A self-professed expert in both memes and marketing, Twetch CMO Billy Rose brings to Bitcoin a professional background as boisterous as his personality, a combination driving results for Twetch and the broader Bitcoin SV ecosystem.
‘To me, the brand of Bitcoin is very enticing,’ explains Rose.
‘The name Bitcoin is known all over the world, right? Maybe people don’t know what is, but they know the name – and soon enough, they’ll know just what Bitcoin is capable of.’
For those like Rose, the capabilities of Bitcoin and their vision for how it could be used extends far beyond its ability to act as a payments rail. Rather, he sees blockchain-based applications as having the potential to solve some of the fundamental issues which plague the online world of today – a path that began early in his career.
‘For me, it was the initial concept after reading the Bitcoin white paper. I started to get really excited about the concept and the possibilities of what it could do in the world. I would help developers building on Bitcoin or other blockchains with logo design and making their apps look beautiful as I learned more myself,’ says Rose.
‘I started out working in advertising after college and I ran a meme account on Twitter. I got pretty popular there and companies started reaching out to me to talk, and I ended up selling them on the idea that I could run their entire marketing department. Then I got a really great opportunity with [digital currency mining pool] Honeyminer to lead their market efforts and be their outward-facing brand voice.’
In both his work with Honeyminer and the outside projects he was moonlighting on, Rose gained a strong grounding in blockchain, which combined with his eye for design and sense for user experience, culminated in a clear philosophy for developing the technology.
‘I think that once you get people involved in the Bitcoin ecosystem, in my experience – which probably won’t be everybody – I think that the majority of people start to get very excited and want to learn more,’ says Rose.
‘But, they shouldn’t have to. I think what’s important is that the experience should always be such that you have no idea that you’re using Bitcoin. As a user, you can be using an app and a currency of your choice – Bitcoin is there as the underlying foundation layer that the application and payments are going through’
Using Bitcoin as a foundational layer, rather than an auxiliary feature, is a guiding principle that can be clearly seen in action with Twetch, a social media application built entirely on the Bitcoin SV blockchain that Rose co-founded, and where he currently serves as CMO.
‘Twetch is like Twitter, except that everything you post, you sign and you own – all of your data is on the blockchain,’ explains Rose.
‘We use the blockchain to store data, so that you still have access to everything you post regardless of whether you have access to the platform itself, but also to enable micropayments.’
The combination is effectively an information micro-marketplace packaged as a social media platform, a direct response to existing offerings predicated on personal data.
‘At Twetch, we think that people are willing to pay for privacy. The more people who start to realize that everything that they post on Instagram – any picture or photo – could be put up on a billboard by Instagram and the user would earn nothing for it, the more I think that people will come around to our way of thinking,’ says Rose.
‘All of this valuable information is just given away for free, with only the platform profiting. I think that as people become increasingly accustomed to the idea of paying very small amounts for things that they do on the internet; it will open up opportunities for new online business models.’
Barely a year into operations and still in private beta, Twetch has quickly grown to now boast more than 10,000 active users – growth which Rose says represents a proof of concept for other businesses considering micropayment implementations.
‘Twetch is interesting psychologically, because people have all of this digital currency stored away, but no place to really use it other than to exchange it for dollars,’ says Rose.
‘Twetch offers people an outlet where they can use their digital currencies in their everyday lives. It might only be tiny amounts each time, but it shows that people are willing to pay for what they consume online, no matter how small.’
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With ample experience working with competing blockchains and services designed to leverage them, Rose says that it wasn’t until the emergence of Bitcoin SV that there was a blockchain built to handle the applications he had in mind.
‘Really, the selling point for Bitcoin SV for me was the idea of locking the protocol in stone and then being able to put data on chain. The fact that it can do both of those, scale, and offer micropayments was all we needed to know,’ he explains.
‘We had the idea of building an application like Twitter on the blockchain for many years, but there was just no blockchain that was capable of scaling or doing the things that we needed it to do – in particular, micropayments.’
Having built with the Bitcoin SV blockchain almost since inception, Rose points to the continued development of the Bitcoin SV ecosystem and platform as added incentives for developers to make the transition.
‘With Genesis earlier this year, it signals that Bitcoin SV and the whole ecosystem around it are serious about building. Bitcoin Association, nChain, and the whole crew showed that this is a serious and professional endeavour,’ says Rose.
‘But the most important thing is that it works! We’ve broken blockchains before, so blockchains that don’t freeze up are very important to us!’
As Twetch continues to move from strength to strength, it stands as a strong example of what’s possible for developers when building with the Bitcoin SV blockchain – something Rose sees driving further interest and uptake across the ecosystem.
‘I think that Bitcoin SV will grow as the applications that are built on top of it grow up,’ Rose says.
‘I want to see brands that use Bitcoin more than I want to see people excited about the price of Bitcoin. I want people to be excited about what Bitcoin can do, not the number next to its name.’