As with most things, it’s difficult to talk about the solution if we don’t first properly define the problem. So, let’s start there. Last week, Elon Musk and Andrew Ross Sorkin conducted an hour-long interview full of awkward and strange moments. For people who don’t know about the battle for free speech that is going on. Please take a moment to watch this curated clip to see what I’m talking about.
What is it about ? Well, as you’ll see, it’s about control, former string-pullers trying to maintain order, and, ultimately, the desire to control your freedom of speech.
Today’s social media landscape is not only a battleground for public opinion, but also a complex web of influence and control, where complex connections between government agencies, large financial institutions and advertising interests converge to shape and manipulate public discourse.
The term “deep state” often refers to the idea of a group of people, usually influential members of government agencies, who become involved in the manipulation or desire to control government policy and shape public opinion . For what? This way, they can maintain power and control of the system. In the context of social media, this concept extends to the involvement of these agencies in indirect narrative formation and discourse control. Once Elon Musk made Twitter private, he was able to see all correspondence and control exercised between government agencies and Twitter executives captured and used strategically within the organization. Click on here to see Twitter files in all gory detail.
So the next natural question is how did these people manage to find their way into an organization like Twitter? Enter modern “decentralized” ownership of a large-cap company. Where the ownership of the original founders of the company is tiny and real control of the company falls into the hands of a few large ETF fund owners – also known as too-big-to-fail banks (TBTFBs). If TBTFBs control the board, then they can dictate where, how and who performs what strategic censorship task, within the communications platform. These relationships create a scenario in which the concept of a “safe environment,” meant to protect users from harmful content, is used as a weapon to suppress certain topics or viewpoints. Advertisers, under the guise of maintaining their brand safety, put pressure on social media platforms to moderate content in a way that aligns with these broader and often opaque agendas. What proponents of such control are arguing for is a destructive weapon that serves their interests today, but will undoubtedly backfire once their political interests are no longer under control or aligned. Talk about a stupid goal.
“Our freedom depends on the freedom of the press, and this cannot be limited without being lost. » -Thomas Jefferson
The solution: a decentralized voice protocol – Nostr
Nostr, an acronym for Notes and Other Stuff Transmit by Relays, is a decentralized social networking protocol that offers a new approach to online communication, contrasting with traditional, centralized social media platforms. Its decentralized nature aims to address issues like censorship and control by removing the centralized authority that often dictates content moderation policies on other platforms. If you are interested in how this is achieved technically, please feel free to read this article so you can learn more.
Shortly after the release of this new protocol, Jack Dorsey became interested in the project. Dorsey, quick to lend his support to the project, donated 14 Bitcoin (US$245,000 at the time) to the protocol developer, Fiatjaf. In fact, his donation came after publish a blog post talk about the need for a native internet protocol for social media. It certainly makes you think. What did Dorsey see in his final days on Twitter that compelled this billionaire to devote his time and energy to this somewhat obscure and tiny protocol project?
Shortly after many client interfaces to the Nostr protocol began to appear, Dorsey published another interesting article. He said: “Zaps represent the only fundamentally new innovation in social media. Everything else is just a distraction.
This is where things get really interesting. Let’s return to the points initially mentioned. Traditional media companies – our true communications networks – are captive to advertising revenue, which is captive to TBTF banks, which are captive to government agencies. What if this model could be disrupted? Disrupted so that content creators and everyone who publishes billions of posts are directly paid by other users?
As with all technological revolutions, how can we dematerialize large server racks, Twitter headquarters and eliminate the TBTF banking attack vector all in one? That’s right. A native payment feature (called Zaps). Where, if I like someone’s post, I can casually send them 100 bitcoin satoshis (1.6 cents) by simply pressing a single button embedded in the person’s post.
Link to the video to be integrated into the article (hosted by BTCmag): https://drive.google.com/file/d/19uMMzJ1IuixjLE7i1Is0ki5meswwGfXT/view?usp=sharing
Consider the implications: a user, impressed by a post, article or comment, can express their appreciation not only with a “like” or a “share”, but also with tangible financial support. This simple action, a tap of the screen, could transfer a few satoshis directly into the content creator’s digital wallet. The process does not require the exchange of sensitive banking information; instead, it uses the power of the decentralized Bitcoin network, ensuring that transactions are peer-to-peer, without the need for intermediaries.
Innovation doesn’t stop at content monetization. Just this week, a company called Primitive, introduced an iOS Nostr client that provides an interface to this free speech protocol and it also had an all-in-one native Bitcoin Lightning wallet. This transforms the social media interface into a decentralized payment system. This transcends the boundaries of traditional financial systems, where transactions typically require third-party verification, are subject to fees, and often involve long processing times. What Primal, and any other client provider, could accomplish with a native Bitcoin wallet is transfer funds instantly and globally, making it a powerful tool for free speech and commerce. Without anyone’s permission.
Most importantly, this integration challenges the status quo of monetization on social platforms, where content creators often receive only a fraction of the revenue generated by their content (if at all). Instead, value is channeled directly to creators, recognizing and rewarding them for the value of their work. AI’s dystopian incentive to keep people scrolling is fading – especially as client providers aggressively try to outdo each other for the best user experience. If you don’t like your client provider, don’t worry, take your private key elsewhere and all your previous messaging and content generation goes with you.
When considering the broader implications of such technology, it is clear that such an approach could herald a new era of digital interaction. It summarizes the principles of decentralization, not only in communication but also in commerce. The promise of Nostr, coupled with the financial liberation offered by integrated Bitcoin lightning transactions, sets a precedent for future platforms seeking to empower users and creators.
“What is freedom of speech? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.”
– Salman Rushdie
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This is a guest post by Preston Pysh. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.