This article summarizes part five in the video series called Tiny Payments are a Big Deal. In this episode, Isaac Morehouse talks to Randy from Twetch, a social media application that runs on Bitcoin SV.
Introducing Randy, Twetch, and the Hash Wall
Randy is one of the co-founders of Twetch. Most BSV enthusiasts already know about it, but for those who don’t, it’s a social media platform like Twitter that utilizes micropayments. Users pay a small fee to upload content to the BSV blockchain and then receive micropayments for each interaction they receive. For a full video review of Twetch, sign up to Nanopay.cash and watch Isaac’s video breakdown of the app.
After introducing Randy, Isaac asks him to elaborate on a new feature he has noticed.
“When you go to log into Twetch, you click log in, and you see all these little numbers twirling for a couple of seconds, and then boom, you’re in,” Isaac says.
He found out that this is something like a captcha killer that utilizes proof of work and the user’s computer power to interact with the blockchain, making it too costly to brute force login or hack into Twetch. Randy says that while he’s not the brain behind the Hash Wall, he does believe it could be used on all major applications in the future. He explains that as Twetch grows in popularity, security is at the forefront of the minds of the developers.
Going back to the origins of Twetch, Randy explains that they tried to build on Ethereum, but they quickly realized it wouldn’t work. He claims they have broken the Ethereum network several times just by trying to run NFT drops on it. Given that Twetch puts both the data that users post as well as the interactions, they knew it would be impossible to do on Ethereum at scale, and they decided to build on Bitcoin SV.
What did Twetch want to improve about social media?
Randy says that one of the things that inspired Twetch was that platforms like Twitter have too much control over their users. He gives the example of Twitter kicking former U.S. President Donald Trump off the platform. He mentions other limitations, such as that Twitter doesn’t let you buy and sell usernames or do other things he assumes users might want to do.
As well as this, Randy mentions all of the data that gets deleted both by Twitter and users. By utilizing the blockchain, Twetch creates a time-stamped record of truth. This will allow them to keep a record of what was said, what really happened, what research came out, etc.
Bots, spam, and fake stuff on social media platforms were another thing the Twetch team wanted to improve on. It’s no secret that bot farms use platforms like Twitter and Facebook to promote political ideas, sow discontent in societies, and more. Micropayments could at least make this more costly.
Randy also reflects on the fact that the internet broke down the barriers to entry that used to be required to have your opinion heard. Whereas you’d previously have to write into a newspaper column or get onto a radio show, the internet broke down those walls, and a deluge of low-quality information flooded onto the platforms. In creating Twetch, they wanted to reintroduce a slight barrier to entry again, that being a micropayment or putting your money where your mouth is.
“That’s what I love about tiny payments,” Isaac responds to this insight. “You’re able to apply the same market forces that you get to in most of the economy to these areas where the individual values are so small,” he added.
Randy agrees, saying, “It’s like we went from zero to one hundred, and now we’ve got to find our way back to fifty.”
Why Twetch ultimately built on BSV blockchain
Isaac then asks Randy to explain more about why they ditched Ethereum and built Twetch on BSV.
Randy lists data on the blockchain, low costs, small payments, and frustrations with both BTC and Ethereum as key reasons. They decided that BSV would enable them to build what they wanted to with minimal friction.
What about BCH? Randy says that Roger Ver’s attitude and the involvement of Jihan Wu put him off. He says it never even really crossed his mind to build on BCH. That said, Randy says his opinion on Roger has changed and now sees him in a more positive light. He realizes that his opinion of Roger and others, such as Dr. Craig Wright, had been shaped by propaganda coming out of the BTC camp.
Why are data on the blockchain and tiny payments such great ideas?
Randy then looks back at a thread he wrote before building Twetch called ‘How to Fix the Internet Without Changing What You Love About It.’ In the thread, Randy identifies some problems with the internet and some potential solutions.
The ad-based model. Big corporations harvest or steal your data and either rent or sell it. This model is broken. Randy believes it can be solved by doing no ads and with a pay-to-play model like Twetch uses.
Centralized databases. It’s no secret that usernames and passwords are stored in large, centralized databases. This causes all kinds of security problems that the blockchain can fix. Randy gives the example of being held at gunpoint; this could be done to access one person’s account, but it couldn’t be done to access the database with everyone’s passwords in it because this database would not exist.
Centralized data storage. By now, many of us are familiar with large corporations like Twitter deleting users’ data en masse and erasing any trace of them. Posting to the blockchain is different. Randy says you can post to it using Twetch, which can subsequently kick you off the blockchain, but you can still take your data to another platform and pick up where you left off.
Monetization of users. Isaac then outlines the tragic business model of many of the internet’s big social media platforms. Many of them start with good intentions, but after raising capital and going public, they’re forced to package up their users and sell them in order to make money for inventors. This then causes them to become something they never intended to be. It’s a problem we can see all across the web. The key to fixing this is a totally different model whereby the platforms don’t monitor activity, don’t collect or sell data, and make their money from micropayments.
Isaac outlines his belief that micro and nano payments can even change the way human beings behave on a more general level. He believes they can foster a sense of ownership, personal responsibility, accountability, and individuality that is degraded in today’s world.
User base, growth, and what Twetch is at its apex
Isaac then asks Randy to tell him more about how Twetch is growing and what he ultimately sees it as being.
Randy answers that he wants Twetch to make it easy and seamless for people to connect and do business on the internet. He sees the integration of other platforms, such as users being able to showcase their portfolios, allowing people who are searching for certain skills to do so and to pay for those services on Twetch. “Everything that I do in my business, I want it to happen on Twetch,” Randy says, painting the ultimate vision.
Using the blockchain versus get rich quick with digital currencies
Earlier in the conversation, Isaac and Randy identified a critical problem with the internet; it fosters a sense of entitlement and the desire to get something for free. Isaac finds using the blockchain to combat this problem somewhat ironic, given that ‘crypto’ is one of the most extreme examples of the ‘give me something for nothing’ attitude.
Randy notes that even the mainstream media only talks about price, but very few cover what blockchain can actually be used for and how it can change the world. The media will cover stories about people such as Sam Bankman-Fried, who got rich in the industry, but they won’t cover much about what he actually did to earn that wealth.
“Maybe we should start advocating get rich slowly with micropayments,” Isaac says. He remembers that he has earned over $695 on Twetch and that there’s something psychologically rewarding about that, even if it isn’t a large amount of money in the grand scheme of things.
On a related point, both Randy and Isaac agree that anyone who builds a business on BSV or any other blockchain should immediately cash it out to preserve purchasing power and avoid the fluctuations in value that digital currencies are renowned for. This mindset is one of the key differences between people who want to build businesses and digital currency traders.
On Web3 and what it means
To wrap up, Isaac asks Randy for his thoughts on Web3 and whether or not it’s a real thing or just hype.
“It’s Twetch,” Randy says. He then elaborates on how Web3 will use elements of VR, digital real estate, artwork, businesses, NFTs, etc.
“Everything we have in real life will exist in VR,” Randy elaborates, painting a ‘Ready Player One’ picture of the world in the future. It’s either going to be owned by a few big companies, or everyone will own their own data, and micropayments are the key to ensuring it’s the latter.
Watch: CoinGeek New York presentation, The Path to BitCoin Adoption: How to Turn the Entire Web into Bitcoin Apps
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