Twetch: A glimpse of the future of social media?
I love using Twetch.
What is it?
Twetch is a social media platform that looks and feels a lot like Twitter, but has several key differences.
Every post and action is onchain (BitcoinSV), so if you fear deplatforming, all your content is still there, even if Twetch kicks you off. They serve as an interface with the chain, not the owners of the data. (There are already a few competing UIs that can render your Twetch posts, likes, comments, follows, etc.)
Every action has a price, which is what pays to get it onchain, provides Twetch with revenue, and allows users to directly earn for getting attention.
How does it use tiny payments?
Following someone costs 10 cents. Likes cost 5 cents. It costs 2 cents to post and 2 cents to comment or branch (like a retweet).
Twetch takes 1 penny for each of these actions, a tiny fraction goes to miners for processing the transaction (typically hundredths of a penny), and the rest goes to the user whose content was liked/commented on/etc.
The payments can get really tiny! If you branch someone’s post and your branch gets liked, the original poster gets a % of that like and so do you. As branches gets branched, pennies become fractions of pennies. Pretty amazing!
What I like about it
It just works! Twetch has a great UI, very quick (clicking like on Twetch is just about as fast as on Twitter, even though a real-time onchain 5 cent tx is happening), and it has something magical going on in terms of incentives.
Paying 2 cents to post means scams, bots, sock-puppets, spam, and click-bait are rarely sustainable. It creates micro-skin-in-the-game, which leads to a much more genuine experience. 10 cents to follow means you consider your follows more closely, etc. You can even add a “trolltoll” to any user instantly, choosing an amount they must pay to interact with your posts - monetizing your haters!
Posts are on a public ledger, but you can encrypt them if you like so they can only be read by whomever you grant access or those viewing it on Twetch. You can also revoke Twetch’s access at any time, effectively deleting the readable version of the post.
The biggest challenge is being on BSV. The protocol works pretty flawlessly, but since you need use BSV for all actions, you need to obtain BSV to use Twetch. This is not an easy task for people browsing around to test out Twitter competitors. It’s a fairly high barrier to entry that results in a smaller number of users, most who are BSV fans first, rather than Twetch fans first. (Roughly 70,000 accounts have been created, but daily active numbers are usually in the hundreds).
Network effects are tough to overcome. Even though Twetch is a vastly better experience for me than Twitter, I still use Twitter because the audience is so much larger.
Really! Twetch is already much more than Twitter onchain. They have an NFT marketplace, a mini arcade game, fully encrypted DM’s (not onchain, but using the security of the chain via hashing to it), a browser extension for the Twetch wallet so it can be used elsewhere, and even a way of automatically verifying ownership of NFT profile pictures (not my thing, but people seem to love it.)
I see it as a working proof of concept for what the world of tiny payments can do in social media and B2C markets more generally.
Twetch has proved that you can compete by building apps and interfaces on top of the blockchain, fueled by tiny payments, with user-owned data, and create an experience that is not inferior to the “free” platforms we all know. In fact, it’s better.