Wed. Dec 1st, 2021

Twitter launches a dedicated crypto team, announcing the latest push by CEO Jack Dorsey to embrace digital assets and decentralized applications and the ballooning communities around them.

The social network hired Tess Rinearson to lead the new Twitter Crypto team and “set up the strategy for the future of crypto at (and on) Twitter,” the company told the Financial Times.

Twitter Crypto is designed to be “a center of excellence for everything blockchain and web3”, it added, referring to the term given to the growing number of decentralized applications running on public blockchains.

“We are exploring ways to incorporate decentralized technologies into our products and infrastructure,” Twitter said, adding that it explores short-term payments, ways people create content to earn crypto, and the “decentralization of social media.”

Dorsey, a well-known bitcoin enthusiast, has long said he wants to integrate digital assets into Twitter’s future, after successfully introducing bitcoin support to the payment company Square, which he also runs, two years ago.

In September, Twitter said it was launching a new tool that would allow users to send tips to others for their content with bitcoin. It also said it’s creating a feature for verifying non-fungible tokens (NFTs), digital collectibles that have exploded in popularity this year and that some Twitter users are using as their profile photos.

Rinearson works under Twitter’s chief technology officer Parag Agrawal and has the task of overseeing and building on these efforts. She has previously worked with crypto groups such as Interchain, a group focused on the development of open source decentralized technologies, and Interstellar, a decentralized crypto wallet and exchange.

The appointment comes amid a growing buzz in Silicon Valley surrounding the web3 movement, which seeks to disrupt Big Tech companies that store user data on central servers and seek to monetize that data.

In the web3 ecosystem, on the other hand, decentralized applications run on public blockchains, which means that data is not collected by any one party, while users can be offered token-based rewards for participation.

Several social platforms alongside Twitter, such as Reddit and Discord, have indicated that they are also exploring ways to integrate with decentralized applications and embrace some of the concepts of web3 on their platforms.

“Twitter is getting crypto, and the early integration of Bitcoin Tips and NFT authentication demonstrates that,” Rinearson said. “There’s so much more to explore to help people participate in the promise of a evolving, decentralized Internet, directly on Twitter.”

Rinearson will also be part of Twitter’s Bluesky, an independent Twitter-funded project designed to find ways to decentralize social media in particular. The working group, which consists of Twitter staff as well as outside experts, is developing a single standard – or protocol – on which social platforms and other developers can build more customized offerings, with a view to making them more interoperable. to make.

In addition, developers can then create a marketplace of moderation algorithms or filters, in a time of intense debate over how to moderate user-generated content. However, experts have questioned whether such a system has the potential to cannibalize Twitter’s existing ad-driven business model.

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