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Twitter is in a death spiral. Where will the crypto community go instead?

Photo Illustration by Jonathan Raa—NurPhoto/Getty Images

In recent months, Twitter has become a dumpster fire wrapped in a train wreck—and it’s getting worse. On Tuesday, NPR reported that the site’s new owner, Elon Musk, emailed to warn that he was going to give its account to someone else in an apparent act of retaliation because the media service had called Twitter unreliable and stopped tweeting. This came shortly after Twitter’s decision to strip verification marks from official accounts resulted in a flood of impostors impersonating everyone from the LAPD to New York’s transit authority.

All of this chaos combined with technical features breaking on a regular basis suggest that Twitter’s end may be nigh. Users have had enough, and major advertisers, understandably, don’t want to go near Musk’s version of the service with a 10-foot pole. Twitter is not going to go away tomorrow or next week, but it’s in an ominous downward spiral that will only get worse.

For many, the site’s demise would be no big deal, and would even come as a relief since, as they say, “Twitter is not real life.” That’s a fair critique but also overlooks the fact that, for a decade, Twitter has been the most important news outlet in the world. And for the crypto world, in particular, it has long been an indispensable source for news, ideas, memes, and trash talk—the scene even has its own name, CT, for Crypto Twitter.

The question now is where Crypto Twitter might go instead. For now, there are three front-runners, all of which are Twitter-like but aspire to be decentralized. The first of these, Mastodon, looked to be the early favorite, but, per Techdirt’s Mike Masnick, it has a clunky user design that is off-putting to new users—a fatal flaw if you’re trying to be the next big thing.

Another leading candidate to replace Twitter is Nostr, which is a bare-bones service that makes it incredibly simple for developers to build features. For Crypto Twitter, it would seem to be the obvious choice given that it already offers crypto payments and since it is where Twitter cofounder and Bitcoin champion, Jack Dorsey, is spending his days. But Masnick notes that since Nostr is for now barely more than a protocol, it will likewise have a hard time attracting the mainstream users who are essential for a platform to blow up.

That brings us to the third contender: Bluesky. It is reportedly the easiest to use and the most like Twitter, though users don’t send tweets but instead “skeets”—an awkward development since the word apparently has another meaning that I was too uncool to know about until veteran tech writer Sarah Jeong explained it at The Verge (this also gives me a new perspective on Drake’s rap hit “The Motto”). Jeong, who knows her stuff, is sure that Bluesky is already the next big thing even though it is strictly limiting sign-ups for now as it builds out the back-end.

Are you test-driving any of these new platforms? If so, let me know what you think—and whether I should join you.

Jeff John Roberts


The military wing of Hamas said it is ending its crypto donation program, citing successful efforts by governments to identify and prosecute donors. (Chainalysis)

The Securities and Exchange Commission had defined “digital assets” in a 2022 draft rule, but the final version walked it back—possibly because recognizing them as a distinct product would have undercut the agency’s litigation strategy. (CoinDesk)

A fusion of zero-knowledge proofs, which are hot in crypto circles, and machine learning has given rise to a new tool called zkML that could help keep A.I. abuses in check. (Fortune)

FTX is seeking to claw back $3.9 billion in cash and crypto from bankrupt Genesis, including collateral posted by FTX and funds Genesis pulled right before the exchange collapsed. (Bloomberg)

In the first case of its kind, a jury convicted a former OpenSea executive of providing insider information on NFTs ahead of their being listed on the marketplace’s home page. (Reuters)


Crypto skeptic Molly White’s view of Coinbase’s regulatory troubles:

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