Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey might have something for you – Bluesky Social, a new “decentralized social network” that reportedly aims to reclaim user data. Dorsey stepped down as CEO of the social network he co-founded in 2006 in May 2022.
It should be noted that Bluesky is not yet ready. However, the app is currently in private beta testing and will soon be available to the public. Also, you can join Bluesky with an invite code.
Bluesky unveiled the plan for its decentralized social network protocol, which will be the core code for the app, on Tuesday, October 25.
According to Bluesky, in essence, its ATP protocol would allow users to move between various social platforms using just one high-end browser – its app – while managing what they see and how much data they share with those platforms.
Decentralization is not just a system developed to serve cryptocurrencies. It is, above all, a desire to protect private data by allowing it to escape the control of a single entity. A vision dear to the heart of Jack Dorsey, co-founder of the social network Twitter and a great advocate of Bitcoin. This is part of a very Web3 approach for this emblematic Web2 figure.
As such, Jack Dorsey has been working for three years on building what he calls the “authenticated transfer protocol” or AT protocol. This aims to offer its users the portability of their accounts, but also the choice of the algorithms they want to use and interoperability between the various social networks. This is basically a new type of private data management.
Wow. 30k signups for our app’s waiting list in the last two days! Thanks for the overwhelming interest, we’ll do our best to get you in soon. 🔜
— bluesky (@bluesky) October 20, 2022
According to Dorsey, the backbone of the app is user data, stating that Bluesky will be free of political influence and will be managed by users rather than marketed by companies.
Dorsey’s app has the potential to revolutionize the economics of personal data and advertising revenue.
User account data can be transferred across platforms thanks to the app’s code.
Bluesky users will be able to log in with their account on any social network that applies the new code. In this way, they will have access to all their favorite social networks through a single account.
“It’s a competitor to any company trying to take over the basic fundamentals of social networks, or the data of the people who use them,” Dorsey tweeted. Which includes virtually all social networks, including Musk’s ad-laden version of Twitter.
It’s a competitor to any company trying to own the underlying fundamentals for social media or the data of the people using it
— jack (@jack) October 18, 2022
News of a decentralized social media platform has ignited the cryptocurrency community, but closer inspection reveals that the underlying technology will not be purely blockchain-based. “I’m confident in our decision not to put social media content on a blockchain,” tweeted Bluesky CEO Jay Graber. “It’s blockchain independent and optional. Personally, I wouldn’t create a system that supports your posts on the blockchain,” he further added.
It's blockchain optional and blockchain agnostic. I personally wouldn't build a system that backs up your posts on-chain. I mean, you can do that today, by putting the hash of your tweets on-chain. Few do.
— Jay Graber (@arcalinea) October 20, 2022
According to Dorsey, Twitter could also make use of Bluesky’s underlying structure. The goal is for Twitter to eventually become a client of this standard, he continued.
Bluesky is a decentralized Twitter
The Bluesky federated network is the primary new release of the authenticated transfer protocol evolved by means of Jack Dorsey and his crew. This one was presented as an innovative solution “for large-scale distributed social applications.”
With the ability to allow different servers to communicate with each other, similar to email. Because multiple sites can run the same network. In different words, “you may select the company, and people and organizations can self-host if they need to.”
The vision behind Bluesky is as follows:
“The World-Wide Web wouldn’t have been much fun if it had been created without a browser, and the same goes for the AT protocol. So we’re also building a social application called Bluesky. That was the original name of this project before it took shape, and it’s still the name of our company.”
With, for example, another version called “Lens” developed on the Ethereum network by the Aave protocol and also presented as a competitor to Twitter. But in the case of the Bluesky project, there is still no information about the network that will host this application.
Not even of managing the identity of its users, supposedly in the form of “domain names in the Aave protocol, such as @saurel.com”. These are “mapped to cryptographic URLs with a view to at ease the customers’ account and their information”
Innovative features of the AT protocol
But there are other features that could make this “authenticated transfer” (AT Protocol) version of social networking very attractive. For instance, the possibility for its users to directly manage the algorithms to which their account may be subjected. The idea is to regain manipulate over “what we see and who we are able to reach”. A good way to escape from that funnel that is currently managed by the “knowledge” of preferences, much more aimed at identifying the advertising that will be served in return:
“A person’s online identity should not belong to companies that are not accountable to their users. With the AT protocol, you can move your account from one provider to another without losing any of your social graph data.”
All this comes with interoperability, which is the fear of the centralized Web2 giants because it means allowing users to move freely from one network to another. But, as explained in the Bluesky protocol presentation, “the world needs a diverse marketplace of connected services to ensure healthy competition.”
And not a sterile hostage-taking that purposely makes any data transfer very complicated, if not impossible.
This new social network is not yet available, but it is already possible to sign up for a waiting list to be one of its first beta users.
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