MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor has come up with a proposal to clean up Twitter by using the Bitcoin Lightning Network.
In a Twitter conversation with Tesla chief Elon Musk and clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson, Saylor suggests that the social network could “monetize malice” by introducing a paid-for orange checkmark on tweets.
Saylor believes that Bitcoin’s Lightning Network could and should be leveraged as a means of creating a security deposit scheme for the social network, making its use far more pleasant to use for the majority.
Bitcoin Lightning Network could verify scammers and spambots
“Twitter can solve the problem of scammers & spambots if they allow real humans to post ~50,000 sats ($20) via Lightning & get verified w/an Orange Check. Then we can limit comments/DMs to verified accounts. Bad actors forfeit their security deposit & @Twitter monetizes malice,” tweeted Saylor.
In a follow-up tweet, Saylor added, “There are currently only about 360,000 blue checks on Twitter. We should allow for hundreds of millions of orange check [sic] so that everyone can get verified within a minute or two. #Bitcoin is the solution to cleaning up social media and bringing safety & civility to cyberspace.”
Twitter users divided on subject
While some users liked the idea, a number of crypto Twitter users were less enamored.
As one user asked, “Wouldn’t cyber criminals be willing to pay a lot more to be verified once, even if they lose their deposit several times w/ different accounts, just to publish their scam? Once they are verified, their scam would be even more effective…”
Yet more debated whether the $20 would create a participation barrier that would negatively impact those in poorer countries, while others argued that if you can afford a phone or a computer to post on Twitter, you can afford $20.
One potentially negative impact of any kind of security deposit scheme is that it might further incentivize malicious actors to falsely flag legitimate posts. False flagging is a known problem on social media sites. For malicious false flaggers, knowing that they will hurt their victim financially provides another incentive for their bad behavior.
Another question is whether a deposit scheme worth billions might incentivize Twitter executives and their moderation teams to interpret posts in the most negative light possible.
With such a large pool of funds sloshing around, there would be an ever-present temptation to boost Twitter’s corporate profits by finding spurious posting violations.
Under those circumstances, having an orange checkmark would be about as desirable as walking into a war zone with a target painted on your back.
The roots of Saylor’s most recent proposal lie in a poll that Elon Musk conducted last Friday. In a simple yes or no poll Musk asked, “Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy. Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?”
The poll received over two million votes, with 70.4% answering no.
To this Musk declared that Twitter fails “to adhere to free speech principles” and “fundamentally undermines democracy.”
Yesterday, Jordan Peterson replied to Musk stating that the price of free speech in the digital age is far too cheap – precisely because it’s free.
“Elon, @elonmusk social media can’t function properly if the cost to post to (millions of people) stays unnaturally at zero. It’s not zero in the real world. So that means SM does not reflect the real-world incentive structure. Thus, it tilts inexorably toward insanity. Really.”
And this was enough for Michael Saylor to step in with his Bitcoin Lightning Network plan.