What is BitClout?
Some refer to it as a mysterious blockchain platform while others regard it as a crypto social network, or social crypto exchange project. But whichever it is, this project, albeit in its infancy, has a flurry of sceptics and is stirring wide controversy in the crypto community – so much so, that BitClout’s alleged founder has already been served with a cease and desist letter.
In layman’s terms, BitClout is a platform through which users can buy and sell NFTs, called ‘Creator Coins’, based on somebody’s reputation, and works to allow celebrities the opportunity to monetize their image in the crypto world. Essentially each celebrity Creator Coin will be given a value dependent on the respective celebrity’s popularity and influence.
We have seen the success of NFTs in the recent days, with digital artwork being sold for millions of dollars, and it is quite possible BitClout is onto something game changing too. Well at least that’s what the platform’s high-profile investors believe. BitClout has had investors pour tens of millions into it from Silicon Valley investors like Sequoia Capital, Winklevoss Capital, Reddit co-founder, Alexi Ohanian and many others. Before its launch to the public, a report suggests that in one wallet linked to the site, BitClout had already amassed over $165 million worth of Bitcoin payments.
How do users see returns?
It’s a gamble, where a lot of faith is put into the celebrity who’s Creator Coin is purchased. Should the celebrity do something amazing in their real life, then the value of their Creator Coin will increase. Should that celebrity commit an offense or damage their real life reputation, then the value of the Creator Coin will drop accordingly.
Take Elon Musk and Katy Perry as examples. BitCloud has allocated Creator Coins representing these two well-known names. Elon Musks’ Creator Coin is trading at $68,000 with Perry’s trading at $17,500.
Yes, at the time of this article, Elon Musk is probably the most talked about celebrity at the moment so it makes sense that his Creator Coin would be valued that much higher than the likes of Katy Perry’s.
So what is the problem?
BitClout has been plagued with several issues. The first and major concern is that they pre-populated their network with over 15,000 popular accounts as a result of copying data and information from existing Twitter users. This was done without authorization or consent from the celebrities and influencers they signed up.
This means that BitClout users can purchase shares in Kanye West and Justin Bieber’s Creator Coins without them agreeing to it. Here, certain celebrities have been turned into NFT commodities with basically having no control over it.
Another socio-political concern here is the idea of placing a value on a human being. We have seen this in the slave trade and in the sex trade, and it raises serious questions about the ethics of this, coupled with the fact that the ‘purchased’ person is powerless against it.
BitClout has already been temporarily shut down for reasons unknown, and a cease and desist letter was sent by Brandon Curtis, the product lead for Radar Relay, for opting him in to BitClout without his consent.
Let’s wait to see how it all plays out when other celebrities and influencers start to feel commoditized by BitClout. It could be the launch of 2021, or it could be an epic failure.