Twitter's Bluesky Project Hires Zcash Developer To Lead Initiative

August 20, 2021 01:00 PM
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Twitter’s “bluesky” project has announced hiring Zcash developer Jay Graber to lead the initiative. Bluesky was revealed in 2019 with the aim of building a “decentralized standard for social media.”

When Jack Dorsey revealed the effort, he described an ambition for Twitter to “ultimately be a client of this standard.” Dorsey explained that Twitter consciously decided to pursue a centralized model for its development. However, according to Dorsey, “a lot’s changed over the years” and the social media platform is “facing entirely new challenges centralized solutions are struggling to meet.”

For example, “centralized enforcement of global policy to address abuse and misleading information is unlikely to scale over the long-term without placing far too much burden on people.” The value of social media is also moving away from “content hosting” and shifting towards “recommendation algorithms.” The algorithms are also “proprietary, and one can’t choose or build alternatives. Yet.”

However, blockchain offers “decentralized solutions for open and durable hosting, governance, and even monetization.” Bluesky would either create a new blockchain network or utilize an existing solution. Twitter’s interest in the effort is to allow the firm to “access and contribute to a much larger corpus of public conversation.”

In January, bluesky published a review of existing decentralized systems, such as ActivityPub, known for hosting the social network Mastodon. The project’s new lead, Jay Graber, worked as a Software Engineer at Zcash Company, the firm behind privacy-focused BTC fork, Zcash. 

In June, Dorsey tweeted about an app for secure messaging via BTC scaling solution Lightning Network, Sphynx. In an exchange with a user who wrote “Build [Lightning Network] into BlueSky or Twitter please and thank you,” Dorsey responded “[o]nly a matter of time.”

Last month Dorsey discussed, for the first time publicly, plans for integrating BTC into Twitter. Dorsey described decentralization-related tech as a cornerstone of his ambitions for Twitter and described a vision for BTC to facilitate commerce on the social media platform. On Wednesday, BTC layer-2 Lightning Network-based social media platform Zion was launched

Twitter’s suspension of President Donald Trump’s account in January is a likely example of what Dorsey was referring to when he described challenges in scaling content policy. Conceivably, a decentralized network wouldn’t allow any single entity to regulate content. Regardless of Dorsey’s motivation for embracing decentralization for Twitter, the technical rails for doing so remain unclear at this point.

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