Today’s installment of The Daily is about building more than bickering, though we’ll squeeze in a little of the latter before we sign off. First though, let’s start by considering the latest projects being proposed within the crypto space: a tokenized security platform and a social media network that doesn’t leak data.
Also read: South Korea’s Largest Crypto Exchange Sold to Singapore-Based Consortium
Nasdaq Plots Tokenized Security Platform
It’s being reported that Nasdaq, the giant U.S. exchange operator, is plotting a new platform dedicated to tokenized securities. The move would enable projects to offer STOs in a regulated environment so as to accord to U.S. law. As popularity for ICOs has waned, exacerbated by fears that so-called utility tokens may in fact be unregistered securities, U.S. projects eyeing tokenization have been left with no choice but to go down the STO route. It’s believed that Nasdaq is in talks with blockchain firm Symbiont to create its own platform that would enable tokenized securities to be listed and traded.
Social Media Backlash Intensifies
There’s been a storm brewing all year on social media, with wave after wave of censorship and data leaks hastening the exodus from Facebook and its ilk. Users intent on jumping ship have been left with a quandary though: where to go? We’ve reported on some of the Bitcoin Cash-based initiatives, as well as Twitter alternatives such as Gab and Mastodon. Blockstack has now launched a $1 million challenge to build decentralized social networks, writing: “Your data and privacy are being exploited and monetized by today’s social networks. It’s time for a change. We deserve the right to control our data.” They add:
It’s time for a new breed of social networks – where power is taken back from a single authority and control is returned to you, to me, to all of us. It’s time to decentralize social networks.
10 teams will be encouraged to devise social networks that don’t leak data. A similar venture was also launched recently by web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee. While these initiatives aren’t going to topple the social media giants any time soon, greater choice for pro-privacy consumers can only be a good thing.
Vitalik Buterin Sets the Record Straight
Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin generally avoids wading into Twitter spats, but felt obliged to correct several of the inaccurate claims Nouriel Roubini made in the week of his similarly inaccurate U.S. Senate testimony. “Vitalik Buterin was the ringleader – together with Joe Lubin – of the criminal pre-mining sale/scam that created ether. They stole 75% of the ether supply and became instant ‘billionaires’ of fake wealth,” tweeted Roubini, whose timeline has become increasingly manic as the week’s progressed.
“I never personally held more than ~0.9% of all ETH, and my net worth never came close to $1b,” responded Buterin. “Also, I’m pretty sure there are no criminal laws against pre-mining.” Then, on Friday, as Roubini doubled down on his bug-eyed crypto rambling, Buterin again stepped in to dispel the notion that bitcoin and ethereum maximalists are at war, while giving a shout out to bitcoin cash proponents.
Have you learned about BCH yet?
The space is actually great fun once you get to know it.
— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) October 13, 2018
What are your thoughts on today’s news tidbits as featured in The Daily? Let us know in the comments section below.
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Over the past few months, Bitcoin Cash developers have been creating applications that are similar to social media and forum platforms like Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter. Anyone in the world can use these Bitcoin Cash-powered applications such as Memo, Blockpress, Keyport, and Matter which offer censorship-resistant versions of these social media giants.
Also read: Facebook Purge Continues: 559 Pages, 251 Accounts Removed Ahead of US Elections
Onchain Social Media Apps, Forums, and Messenger Services
Censorship on large social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter has been rampant this year. On Oct. 11, news.Bitcoin.com reported on Facebook purging hundreds of pages and profiles that regularly posted about alternative news and libertarian views. The aggressive censorship has caused many people to start searching for more decentralized platforms that allow free speech. What they might not know is that the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) ecosystem already has a few applications that are similar to the dominant online forums and social media platforms. The difference is they are free of censorship and every action is recorded onchain.
Memo.cash is a platform that is comparable to Twitter, but posts cannot be selectively removed by anyone as they are all stored onchain. Memo allows users to post text, animations, pictures, URLs, and videos while also setting a custom profile. Much like Twitter, there is a cap of how many characters can be used per post as Memo only allows 217 characters at a time. A feature that sets Memo apart from Twitter and other social media platforms is the ability to tip posts using BCH. This allows content creators to reap the benefits of their work rather than giant corporate entities.
Memo has been a popular application amongst the BCH community and there have been thousands of onchain posts since the platform launched. For instance, one individual started recording every verse in the King James Bible. One setback for Memo users is because all posts are hashed into the BCH chain using an OP_Return transaction, they cannot be deleted. Memo also offers a community and topic section so users can discuss books, film, news, and even subjects that are considered taboo or politically unacceptable. The application also allows users to follow certain profiles so they can stay up to date with the most interesting people who post on Memo.
The application Blockpress is a mixture of Twitter with a Facebook feel. The customization of Blockpress profiles gives the website a Facebook-like look alongside the application’s user interface. The amount of characters a user can post is limited like Twitter, and just like Memo the Blockpress application only allows 217 characters per post. Blockpress also has a section of communities where people can discuss anarchism, video games, politics, philosophy and whatever else they feel like discussing.
Blockpress also allows native tipping in BCH and content creators can earn tips for popular posts and writings. Similarly to Memo, individuals can follow other Blockpress users, making it easier to follow specific people. Every action on Blockpress is recorded using an OP_Return transaction and the platform cannot delete posts after they have been published. Blockpress fell off the map for a couple months as the creator was going to focus his time on another project, but he has since returned to the platform.
Keyport is a messenger service that allows people to connect with friends, family, and coworkers. The Keyport platform is an application that provides users with the ability to send and receive encrypted messages built on top of the BCH chain. Essentially all messages are hashed into the BCH chain using an OP_Return transaction but they are encrypted. Only the recipient can decrypt the message, making the messaging service difficult to censor. The Keyport developers, Atlantislabs, explain that each message you encrypt or decrypt requires a small amount of BCH dust plus the miner fee.
If people don’t want to be limited to 217 characters then they could opt to use the BCH-centric Matter platform. Matter allows users to post threads written in long form and posts can be formatted with images and things like bold and italic. Matter also has native tipping abilities and uses the BCH chain’s OP_Return capabilities as well. The same immutability problem exists with Matter, and the creators ask you to check a box that explains you are aware that all posts are permanently stored on the Bitcoin Cash blockchain. The decentralized blogging platform’s creators recently added the ability to reply to posts and users can tip the replies too. There are not as many users on Matter as there are on Blockpress and Memo, but the ability to write in long form with full markdown syntax support is a plus.
Mass Exodus From Centralized Social Media Giants Will Take Some Time
It’s going to take a lot of time for people to flock towards decentralized social media applications and forums. The permanence of posts may also be an issue for some people, but that is part of the give and take involved with these censorship-resistant platforms. After a post is published, no matter how many people don’t like it they cannot remove the post from the BCH chain and the same applies to the content creators themselves. Users do need a bitcoin cash wallet and a little BCH to use these platforms, as each action costs a very small amount of BCH. As long as social media giants like Facebook continue to remove political dissenters and content they don’t approve of on a whim, more people will search for platforms without prohibition.
Have you tried any of the new Bitcoin Cash-powered social media, forum, and messaging applications yet? Let us know what you think about these platforms in the comment section below.
Disclaimer: Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the mentioned companies/products or any of its affiliates or services. The author and Bitcoin.com are not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.
Images via Shutterstock, Jamie Redman, Matter, Memo, Keyport, and Blockpress.
At Bitcoin.com there’s a bunch of free helpful services. For instance, have you seen our Tools page? You can even look up the exchange rate for a transaction in the past. Or calculate the value of your current holdings. Or create a paper wallet. And much more.
WeChat, the 1 billion-user Chinese social media platform developed by Tencent, has reportedly blocked a number of crypto and blockchain related accounts, local financial news outlet Lanjinger reported August 21. Lanjinger quotes a WeChat official as saying that some public accounts were suspected of publishing Initial Coin Offering (ICO) and crypto trading “hype” in violation of the service’s “Interim Provisions on the Development of Public Information Services for Instant Messaging Tools” terms. The official said that official orders had been given to block all content and permanently block the relevant accounts. The interim provisions cited by WeChat were notably only recently introduced by the Cyberspace Administration of China on August 7. Deepchain, Huobi News, Node Capital-backed Jinse, and CoinDaily are among those who have been affected, according to Lanjinger. Coindaily’s site claims its official WeChat channel had over 100,000 users as of June 2018, and several other blocked sites were reportedly among the top 50 most influential blockchain-related accounts on the platform, Lanjinger writes. The number of total sites blocked remains unconfirmed, with one user claiming to have identified 8, although Lanjinger’s article implies the action has been more widespread. As of press time, Huobi and CoinDaily have not responded to Cointelegraph’s request for comment. As Cointelegraph has previously reported, this is not the first time WeChat has blocked accounts from the crypto space. In May, the service suspended a third-party application a day after the launch that would have allowed WeChat users to create contract agreements and a unique social media ID using blockchain technology. window.fbAsyncInit = function() FB.init( appId : ‘1922752334671725’, xfbml : true, version : ‘v2.9’ ); FB.AppEvents.logPageView(); ; (function(d, s, id) var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s); if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js”; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); (document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); !function(f,b,e,v,n,t,s) if(f.fbq)return;n=f.fbq=function()n.callMethod? n.callMethod.apply(n,arguments):n.queue.push(arguments); if(!f._fbq)f._fbq=n;n.push=n;n.loaded=!0;n.version=’2.0′; n.queue=;t=b.createElement(e);t.async=!0; t.src=v;s=b.getElementsByTagName(e); s.parentNode.insertBefore(t,s)(window,document,’script’, ‘https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/fbevents.js’); fbq(‘init’, ‘1922752334671725’); fbq(‘track’, ‘PageView’);
The Satoshi Revolution: A Revolution of Rising ExpectationsSection 4: State Versus SocietyChapter 9, Part 7The Jiu-Jitsu of Crypto: Personal Freedom vs Social Change.
It is often assumed that power derives from violence and can be controlled only by greater violence. Actually, power derives from sources in the society which may be restricted or severed by withdrawal of cooperation by the populace. The political power of governments may in fact be very fragile. Even the power of dictators may be destroyed by withdrawal of the human assistance which made the regime possible.
–Gene Sharp, The Politics of Nonviolent Action
Cryptocurrencies withdraw assistance from the state’s engine of power: the financial system. But they do more. They create a parallel payment and monetary system that draws upon the state’s own energy to defeat it.
The Japanese martial art of jiu-jitsu is a method of defeating an armed opponent in close combat, even though the defender is unarmed. The attacker’s force and power are used against him. The defender never directly confronts the attacker with opposing force. Jiu-jitsu is an art of self-defense in which the attacker is not the opponent; his movements are.
Bitcoin defeats the central banking system even though crypto has no force of law or standing military with which to directly confront the attacking banks. Instead, crypto feeds off the backlash of discontent created within society by the corruption of the financial system. Crypto’s strength as a freedom tool lies in its role as a parallel system, which revolutionizes payment and monetary systems to eliminate the state and banks as trusted third parties. It recognizes these parties as armed opponents in close combat. In short, crypto uses the arrogance of the central banking system to good advantage by attracting the rebellious and disillusioned within society to engage in financial self-defense.
This current strategy of jiu-jitsu confronts two obstacles, however.
One is the state. Or, rather, it is users and institutions who view crypto as a type of new fiat, not as a vehicle for freedom. They view exchanges as a new type of traditional bank that is geared to handle an innovative specie, in much the same manner as credit card companies handle a different type of transaction. These users want state involvement because it brings “respectability” and the safety they believe a trusted third party can provide. To them, those who prattle on about freedom are irritants or troublemakers who hinder the true future of crypto.
The second obstacle to a jiu-jitsu strategy is an alternate manner of addressing the state: confrontation. This strategy has its time and place-generally as a last option-but it is in conflict with the self-defense tactic of waiting for an opponent’s movement and drawing upon it for strength. Direct confrontation relinquishes the jiu-jitsu advantage. Julian Assange and Satoshi Nakamoto clashed about their attitudes toward bitcoin when Assange flaunted the crypto as a donation method to the otherwise financially embargoed Wikileaks. Theirs was a clash of strategies for freedom: confrontation versus low-profile growth. Assange crowed, “Bring it on!” to government officials; Satoshi recoiled because the prominent bravado endangered the quiet paradigm that was replacing the dominant one by exploiting the latter’s weaknesses.
A fist of defiance thrust into the air is emotionally satisfying, to be sure, and it may be appropriate in some circumstances. But those who want crypto to become a part of daily life should ask: is the goal to be free, or is it to vent? Is it to construct a different society, or is it to rail against the current one? There can be real tension between these goals. Crypto is not big enough or powerful enough to win in a face-to-face conflict with the state, especially if the battleground and weapons are of the state’s choosing. The state excels at brute confrontation. Crypto’s advantages differ: it is fast on its feet; it is incredibly inventive; and, it draws on the state’s weaknesses as well as on its power. By commandeering the animosity and corruptions that banking creates, a David and Goliath scenario plays out in which a diminutive but nimble challenger defeats a lumbering giant.
What Strategy is Optimal? Personal Freedom vs Social Change
The “best” strategy-if only one exists-depends on the goal being pursued.
Those who view crypto as an investment or as a paternal twin of fiat will embrace the state. Those who view crypto as a path to personal freedom will avoid the state whenever possible. The situation becomes more complex if the goal of social change is added to the mix. Although personal freedom and social change are intimately-related concepts, they are also separable. Those who seek social change may well engage in the high-profile rebellion that can be anathema to personal freedom.
Personal Freedom. Bitcoin was designed to free individuals. Its emphasis on privacy and pseudonymity allows people to navigate the financial world with unprecedented autonomy. Governments may loudly announce that they can crack transactions wide open, but they are scrambling, with no clear idea of how to handle mixers, tumblers and the other privacy innovations. Crypto advances more quickly than repression can, and governments—like bullies—are often loudest when they are impotent. If governments could kill the independence of crypto, they would have done so already. As it is, they fall back upon a standard method of enforcement: intimidation. The next step is open violence, the last resort of the state, which prefers to operate as though consent were present. Open violence means social control has failed, and no other alternative is available.
Social Change. Traditionally, social change involves an entirely different dynamic than personal freedom. The reform-minded individual does not seek privacy or avoid the state because the established strategies of social reform require visibility and confrontation. Public speeches, protest marches, petitions, guerrilla theater, editorials, sit-ins, boycotts, buycotts, pamphlets and books, civil disobedience…these strategies aim at raising a social issue to such prominence that it can’t be ignored but must be addressed.
Catching the state’s attention is dangerous. Its first reaction to an effective challenge is usually repression. That’s why those who engage in nonviolent action often go through training on how not to react to a backlash-how not to react to police attacks, for example. Social reform can be a dangerous business.
Cryptocurrencies have a valuable edge over traditional social-change approaches. Instead of being convinced to confront and resist the state by raised their political awareness, people use crypto out of rational self-interest; they avoid the state for the same reason. Traditionally, social reform seeks to change the hearts and minds of people, one by one, until there are enough people to create a tipping point at which society itself is altered. Crypto seeks to change people’s perceived self-interest, one by one; self-interest is a far more prevalent and accessible motivation than social consciousness. (The preceding statement is cynical only to those who hold a negative view of self-interest.) When a sufficient number of people prefer crypto over banks, and crypto over fiat, then society will have changed…without violence, without martyrdom, and without courting danger.
How many individuals must be “converted” before a society is reformed? No one knows. But the success of freedom or of repression does not seem to require large numbers. The Christian anarchist Leo Tolstoy observed,
“A commercial company enslaved a nation comprising two hundred millions. Tell this to a man free from superstition and he will fail to grasp what these words mean. What does it mean that thirty thousand men…have subdued two million…? Do not the figures make it clear that it is not the English who have enslaved the Indians, but the Indians who have enslaved themselves?”
Equally, many revolutions have been led by a handful of believers who tapped into strong emotional currents of the people, such as the hatred of corruption and a desire for a better life.
A tipping point is not a measurable dynamic. This may be especially true of crypto because so much of the activity and so many of the people are low profile. Typically, activists look over their shoulders and notice that a significant change has occurred. Then they say to themselves, “That was it—three months ago.” Radicals have debated what the “tipping-point” is for centuries. Ninetenth-century individualist anarchists in America believed that laws became unenforceable if ten percent of the people refused to obey them; that is, the laws became “dead letter,” which is just as effective as repealing them. An entire system can also become unenforceable.
At that point, of course, the topic is no longer social change. The topic is revolution.
[To be continued next week.]
Reprints of this article should credit bitcoin.com and include a link back to the original links to all previous chapters
Wendy McElroy has agreed to ”live-publish” her new book The Satoshi Revolution exclusively with Bitcoin.com. Every Saturday you’ll find another installment in a series of posts planned to conclude after about 18 months. Altogether they’ll make up her new book ”The Satoshi Revolution”. Read it here first.
There’s been a storm brewing all year on social media and this week it hit with a vengeance. Wave after wave of protest has lashed the ocean liners Twitter, Youtube, Apple, and Facebook after controversial passengers were forcibly ejected for speaking out of turn. As the censorship cyclone has intensified, cryptocurrency users have begun fleeing to safer havens, with Mastodon and Gab the leading the charge.
Also read: Decentralized Apps Might Be the Future but They’re Not the Present
Censorship Aboard the Good Ship Social Media
For the left, the right, and everyone caught in the middle, it’s been a wild seven days on social media. Trouble has been fomenting for months, but it hit fever pitch with the permabanning of the right’s most notorious agent provocateur. Alexander Emric Jones, better known as Alex Jones, was effectively booted from the internet without warning in a pincer movement orchestrated by Apple, Spotify, and Youtube, leaving the Infowars firebrand displaced and disenfranchised.
The left immediately began toasting his ousting, as the left are wont to do with designated enemy combatants who don’t accord to their worldview. The right countered, fighting for the Alex Joneses of the world to be allowed to speak, regardless of how misinformed or offensive their views might be. On crypto Twitter, meanwhile, something that had been known for a long time was revisited with a sense of urgency: it is no longer safe to rely on tech giants for access to the internet.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, to his credit, refused to join the internet monopolies in forcibly ejecting Alex Jones, despite the usual howls of protest. In other cases, however, Twitter has been every bit as supine as its peers, shadow banning and temporary blocking users for the slightest infringement at the drop of a hat. Alex Jones might have survived the latest Twitter cull, but with members of the cryptocurrency community less fortunate, the flight to a safer haven has begun to gather momentum, with Mastodon a primary option.
First They Came for the Alt Right
When Twitter initiated its first wave of permabans last year, ousting conservative figures such as Milo Yiannopoulos, free speech-based alternative Gab.ai was billed as the logical replacement. Led by young conservative Andrew Torba, it’s basically Twitter without the censorship. Gab has had a very good week, both on Twitter and on its own platform as the free speech furor has thrust it into the limelight. Premium members of Gab are able to cross-post to Twitter, enabling them to effectively retain their followers while enjoying the safety of a less censorship-prone platform.
A similar feature is available on Mastodon, a distributed social network housed on independently operated servers. More than 500 members of the crypto community have now moved to an instance parked at Bitcoinhackers.org. “No Scams, no impersonation, no begging, and no illegal content. Keep it civil and we should all survive :)” it proclaims. It remains to be seen whether social media alternatives such as Mastodon, Gab and (for BCH proponents) Memo retain traction once this latest free speech debacle dies down.
The events of the last few days, however, have reaffirmed something bitcoiners have known all along: decentralization is the only long-term solution to the states and shadow states that are intent on silencing, surveilling and shadowbanning those of us with the temerity to step out of line. Just as “neutralize” became the chilling term for murdering enemy combatants, social media giants can now “unperson” an individual, ejecting them and the digital allotment they have spent years tilling. It’s been a bad week for free speech, but perhaps, once the dust has settled, it may come to be seen as a good week for the fledgling decentralization movement.
Have you tried Mastodon, Gab, or Memo and if so what are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Pixabay, Gab, and Twitter.
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ICON partners with LINE in a move that could bring as many as 200 million users to the ICX blockchain. Will ICON (ICX) begin to grow as a result?
ICON Partners with LINE
The 19th largest cryptocurrency is working with Japan’s biggest social media messaging app to develop dApps on the ICX blockchain, reports CCN.
The LINE messaging app has over 200 million monthly active users, and both companies are hoping that LINE’s customer base will start interacting with the blockchain and the dApps once they’ve been developed. The other hope is that the …
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