Jack Dorsey explains his new obsession

With help from Derek Robertson

On Friday, as Twitter’s new management was waving a fresh round of controversy, Twitter’s former chief executive remained blissfully unaware of the turmoil.

Twitter’s former CEO guru Jack Dorsey hasn’t been seen on his former platform since January. Instead, he spent his time on NOSTR, an open-source social media protocol launched in 2020 that has become popular with Bitcoin enthusiasts. This includes Dorsey, who posted a stream of consciousness storm lately on the network.

On Friday, amid Dorsey’s tsunami of posts, I created a NOSTR identity for myself to learn more about its users’ decentralized vision for the future of social media. To access the network, I used the Damus iPhone app, one of many software clients available to access the protocol. I found Damus’ user experience comparable to Twitter’s, but clumsier, and with some minor issues getting a custom profile picture and wallpaper image to paste.

I also decided to ask Dorsey himself about NOSTR.

In a brief Friday afternoon interview with DFD, Dorsey said he hadn’t even heard of Twitter’s decision to block engagement with tweets related to rival platform Substack. Instead, he pushed for his vision of an internet in which battles for the power of social media platforms would essentially cease to be relevant.

Dorsey was the face of Twitterr when Donald Trump came to power, when the ability of the online conversation platform without mediation upended political communication in the United States and much of the rest of the world. But at the end of 2021, he quit as CEO to focus on his payments startup Square, which he renamed Block – as in blockchain – to focus on. his vision for “Web5”, a Bitcoin-centric decentralized internet.

In recent months, Dorsey has increasingly focused on this new social media protocol as a potential vehicle for his decentralized vision of the internet.

It is a protocol, like e-mail, on which anyone can create software. Users access the network with a personalized private key – essentially a password for which they are responsible (there is no one to reset it if they lose it), which allows them to maintain control of their identity, regardless of or the software interface they use to access the network. It’s a bit like the right to take your phone number with you when you change cellular service providers, except it’s built into the code of the protocol itself. Since anyone can set up a NOSTR server, content or accounts blocked by one server can always be found on other servers, and NOSTR clients tend to scan multiple servers to avoid missing messages.

In December, shortly after the publication of a blog post think about the moderation of content in response to Twitter files, Dorsey donated 14 Bitcoin – which was then worth around a quarter of a million dollars – to support the development of the protocol.

He last posted on Twitter in late January to note that a NOSTR client, Damus, had become available in the Apple Store.

Since then, he has been prolific on NOSTR, offering his thoughts on all things World Economic Forum (“dangerous”) to methods to lower your heart rate (“always breathe through your nose”). On Friday alone, he posted over 100 times, including replies.

In the midst of all these messages, Dorsey agreed to be interviewed, with one catch: “We can interview in responses, not DMs. Open interview.

In the resulting back-and-forth, Dorsey revealed Block was working on NOSTR-enabled products. He declined to offer any further response to a March report by short seller Hindenburg Research who claims Block’s Cash app has inflated user numbers. He also argued that the user experience on NOSTR has already surpassed that of Twitter, citing “Zaps”, a feature that allows users to spill into Bitcoin – part of a vision in which information and money flow together on the Internet without obstruction.

Dorsey said he wasn’t aware of Substack’s recent blocking on Twitter, but didn’t seem to like the idea: “I don’t believe Twitter should be blocking links,” he said. writing (immediately after the interview he published several “notes” – those of NOSTR term for a post – drawing attention to the flaw). He also said that NOSTR was becoming popular outside of the Bitcoiner niche, citing a “growing community of artists” that he said would be drawn to the tipping feature. “It will grow faster with the zaps and the fact that we finally have global permissionless payments on the internet.”

The interview format Dorsey chose matched the “open” theme around which he bets his business career and personal brand.

His followers peppered the thread with their own comments during the back and forth, and Dorsey engaged them in conversation during the proceedings.

Following the exchange, Dorsey announced that he would form the model for his new personal media policy: “No more closed interviews for me. On NOSTR or live pods only.

At a time when no one can agree on who should have the power to control social media content, a system designed to be controlled by person has obvious appeal, especially when it integrates payments and gives individual users control over their identity.

But the value of a general-purpose communication network depends heavily on attracting a large number of users. Over a million NOSTR “accounts” have been created (the number of individuals using it is harder to estimate), but actual mass adoption faces a behavioral hurdle: identity for convenience and scale offered by centralized platforms.

For anyone who doesn’t want to talk about Bitcoin and the structure of the internet all day, NOSTR has some slim picks. He would be take something like artists – or a critical mass of Dorsey-level public figures – flocking to the network to provide a level of dynamism that would make the transition interesting for average internet users.

Either that or the protocol must host a series of extremely compelling interviews in the responses, conducted exclusively by DFD…

To make sure you don’t miss the next round of NOSTR live interviews, you can follow me on protocol using my public key: npub1vz4yqatycf5tlk4swknndaryrd84xs266a2xtp6ucvpj7pm0tmkqzfq7se

Representative Mike Gallagher (R-Wisc.), The chairman of the Communist Party of China’s select committee, met with top tech executives over the weekend to discuss U.S. relations with China on emerging technologies, as POLITICO’s Mohar Chatterjee in the newsletter Morning Tech today.

The big takeaway: Gallagher said “there was almost unanimous support” for restricting US investment in Chinese AI. “For example, Sequoia should not be allowed to invest in Baidu,” he said. “It is very difficult to defend this position given that we are neck and neck with China in AI at the moment.” And on the nascent country blockchain platformGallagher said its “potential large-scale adoption will move the CCP closer to its global surveillance goals,” as Mohar wrote.

And to underscore the political ramifications of the rapidly escalating tech competition between the United States and China for wary, globally-minded leaders, Gallagher noted that he specifically asked House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to name the after the “Chinese Communist Party” rather than the nation itself, saying that “the Chinese people are not our enemy” and that “The more we make this distinction, the more I think that our policy will be successful and we will avoid any accusations of anti-Asian sentiment. — Derek Robertson

Jen Easterly, Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and a handful of other Biden administration officials sat down with the Atlantic Council for a discussion on US cybersecurity which, like seemingly everything in 2023, eventually touched on AI.

During the conversation, Easterly compared the development of security guardrails around AI to that of the early internet – and not favorably. “We’re rushing forward in a way that I don’t think is the right level of responsibility, implementing AI capabilities in production, without any legal impediments, without any regulations,” Easterly said.

She also compared the development of AI unfavorably to another, more overtly sinister technology: “The most powerful weapons of the last century were nuclear weapons,” Easterly said. “They were controlled by governments and there was no incentive to use them. It was a deterrent to using them…we don’t have the legal regimes…or the regulatory regimes to be able to implement them safely and effectively.

Easterly called on the government to “understand this in the very short term”. (For a more optimistic perspective on his ability to do so, read POLITICO’s Alfred Ng interview with FTC Commissioner Alvaro Bedoya, published last week. for Pro subscribers.) — Derek Robertson