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A Beginner's Guide to Twetch: Bitcoin's Twitter clone

Bitcoin5 min read

Twetch "Take back your data" banner

What is Twetch?

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 🤑 Twetch homepage on desktop

What is Bitcoin SV?

Bitcoin SV (BSV) is the blockchain and currency used by Twetch. It works under the hood and is mostly invisible to the user.

Bitcoin SV Logo

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.

Twetch vs. Twitter: What's the difference?

What's wrong with Twitter? Is @jack evil? Why use Twetch? Let's dive in 🤿 Evil Twitter birds

Posts live forever on the blockchain ♾️

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: Twetch post example

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.

Pay-to-interact and earn money when users engage with your content 🤑

Twetch has a built-in economic system based on microtransactions.

As it stands today:

  • ➕ Creating a post costs 2¢
  • 🌱 Branching (the Twetch equivalent of Retweeting) costs 3¢
  • ❤️ Liking a post costs 5¢
  • 👀 Following a user costs 10¢

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.

No ads 🚫

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:

Twetch settings

Encrypted chat 💬

Chat privately with end-to-end encrypted messaging. There is a one-time fee of $9.99 to initiate chats, but if someone else initiates the chat, it's free. There are no limits on number of chats or number of messages within a chat. It also has group chats. Click here to learn how it works at a technical level.

Market 📈

Twetch Market is a place to buy and sell Bitcoin NFTs. Currently, it only supports NFTs that have been airdropped by the Twetch team.

What's the catch?

There is no "catch", but there are some downsides:

  • Twetch has a small community compared to Twitter's gargantuan 150,000,000 users. As of May 2021, Twetch has 50,000+ users.
  • The UI is decent but not nearly as zippy as Twitter.
  • 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). By doing this, archiving that user's tweetsFor example I created the Tim Ferriss Bot.
  • Much of the discussion on the site is about Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, but I expect that to change as the site attracts more people. For example there lots of artists who share their paintings / digital art.
  • There is no native Lists functionality to organize your feed, but you can create a Windbell Mix to replicate that feature (although it is quite limited because as of now you can't update lists once they are created).
  • Keep in mind all your posts are recorded on an immutable blockchain (this can be a good or bad thing depending on the situation!)

What's the verdict?

Twitter users should not expect to ditch it anytime soon, but 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. Try to earn some money from your followers. Get indoctrinated by the memes:

Happy monkey after receiving 4 cents

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.

How to get started

Sign up process

Twetch is now open for public sign-up. If you use my invite link, I'll get 10% of all Twetch's earnings from your posts in perpetuity.

Once you create an account, you'll need to fund your wallet with Bitcoin SV (BSV) in order to start twetching.

Ready to buy some Bitcoin SV!? I recommend buying at least $10 to start with. There are many ways to buy BSV. Here are some options in the order that I recommend:

  • Option 1) Bittrex. They natively support buying BSV directly with USD. Once you buy the BSV using the "Instant Buy & Sell" feature, go to "Holdings" and click "Withdraw" to send the BSV to the wallet address of the wallet you're using with Twetch.
  • Option 2) Coinbase + Atomic Wallet. Coinbase doesn't support buying BSV directly 😠 but they have a simpler interface than Bittrex. Buy Bitcoin Cash (BCH) on Coinbase. Then create an Atomic Wallet and send your BCH there. Use the Instant Exchange to convert it to BSV. Lastly, send the BSV to the wallet you're using for Twetch by clicking "Wallet" > "Bitcoin SV" > "Send".
  • Option 3) BuyBSV.com. I haven't tried it myself but it's often recommended.

In Twetch, go to "Wallet" > "Receive Money" and copy your wallet address. Send the BSV you just purchased to this wallet.

You should see your Wallet Balance is no longer $0.00. Now you're ready to Twetch! 🚀

Follow some interesting accounts

Here are some of my favorites:

Don't trust my recommendations? 😄 Check out the Leaderboard. It ranks the Top 100 users in order of most Bitcoin sent and received over the past 24 hours.

Use /commands

There are built in commands that you can use as part of any post:

  • Post /pay @user $amount to pay a user directly from your BSV wallet to theirs
  • Post /trolltoll @user $amount to prevent a user from interacting with you unless they pay the troll toll. Post /trolltoll remove @user to remove it. This is basically a way to "block" people on Twetch.

Write any Twitter post to the BSV blockchain

On Twitter, reply @twetchdat to any post, and the twetchdat bot will convert it into a Twetch post which effectively archives it on Bitcoin. For example, Twetchdat example

Developer API

The official twetch-js package can be used to create interactions programmatically.

Q&A

If you still have questions, PXL-3000 created a Twetch Q&A Megathread. Post your question there!

The End

Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or Twetch for any comments, questions, or corrections on this article.

Thanks, and Welcome to Decentralized Social Media! 🚀

Note

This post was originally published in October 2020. I will try to keep it up to date as things change so it will still be a useful guide for new users.


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