— Bitcoin — 4 min read
Twetch is a decentralized social media network running on Bitcoin SV. Launched in February 2019, Twetch looks and feels like Twitter, but with some important differences that make it a compelling alternative. The killer feature? You earn money every time someone interacts with your content 🤑
The important thing to know is that Bitcoin SV is a version of Bitcoin whose primary differentiator is its unlimited block size. Whereas Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) have fixed block size limits (1MB and 32MB respectively), Bitcoin SV (BSV) removes the limit entirely. With big blocks, it is possible for users to make low-fee microtransactions (fractions of a cent) and host data on-chain.
Twetch utilizes these capabilities of Bitcoin SV's as we shall see.
What's wrong with Twitter? Is @jack evil? Why use Twetch? Let's dive in 🤿
Every user interaction on Twetch is a BSV transaction under the hood. This means every Post, Like, and Reply is public, timestamped, and immutable.
For example, this is the Bitcoin transaction that represents this Twetch post:
In this decentralized model where user data exists on a public blockchain, the data layer and the app layer are separate. The app simply provides a viewing window into the public data and ways to interact with it. Whereas Twitter is the only party with an up-to-date copy of all its user's data, Twetch pulls all its user's data from the public blockchain.
This independence of data increases competition and transparency while reducing monopolistic network effects. If Twetch implements a policy its users don't like (e.g. censoring posts, banning users), the user data is still publicly available. Anyone can leverage the public data and create their own version of Twetch that doesn't implement those disagreeable business policies. Under the current centralized models of Twitter and Facebook, if you don't like their policies, your only option is to leave.
Twetch has a built-in economic system based on microtransactions.
As it stands today:
A tiny fraction of these costs go to the Bitcoin miners, ~20% goes to Twetch, and the other ~80% goes to the user you are interacting with. Because the interactions are transactions are on Bitcoin, payouts are instant.
For example, for every 25 Likes, you earn $1. For every 100 new Followers, you earn $8. Scale up or down as necessary based on your popularity and meme abilities 😉
And it goes further. If Person A branches to your post, and Person B interacts with the branch, you split the earnings from Person B's interaction with Person A.
Note: interaction fees are set by Twetch and have lowered as the userbase has increased. I expect them to continue tweaking the incentive structure, but I don't expect any drastic changes.
There are no advertisements on Twetch. As mentioned above, Twetch earns a small commission from each user interaction. There are also optional paid features such as Dark Mode and Advanced Search:
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Twetch has a small community compared to Twitter's gargantuan 150,000,000 users. As of October 2020, Twetch is just under 2 years old with about 20,000 users.
The UI is quite good but not as refined as Twitter's.
You won't find many popular accounts to follow, but you can create a Windbell to duplicate any public Twitter account onto Twetch (and earn a 21.8% revenue share from all engagement with the Twetch account). For example I created the Tim Ferriss Bot.
There is no native Lists functionality, but you can create a Windbell Mix to replicate that feature.
In short, there's no catch, but the ecosystem is not as developed as Twitter's.
My humble opinion is that Twitter users should not expect to ditch it anytime soon. The community is much larger and diverse. There are people who don't want to pay to post. There are circumstances where you don't want a post to exist immutably on the blockchain. I don't see these things changing any time soon.
On the flipside, Twetch provides some utility that Twitter does not. Making money off each interaction is an innovative concept with a definite future in certain applications. It really comes down to utilizing each platform for its unique communities and capabilities.
If Twetch sounds interesting to you, try it out for a bit and see if you like the community. Try to earn some money from your followers. Get indoctrinated by the memes:
Just kidding about the last one. But if you want a glimpse at what the future of social media might look like, Twetch is definitely worth checking out!
Twetch is currently invite only, but there are multiple ways you can get in:
Once you click the invite link, it's basically a two-step process:
Here are a few of my favorites:
User numbers are fixed, but you can change your display name at any time.
/pay @user $amountto pay a user directly from your BSV wallet
/trolltoll @user $amountto prevent a user from interacting with you unless they pay the troll toll.
/trolltoll remove @userto remove it.
On Twitter, reply
@twetchdat to any post, and the twetchdat bot will convert it into a Twetch post. For example,
The official twetch-js package can be used to create interactions programmatically.