Incubated at Twitter by Jack Dorsey, Bluesky Launching Beta

Bluesky, a decentralized platform conceived by Jack Dorsey while he was CEO of Twitter, has generated more than 30,000 waitlist signups as it prepares for a private beta launch of Bluesky Social. Bluesky’s main innovation is the Authenticated Transport (AT) Protocol, described as a networking technology “to power the next generation of social applications.” AT Protocol is an open standard designed to allow different social apps the ability to interoperate, giving users more control by letting them independently adjust algorithm settings or move profiles without losing data.

Because all computers rely on the same set of technical rules, like HTTP and TCP/IP, to talk to each other over a network, there are commonalities under the proprietary frameworks overlaid by individual platforms like Facebook and TikTok.

Bluesky aims to implement its own open-source code, the AT Protocol, “a new ‘decentralized’ protocol for social media, which would allow any number of companies and individuals to build their own apps, services, or recommendation algorithms on top of the same underlying networks and data,” writes The Independent.

Once developed, Bluesky “would allow separate social media networks to interact with each other via an open standard, despite each network having its own curation and moderation systems,” says CNBC-TV18. “In other words, if someone didn’t like YouTube’s recommendation engine but still wanted to watch its videos, it could use Bluesky to access them using different algorithms, or none at all,” The Independent says.

“The World Wide Web wouldn’t have been much fun if it was created without a browser, and the same is true of the AT Protocol,” CoinDesk reports Bluesky explained in announcing the beta rollout. Decrypt emphasizes Bluesky is not built on blockchain, even as it heralds a “decentralized social media race.”

Bluesky was established as a public good corporation in 2019 using $13 million in startup funds and a few engineers from Twitter. It is unclear, however, whether Twitter will eventually adopt the AT Protocol. “Crucially, Twitter does not have a controlling ownership share in Bluesky,” writes The Independent.

Following his $44 billion Twitter purchase, new CEO Elon Musk is said to be focused on cutting costs. It remains to be seen whether Musk “is really interested in Bluesky’s vision of liberation from corporate control — especially now that he controls the purse strings,” The Independent reports.

Musk has also been musing over ways to distinguish Twitter from its social media competition. So far, his ideas seem profit-focused, like the super app concept Tencent has successfully implemented in China with WeChat.

CNN reported Tuesday that Musk announced users who want a verified checkmark will now have to pay $8 per month for Twitter Blue. Engadget reports that Musk has also raised the possibility of reviving Vine, potentially opting to “just bake the experience into core Twitter.”

While some reports couch Bluesky as a Twitter rival, it could also complement the larger company. In April, the month Twitter accepted Musk’s purchase offer, Bluesky tweeted that its fate would be unaffected by new ownership and posted an explanation of its platform approach.

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