On Friday (September 25), Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter and Square, spoke at this year’s Oslo Freedom Forum (OFF) explained the importance of blockchain technology to micro-blogging platform Twitter.
Oslo Freedom Forum is “a series of global conferences run by the New York-based non-profit Human Rights Foundation (HRF) under the slogan ‘Challenging Power’.”
At this two-day virtual event, Dorsey was interviewed by Thor Halvorssen, the President of HRF.
Half way through the interview, Halvorssen asked Dorsey what Twitter was going to do to improve the security of its backend.
“I fundamentally believe that security is something that can never be perfected… it’s a constamt race/// it’s a constant push to be 10 steps ahead of your hackers…
“And I think there are a few elements that are really important within that race.
“One is creating a lot of agility internally so that we can recognize flaws quickly and then fix them and advance them.
“Two is getting outside feedback and people who are watching from different angles and researching from different angles to actually see what’s what’s happening.
“And then, third, making sure that we’re building the right secure systems within our platform so that we can have trust in an untrusted environment. And there’s a lot of newer technologies that provide for this.
“I mean, the the whole of the whole spirit of Bitcoin, for instance, is to provide a trusted system in a distrusted environment, which is the internet, and those technologies will provide us new capabilities where we can do this internally as well and provide a lot more peace of mind… that this is something that even if you have untrusted parties entering in the system as workers, as people who are using the service, that it is still secure, it is still protected…
And the more of those technologies we build in, the more the technologies that are linked to an identity and a security system that you as an individual uniquely own, the more we can use biometrics to hook that up… the more we’re giving the individual the keys, the safer this whole system is going to be….
“And right now we’re just not in that state but we are working towards it, and when I say ‘we’, it’s the whole industry of the internet, and you see this most fundamentally in the work in Bitcoin and blockchain…
“What gives me a lot of hope and a lot of peace of mind to help these issues and to help toward these issues is because the keys and the control will actually be more and more in the hands of the individual rather than a corporation or rather than a government.”
Dorsey was also asked about an announcement he made in December 2019:
Here is what Dorsey said on this subject:
“There’s probably a number you who remember the older internet… and what was interesting is how decentralized the internet was at that time. And what was difficult about that decentralization was actually discovery–finding content, finding people that would be like-minded–and that is what Google represents. It’s centralizing the discovery problem.
It’s what Facebook represents—centralizing a discovery problem. It’s what Twitter represents as well— centralizing the discovery problem. And now we’re in a world that blockchain exists. That Bitcoin exists. That decentralized technologies exist… now, we can build the discovery problem on a much more decentralized foundation.
“And what I think that does is generally a lot of our value in the past was around content hosting. So we would host the tweets, we’d host the images, we’d host the the videos. Blockchain and Bitcoin point to a future and point to a world where content exists forever, where it’s permanent, where it doesn’t go away, where it exists forever on every single node that’s connected to it.
“And what that means is the job of content hosting goes away. The job of discovery is the most important thing, and we’ve had to really consider what that means for us as a company. What that means is we’re not in the content hosting business anymore—we’re in the discovery business, and we’re going to have a particular approach on discovery, which is healthy conversation.
“Healthy public conversation that seeks to help people understand what’s happening in the world, to have conversations about what’s happening, and hopefully solve problems together. And what that means ultimately is we need to become a client of something much bigger than us. We need to enable people to contribute to a public blockchain, and we need to be able to enable people to be able to pull and see from that public blockchain as well.
“And if we’re able to do that, it’s something that’s really powerful and something that I think speaks back to the power and the original intent of what the internet could be, which is something that anyone in the world can access anyone in the world, can make decisions around in terms of their engagement, in terms of what they own, in terms of what they see, in terms of what they share.
“And companies like us can build a business on top of that contributes to that greater hope but pulls from it in a way that’s compelling to people. And we wanted to advance this. So we’re going to hire five engineers and and some folks to start building Twitter as a protocol.
“And one of the things we heard early on in Twitter’s history is that this is so basic and so simple [that] it kind of feels like a protocol right now. It doesn’t feel like a company. It feels more like a movement and it feels more like a technology that I can use to build whatever I want to build on top of.
“And that was such a magic time and such a magic understanding of what Twitter was. And we want to get back to that, and we want to help the world get back to that as well. So, right now we’re in the in the phase of finding a leader for it, but this is a completely separate nonprofit from the company.
“This group will be tasked with building a protocol that we can use but everyone else can use, and then we’ll really focus on becoming a client of it so that we can build a compelling service and business on top of a much larger corpus of conversation that anyone can access in anyone can contribute to.”