The internet’s newest buzz is around BitClout, a platform that lets audiences invest in their favorite creators as if they were stocks. The website is home to over 15,000 profiles where users can purchase a creator’s tokens using BitClout cryptocurrency, which has a similar structure to other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
BitClout aims to answer a question that many have been asking as the social media and creator industry grows: How can I invest in a creator? Just weeks before BitClout’s rise, YouTube superstar MrBeast tried to answer this question with his own initiative of Creative Juice, which allows people to funnel money and advice towards the progress of small creators.
BitClout’s website is simple, as it only contains a login/sign-up page, a page to convert someone’s $USD into BitClout cryptocurrency, the list of creator profiles (with a link to each profile), and a one-pager explaining it all. The one-pager explains the process of buying and selling creator coins, as they’re officially called. “To buy someone’s coin, you simply navigate to their profile and hit ‘Buy.’ As for the pricing of the coins, as more people buy a creator’s coin, the higher the price. This price rises at an increasingly fast rate as the coins are bought until eventually, it could take more than a billion dollars to mint one more. When coins are bought, the money used to buy them is locked into the profile. When coins are sold, the profile will buy the coins back in exchange for the money already locked in. As coins are bought and sold, they are also created and destroyed. BitClout argues it is the first to create a system that can price the social worth of an actual person based on followers, posts, speculation, and clout, not just revenue, and money. To incentivize the purchases of creator coins, BitClout suggests there may be perks in the near future. This includes premium content and one-on-one meetings with and from the creators, which are incentives similar to some creators’ NFTs (non-fungible tokens).
But while this idea of creator coins seems fantastic and profitable, many are suspicious of it and dubbing it a scam. Why? For two reasons. For one, the one-pager claims that “BitClout is a fully open-source project and there is no company behind it— it’s just coins and code.” While it is certainly a simple website, an idea so profitable and groundbreaking must have someone and something behind it.
But what is causing most of the controversy is the fact that most creators haven’t actually claimed their BitClout profiles. In its original rollout, BitClout took the 15,000 most popular accounts on Twitter and gave each its own profile. Funnily enough, because of this, Donald Trump Jr, FC Barcelona, the NBA, and other random accounts have ended up with their own profiles. So while Elon Musk’s 357 coins are worth more than $65,000 each, the most popular and expensive coin on the website, the billionaire hasn’t claimed his profile and given BitClout consent to sell these coins on his behalf. Because BitClout is accruing a percentage of each purchase of creator coin, it is making money off of the sale of another person’s clout, bringing the platform several lawsuits, yet none strong enough to shut it down.
BitClout has hopped on the ever-growing crypto train and capitalized on a massive opportunity, allowing audiences to buy stock in their favorite people. While many are skeptics, others are seeing it as another step towards the future as the creator industry continues to grow. Now, people are more interested in their favorite internet personality rather than their favorite movie or show. With BitClout, everyone’s clout now has a price tag on it.