- Crypto platform BitClout allows you to buy a stake in your favorite social media stars.
- The platform made a splash in the last few weeks by uploading people’s Twitter profiles without permission.
- It’s left the VC world polarized.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Three weeks ago, the venture world woke up to see their reputations for sale.
As one person tweeted, “I own a piece of @chamath and @elonmusk on BitClout. Should I start my family office now or wait to?”
He’s referencing renowned investor Chamath Palihapitiya and the family offices that handle the finances for the ultra-wealthy. It’s the power of BitClout: buy a share of your favorite VCs and watch your self-esteem skyrocket.
Crypto platform BitClout, founded by a (kind of) anonymous group of developers, certainly made an impression. It essentially cloned a chunk of Twitter, uploading the profiles of 15,000 people without their permission. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had publicly mulled over the idea of a decentralized Twitter before, but BitClout beat him to it — with a twist.
BitClout is its own cryptocurrency that you can buy with Bitcoin. You then use BitClout to purchase “creator coins,” tokens issued in the name of popular social media stars. As more and more people purchase a creator’s token, the cost of that coin goes up. So, the more popular a creator, the more their coins are worth. There’s even a leaderboard showing whose coins are worth the most every week (Elon Musk is currently dominating).
If you own one of the accounts that BitClout scraped off Twitter, then you can claim your account — and start profiting from the sale of your tokens — by tweeting out a key BitClout gives you. If you aren’t, you can still create an account and purchase creator coins, but you can’t issue your own tokens.
BitClout is a combination of many things that VCs tend to find irresistible: Twitter, crypto, exclusivity and influencers. But it became even more so once people saw which venture firms had invested: Palihapitiya’s Social Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia, and Winklevoss Capital, just to name a few, TechCrunch reported.
Suddenly it seemed like everyone in Silicon Valley had an opinion on BitClout, both positive and negative.
“BitClout is super interesting. That doesn’t mean it will work,” Andrew Wilkinson, cofounder of Tiny, tweeted. “In fact, I’d probably bet money it won’t work.”
Investor Shaan Puri tweeted, “This platform is going to either explode, or crash. There’s no middle ground.”
—Shaan Puri (@ShaanVP) March 27, 2021
Palihapitiya, who’s ranked third on the BitClout’s leaderboard, said on the All-In podcast that BitClout gives “people with reputation and trust” a way to “signal that they have…