambitions than BitClout was. DeSo is positioned to be the de-facto blockchain for anyone building decentralized social media. So why call it BitClout, which is clunky and has a somewhat unhelpful vestige of a reference to Bitcoin, rather than something shorter and snappier that directly refers to ‘decentralized social media’! 👏
Perhaps most importantly? As @diamondhands / @nader himself noted, he and his team have come to realize that DeSo will benefit from a dedicated PR push and public-facing champions, much in the same way that Vitalik Buterin has become the public face of Ethereum. The community on bitclout.com has come to a similar conclusion over time, and we’re stoked we now have a public presence to rally behind 🔊🔊🔊:
As noted @JakeUdell, all of this is critical as there’s still a lot of convincing to do before more builders and teams flock to the DeSo ecosystem. Time to see what the v2 version of @diamondhands can do… Godspeed @nader! 😤
The news beyond the re-brand
Despite where we started this article — make no mistake, much of the news that accompanied the re-brand and deso.org launch is in many ways just as important. In his (perhaps final) thread, @diamondhands nodded at key updates, including the formalization of a DeSo foundation with $200M in treasury funds at the ready to support the DeSo ecosystem 💸:
The community, in particular BitClout devs and community project leaders, have long been advocating for a dedicated fund to support teams and individuals who are building on DeSo full-time. $200M to support the DeSo ecosystem is no drop in the bucket — while it will invariably be split across a variety of uses, it stands to reason that support for developers will be a healthy slice of the pie 🥧. All eyes (especially developers’) now rest on the “big announcements” about how treasury funds will be allocated 👀.
@nader and team also took steps to include other critical information on deso.org, including answers to questions we had raised previously in these very pages. For one, they released a spreadsheet that includes all $DESO transactions ever, as well as high-level detail on the concentration of $DESO owners. We learned that no single entity owns a disproportionate amount of the total $DESO supply.
Further, in past months the community has continued to wonder when the transition from Proof of Work to Proof of Stake would be made on DeSo. In an interview with Coindesk, @nader noted this would happen “by the end of the year.”
Of course, there are countless questions that still remain unanswered. If you thought we could go one issue without a wild @tijn appearance, think again:
Fortunately, @nader announced that the first formal DeSo town hall will be happening this week. Perhaps some of the answers to @tijn’s questions and more information about treasury funds will become available then:
So… how did all the DeSo degens (working name) enjoy and respond to the news? Well, let’s just say a lot of the day went down in a pretty typical fashion.
One of the first on-chain mentions of DeSo appears to have come from @Aikon, who was on top of BitClout -> DeSo update like white on rice 🍚, posting a screencap some of the backend changes that @LazyNina pushed through surrounding the re-brand. And naturally? He created an NFT from the post subsequently 😉.
The news also prompted a big-time nostalgia train, complete with lots of references to things that only true OGs would understand and that we’ll all probably be talking to our bewildered great-grandchildren about when we’re in our rocking chairs at the old folks home in 100 years 😂:
Of course, people absolutely APED into @nader’s coin, rocketing his new creator coin valuation above the legacy @diamondhands account 🦍:
Elsewhere, the DeSo announcement made plenty of noise among boomer media outlets 📰, which were quick to air splashy headlines about DeSo’s original $200m ‘raise.’ As far as their content goes, most of the articles were reasonably balanced, including fair treatment of the DeSo vision coupled with references to some of the past problems, e.g. the brouhaha surrounding reserved profiles in the spring. If anyone is looking for bear porn, there was one highly critical article on Protos.com that you can scope here 🐻. Otherwise, below are links and a few of the more salient quotes we found throughout the rest of the articles:
- Fast Company: BitClout founder ‘Diamondhands’ reveals himself and explains why social media as we know it is dead (read here)
“(Nader) says the $200 million raised will go toward setting up the DeSo Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to “taking the decentralized ecosystem to the next level. There’s a strategy to use the treasury to support everybody from developers to NFT artists to smaller creators and their coins.”
“The reason I was initially anonymous was I believed it would essentially inspire the community to decentralize everything and build more decentralized apps faster. The less that people rely on a centralized entity to call the shots, the more they feel empowered to improve the ecosystem themselves and build on top of it.”
- Decrypt.co: BitClout Founder Reveals DeSo, $200M Blockchain to Take on Facebook (read here)
- The Block.com: BitClout creator launches ‘Decentralized Social’ blockchain with $200 million in funding from a16z and others (read here)
Al-Naji said everyone who wants to use the DeSo blockchain or apps built on the blockchain has to hold the DESO token, the native cryptocurrency of the blockchain. “$DESO can be used to create a profile, create a post, buy social tokens, buy NFTs, give ‘diamonds,’ and more,” he said. “So overall, the goal is to drive as much activity on the DeSo blockchain as possible to increase the demand for $DESO the coin.”
CoinDesk: Nader Al-Naji (Formerly Known as ‘Diamondhands’) Unveils Long-Term Plan for BitClout Blockchain (read here)
In a Zoom interview, Al-Naji explained that BitClout was really a proof of concept for DeSo. “We wanted to essentially launch a demo app that showcases the features of the DeSo blockchain,” he said. “But what happened, which is kind of weird, is the BitClout app kind of exploded.
The DeSo blockchain was engineered with Al-Naji’s grand designs in mind. Each block on DeSoto holds 32 megabytes of information. By comparison, each block on the Bitcoin blockchain holds 1 MB. Al-Naji said he hopes that the platform will “scale decentralized social applications to 1 billion users.”
Finally, if you take anything away from all the activity and announcements surrounding DeSo today, the price of $DESO (previously $clout) probably shouldn’t top your list. bitclout.com OG, @100, articulated this quite well 💯:
Still, a handsome price bump doesn’t exactly hurt 😏. The re-branded $DESO currency saw strong price action in light of the day’s news, cresting above the $100 mark again after dropping as low as the $50s in recent weeks.
While the $DESO price has dropped a touch from its highs on the day, it still commands a market cap of roughly $1B again, making it one of the top 100 crypto projects in existence after only ~6 months since its public launch (LFG). Further, this of course still pales when compared to the multi-trillion-dollar social media industry spearheaded by companies like Facebook, Snapchat, and other social media titans. Plenty of room to grow 🌱.
Driving the price increase was north of $1 million in $DESO purchases on blockchain.com, the primary exchange that supports $DESO transactions. What really facilitated the big up day though? It’s the efforts of the core team and all the community members that stayed strong throughout the BitClout doldrums over the past weeks and months. There’s too many to mention; y’all know who you are… and y’all are the real MVPs 💕✨