This article summarizes the fifth part of the video series called Tiny Payments are a Big Deal. In this episode, Isaac Morehouse talks to Randy about Twetch, a social media app that runs on Bitcoin SV.
Introducing Randy, Twetch, and the Hash Wall
Randy is one of the co-founders of Twetch. Most BSV enthusiasts already know this, but for those who don’t know, it’s a social media platform like Twitter that uses micropayments. Users pay a small fee to upload content to the BSV blockchain and then receive micropayments for each interaction they receive. For a full video review of Twetch, sign up at Nanopay.cash and watch Isaac’s video walkthrough of the app.
After introducing Randy, Isaac asks him to develop a new feature he noticed.
“When you go to log in to Twetch, you click log in, and you see all these little numbers swirling around for a few seconds, and then boom, you’re in,” Isaac says.
He discovered that it’s something like a captcha killer that uses the user’s proof of work and computing power to interact with the blockchain, making it too expensive to brute force login or hack Twetch. Randy says that while he’s not the mastermind behind the Hash Wall, he thinks it could be used on all major apps in the future. He explains that as Twetch grows in popularity, security is at the forefront of developer concerns.
Going back to the origins of Twetch, Randy explains that they tried to build on Ethereum, but quickly realized it wouldn’t work. He claims that they have repeatedly broken the Ethereum network just by trying to run NFT drops on it. Since Twetch puts both the data that users post as well as the interactions, they knew it would be impossible to do that on Ethereum at scale, and they decided to rely on Bitcoin SV.
What did Twetch want to improve on social media?
Randy says one of the things that inspired Twetch is that platforms like Twitter have too much control over their users. He gives the example of Twitter kicking former US President Donald Trump off the platform. He mentions other limitations, such as that Twitter doesn’t let you buy and sell usernames or do other things it assumes users might want to do.
Besides that, Randy mentions all the data that is deleted by both Twitter and users. Using blockchain, Twetch creates a timestamped record of the truth. This will allow them to keep track of what was said, what actually happened, what research came out of it, etc.
Bots, spam, and fake content on social media platforms was another thing the Twetch team wanted to improve. It’s no secret that bot farms use platforms like Twitter and Facebook to promote political ideas, sow discontent in societies, and more. Micropayments could at least make this more expensive.
Randy also reflects on the fact that the internet has broken down the barriers to entry that were once necessary to have your opinion heard. Where before you had to write in a newspaper column or appear on a radio show, the internet has broken down those walls and a deluge of shoddy information has flooded the platforms. By creating Twetch, they wanted to reintroduce a slight barrier to entry, namely micropayment or putting your money where your mouth is.
“That’s what I like about small payments,” Isaac responds to this idea. “You are able to apply the same market forces that you get in most of the economy to those areas where the individual values are so small,” he added.
Randy agrees, saying, “It’s like we’ve gone from zero to a hundred, and now we have to work our way back to fifty.”
Why Twetch was ultimately built on the BSV blockchain
Isaac then asks Randy to explain why they abandoned Ethereum and built Twetch on BSV.
Randy lists data on the blockchain, low costs, small payouts, and frustrations with BTC and Ethereum as the main reasons. They decided that BSV would allow them to build whatever they wanted with minimal friction.
And the BCH? Randy says Roger Ver’s attitude and Jihan Wu’s involvement put him off. He says it never even really crossed his mind to rely on BCH. That said, Randy says his opinion of Roger has changed and now sees him in a more positive light. He realizes that his opinion of Roger and others, like Dr. Craig Wright, had been shaped by propaganda coming out of the BTC camp.
Why are blockchain data and small payments such good ideas?
Randy then returns to a thread he wrote before creating Twetch titled “How to Fix the Internet Without Changing What You Love About It”. In the thread, Randy identifies some problems with the Internet and some potential solutions.
The ad-based model. Big companies harvest or steal your data and rent or sell it. This model is broken. Randy thinks this can be solved with no advertising and a pay-per-play model like the one used by Twetch.
Centralized databases. It’s no secret that usernames and passwords are stored in large centralized databases. This causes all sorts of security issues that blockchain can solve. Randy sets an example of being held at gunpoint; this could be done to access one person’s account, but it could not be done to access the database with everyone’s passwords because that database would not exist.
Centralized data storage. By now, many of us are familiar with big companies like Twitter that mass delete user data and erase all traces of it. Publishing on the blockchain is different. Randy says you can post to it using Twetch, which can then kick you off the blockchain, but you can always transfer your data to another platform and pick up where you left off.
User monetization. Isaac then describes the tragic business model of many of the internet’s major social media platforms. Many of them start out with good intentions, but after raising capital and going public, they are forced to package their users and sell them in order to make money for the inventors. This then causes them to become something they never wanted to be. This is a problem we can see all over the web. The key to solving this problem is an entirely different model in which platforms do not monitor activity, collect or sell data, and earn their money through micropayments.
Isaac explains his belief that micro and nano payments can even change the way human beings behave on a more general level. He believes they can foster a sense of belonging, personal responsibility, accountability and individuality that is degraded in today’s world.
Userbase, growth and what Twetch is at its peak
Isaac then asks Randy to tell him more about Twetch’s growth and what he ultimately sees of him.
Randy responds that he wants Twetch to make it easy and seamless for people to connect and do business on the internet. He sees the integration of other platforms, such as users being able to showcase their portfolios, allowing people who are looking for certain skills to do so and pay for those services on Twetch. “Everything I do in my business, I want to happen on Twetch,” says Randy, painting the ultimate vision.
Use blockchain instead of get rich quick with digital currencies
Earlier in the conversation, Isaac and Randy identified a critical problem with the Internet; it promotes a sense of entitlement and the desire to get something for free. Isaac finds the use of blockchain to combat this problem somewhat ironic, given that “crypto” is one of the most extreme examples of “give me something for nothing.” attitude.
Randy notes that even the mainstream media only talks about prices, but very little covers what blockchain can actually be used for and how it can change the world. The media will cover stories about people like Sam Bankman-Fried getting rich in the industry, but they won’t cover much of what he actually did to earn that wealth.
“Maybe we should start advocating get rich slow with micropayments,” Isaac says. He remembers making over $695 on Twetch and there’s something psychologically rewarding about that, even if it’s not a huge amount of money in the grand scheme of things.
On a related point, Randy and Isaac agree that anyone setting up a business on BSV or any other blockchain should cash in immediately to preserve purchasing power and avoid the fluctuations in value that digital currencies are notorious for. This mindset is one of the main differences between people who want to start businesses and digital currency traders.
On Web3 and what it means
In closing, Isaac asks Randy what he thinks of Web3 and whether or not it’s a real thing or just hype.
“It’s Twetch,” Randy said. It then explains how Web3 will use elements of virtual reality, digital real estate, artwork, business, NFT, and more.
“Everything we have in real life will exist in virtual reality,” says Randy, painting a “Ready Player One” image of the world of the future. Either it will be owned by a few big companies, or everyone will own their own data, and micropayments are key to ensuring it’s the latter.
Watch: Introducing CoinGeek New York, The Path to BitCoin Adoption: How to Turn the Entire Web into Bitcoin Apps
New to Bitcoin? Discover CoinGeek bitcoin for beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn about bitcoin – as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto – and blockchain.