Bluesky, a Twitter-backed project to “develop an open and decentralized standard for social media,” released its first bit of code on Wednesday.
The code, known as Authenticated Data eXperiment (ADX), contains a software developer kit, as well as server implementation and basic commands for things one might do within a social network, including creating posts and liking others’ posts.
It’s pretty basic, as the team behind Bluesky pointed out in a tweet: “Before you get too excited: this isn’t a launch! There’s no app or network, there’s only a command-line for testing.”
According to the Bluesky team, the release of the code at such a stage is part of its commitment to “work in the open and share our progress.”
However, several of the basic elements stick out.
First, ADX uses “self-authenticating data,” the goal of which is to allow individual users to port their own data between networks. It’s user control over company control—a very Web3 idea. The current iteration of Web 2.0 social media apps, Twitter among them, are company-controlled.
Second, Bluesky’s team tweets, “It’s not possible to have a usable social network without moderation.” That might be a news flash for those who equate Elon Musk’s plans for maximalist free speech on Twitter with a zero moderation policy.
As the project team clarifies: “Our view is that ‘speech’ and ‘reach’ should be two separate layers. The speech layer can be as neutral as publishing a website. The reach layer determines what gets amplified across the network.”
Jack Dorsey established Bluesky in 2019 while he was still Twitter CEO, and the project made progress in 2021 with the publication of an ecosystem review of various decentralized technologies and applications, including the blockchain-based InterPlanetary File System and Ethereum microblogging platform Peepeth.
That review was authored by Jay Graber, a former core developer of privacy coin Zcash who was later appointed CEO of Bluesky.
While cryptocurrency and Web3 runs in Bluesky’s veins, the team has yet to give much indication whether its decentralized standard will utilize a token or blockchain networks.
Dogecoin proponent Elon Musk’s pending purchase of Twitter—alongside Bitcoin maximalist Jack Dorsey—could put pressure on the team to go that direction. But Bluesky became independent of Twitter in February after receiving a $13 million paycheck from the social media firm. (Dorsey is on Bluesky’s board, however.)
While Bluesky’s direction is in progress, Graber is welcoming people to “play around” with the code. But she warned: “Things are missing, and things are going to change.”
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