Talking tech since 2003

By now you've likely heard about BitClout, the new supposedly (more on that word choice soon) blockchain based social network. According to the creator of the platform, it's a new Twitter-esque social network that allows creators to monetize their followings.

After talking to some people on Clubhouse, I decided to signup. I even scored a pretty dope handle, @jsw. But after some initial use, I've pretty much stopped using the social network and here's why:

Why I stopped using BitClout

Despite the big name investors (Sequoia, Andreessen Horowitz, Social Capital, TQ Ventures, Coinbase Ventures, Winklevoss Capital, Arrington Capital, Polychain, Pantera, Digital Currency Group, Huobi, Variant and others) in BitClout, I've become super skeptical of the platform. It all started with this tweet:

I'm not the most technical person when it comes to this stuff so I brought it to someone who is, Paul McKellar, an angel investor and founding team member at Square. Here's how Paul explained the tweet to me:

"They did some things which are centralized and insecure."

As it turns out, when you use BitClout they ask you to input your private key, but here's where things get sus af. "If they wanted it be secure they would keep it [private key] on the client side and sign every transaction there or use a tool like metamask," but as it turns out that's not what they did at all. According to Paul, the BitClout team"uploads the key to their server and after they do that the key has to be considered compromised.”

BitClout has trust issues

Why is this a problem? Well, if you ask most crypto lovers, trustless design is essentially the entire point of it and what BitClout has done has many people, including Paul scratching their heads as to why the team would implement these keys in that way. When I asked Paul why someone would program BitClout in such a way, he was just as confused as I, "they may just have made a naive decision, but it undermines the goals of crypto and shouldn’t have been made."

But it doesn't stop there. While there is no GitHub repo for BitClout some people reversed engineered some of the data structures via their API and found that the platform is in fact not on the blockchain.

You can't move your money out of BitClout

Another big issue with BitClout at the moment is that you cannot move your money out of the platform. As it stands right now, you're only able to buy $BitClout with $BTC and once you do that, the money is stuck on BitClout, "which is another huge red flag," according to Paul.

But wait, there are more issues!

BitClout has a fake account problem

There are a ton of fake accounts on the platform, in fact, even the accounts you see for Elon Musk aren't actually accounts – they're holding pages for those people to (hopefully) claim those accounts. The idea being that the people who own the @elonmusk coin early will be rewarded for doing so, however, what if Elon or Kanye decide to just start a fresh account and say screw you to all the people who invested in their unclaimed coin? It could happen.

Failure to follow through on support requests

When I signed up for BitClout on April 7 I heard that they were giving out free BitClout to get people started, I never received any so I emailed them:

I still haven't received anything. I've followed up with them to see if there's any new update. I'll keep you posted.

Bottom line: Please do not invest any of your hard earned money into BitClout at this time. At the very least wait until you can move your money out of the platform. With that said, feel free to use the platform and build a following that way when they [hopefully] do offer that functionality you're still ahead of the game and at the same time, if they don't and it's just one big scam, then at least you only lost time.

Update: It appears Bitclout has finally added a way to take your money off the platform which definitely makes me feel more comfortable in recommending using the service.

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