Blurt: Multichain Decentralized Social Media

in #blurt11 months ago

This is a straight copy/paste from the Blurt Discord with very minimal formatting and editing. It explains some things about Blurt, as well as my thinking on decentralized social media generally.

When I wrote social money for enemies..... I was spitballing, and it became something. I actually wrote it first in a discord chat, and later edited it into what you can see here

The discord chat, by the way, was @thecryptodrive 's buildteam chat.

I want to do the same thing again, just sharing my thoughts in the way I'm most comfortable with, which is actually just by typing them out as chat messages on my phone.
So, since "social money for enemies" we have seen Hive do extraordinarily well, despite (using their preferred language here) "excluding" people with ties to JS and his witnesses.

When I was doing things with Hive, I was really enthusiastic about getting rid of the Stinc stake.

I thought that it was a long overdue move-- and maybe I was right. I still have misgivings and mixed feelings about keeping it. I always felt like that ninja mine coupled with the steem/stinc relationship really hurt Steem.

Then again, that ninja mine literally funded steemit, and enabled the creation of a platform that had a profound effect on my life.

Who am I to judge?

Honestly, nobody.

When steem was released, it quintupled my income almost overnight. And as a highly technical entrepeneur, I wasn't at all expecting that on Steem, it would be possible to share raw thought, and be rewarded for it.
But that's exactly what happened. I just kept writing and by and large I did pretty good.

And I also found a bunch of nit picky things I didn't like about the software. In various ways, I tried to fix them, but never had much success with that.

In entrepreneurship there's a meme that ideas aren't valuable. Only execution is.

Personally I think this is kind of a half truth. If you execute really well on a terrible idea, you may still fail. If you execute poorly on a great idea, you may still fail. If you don't execute on a great idea, you haven't even started.
The idea for blurt actually took over a year to develop-- since I first met and began working with @birdinc at v.systems.

The day he and I first met, we spent 4-5 hours literally creating notes on "what's wrong with steem/steemit" or "why didn't steemit prosper to a much greater degree?"

It's fair to say he and I are both huge steem enthusiasts.

I bet he still has those notes somewhere. We really wanted to crack it, and understand why it didn't get bigger.

While stinc did many things wrong the core fact is that they built steem and steem was and is really, really great.

To this day I cannot tell you exactly why steem did not prosper as it should have. But I do have some thoughts:

  • Docs not good, or non existent
  • Stinc didn't always act as a good steward
  • Stinc didn't always have the community's best interests at heart
  • SW dev did not seem like a huge focus or priority
  • When new monetization paths like ads were tried, they were executed poorly in a way that harmed UX and made the site itself less valuable
  • "The websocket of doom"
  • 1 chain many semi-native tokens
  • Focus on web app instead of mobile-first

None of these items in and of itself is enough to cause steem's failure to thrive. We will never know the exact reason.

And while I'm not a fan of the decision to exclude users based on affiliation or vote history, I have to say that I was a huge supporter (maybe even I am still a huge supporter) of hive forking out the ninja mined stake into the community fund.

It was worthy, and I applaud them for acting.
It really was not okay for them to strip assets from individual users, though.

And now they've had their assets stripped from Steem.
Oh, and "who's the worst Jacob?"

Honestly in this case I have to say that HF23 was the worst event in this whole affair, and here's why:

The hive guys and gals built something new. As the creators of a new thing, it's their right to do with it as they wish (like excluding users based on affiliation and vote history), and I don't have to agree with them, and Hive still works, and I can go on hive and disagree with them.

So Hive still fills that "free online speech void" even if I'm really disappointed with their setting the precedent that users can be excluded at fork time.

HF23, on the other hand, did not create a new network.

And users (even users like theycallmedan or blocktrades) should be able to enjoy the assumption that their assets will survive a hard fork. That should be pretty much unquestionable.

And now we have come full circle, back to the same situation that drove me to write and publish a poorly edited discord chat rant that I titled social money for enemies that became ..... Far more than that rant.

I have blockchained too much for full maximalism on any one platform, including Blurt itself.

I still carry the opinion that Bitcoin is the world's best money but it would really please me if someone made something better-- and I do not mind experimentation, it's how we can actually arrive at "better".

If that makes me a shitcoiner, fine.

No problem, I even understand how that point of view comes about, and until maybe a year ago, I was really holding fast to the view that everything but BTC is a joke--a shitcoin.

Thing is, these systems don't just do money, and I think we are better off in a world with many competing flavors of money.

Know what's nice about ice cream?

It comes in just so many delicious flavors, and any day, anyone can come up with a new one, and people have different ice cream preferences, and if you have a little money you can go to the store and get a bunch of different kinds of ice cream.

Will vanilla ice cream always be freaking great???

YES!!!!!!

Will Bitcoin always be freaking great???

YES!!!!!!
Are there many flavors of ice cream other than vanilla worth trying?

YES!!!!

Are there many other flavors of digital currency that are worth trying?

YES!!!!!

When you mix flavors of ice cream, is the result frequently greater than the sum of its parts?

YES!!!!

When you mix blockchains, can you multiply value by composing applications that leverage the best pieces of each one?

I think so. We are going to find out.

So I guess that's the big feature announcement; we plan to support a bunch of chains in our apps, starting with Blurt, of course. Boy oh boy I'd love to move Bitcoin using a steem-like UI, or tip blurt posts in Eth/BTC/wls/steem/hive.

We really don't see any other chain as competition; how could we?

We are using the same codebase and many of the same ideas and community members.
Do I want to use Portal (vsys payment channels) via blurt to send funds at machine speed with a much less complicated setup than lightning?

YES!
Should blurt users be able to create tokens on eth and do Uniswap stuff with them and send them to other blurt users?

YES!

Should blurt users be able to easily make VSYS tokens and see what it's like to make a token in 30 seconds?

YES!
Should blurt support both DEX and CEX?

Yes!
We can only do these kinds of things by thinking outside our own chain. And we will.
Now, I kinda started this, talking about the security of funds on steem/hive, and I guess that is where I'm going to finish this one.

But please, don't take this as only applying to steem/hive. I suspect it applies to very, very many blockchain systems.

Apparently, to store funds on steem (maybe EOS too? (And more darkly maybe most production chains with the notable exception of BTC :crying: ) you've really got to trust people. But you might disagree with those people, they might really hate you.

In the physical world, meatspace, pretty much only the government can steal from you if you disagree with them. This varies from place to place, of course.

What's the big innovation of Bitcoin? No one can steal from you. (Ok ok there are in fact more Bitcoin innovations, but I guess we are just speaking in that context)

You can screw it up, and not handle your keys well, but if you do handle your keys well, you're safe. Keys can be stolen but there's not a backdoor for theives to enter, the same way that your bank accounts have a backdoor through which the government can enter.

Steem, Hive, and therefore Blurt are very different from Bitcoin. We generate state soooo much faster.
And a lot of other differences, too.

I guess what I'm saying is that until we have resolved the issue of "social money for enemies"-- it is clear that large stakeholders and corps backing blockchains have an outsized influence and can pose a threat to user communities the same way your government can threaten your bank account.

A few of us want to start a company, myself included, to continue to work on this set of ideas. But we aren't going to do that until blurt is up and running, and we aren't going to tie the company to the blockchain in any way.

Our goals:

  1. to ensure that no one, including us, can modify your balances by doing sustained, open source blockchain software R&D

  2. to develop the very finest multi-chain social media app the world has ever seen

  3. to provide the framework (maybe not the view layer but certainly everything that deals with blockchain transactions) for that app as open source code so that anyone can audit it and anyone can implement their own proprietary or open source view layer

  4. To scale decentralized social media using a mental model that views each blcockhain as a big raid 1 array (consider please: how many hard drives do you think Facebook or Twitter has?)

Thanks to anyone that's been reading, I'll publish this on steem, whaleshares, and hive tomorrow. have a great day or night.

:heart:
PS: yes, we do think that this will be a profitable endeavor.

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Hey Jacob thanks for sharing your thoughts, much of what you have written echoes with my own sentimenta that I have not put down in writing to date.

I too look forward to researching the most secure decentralised consensus models to ensure all user accounts and balances can survive hardforks.

It has been a pleasure crossing paths with you again, your passion for blockchain is refreshing and your kind manner even more so. I am proud to be working with you on Blurt.