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What is Bluesky? Future of Twitter’s decentralised social networking project uncertain after Musk takeover

By Raphael Sanis

Edited by Charlie Mellor

12:40, 31 October 2022

A smartphone shows Elon Musk's Twitter profile next to the Twitter bird logo
Bluesky was founded by Twitter in 2019, but has since gone independent as a public benefit LLC – Photo: Shutterstock

As Elon Musk starts to make transformative changes on Twitter (TWTR) following his takeover of the company, attention has shifted to the social media network’s decentralised project Bluesky.

Bluesky was originally created in 2019 while Jack Dorsey was still CEO of Twitter. Its mission was to develop a decentralised protocol that could be interoperable with Twitter and other networks.

The project then transitioned into a public benefit LLC in 2021, granting it independence from Twitter – and Elon Musk.  

Twitter (TWTR) share price chart

However, Musk has previously been in favour of an open-source and blockchain social media network. Leaked private text messages revealed Musk’s plans for a crypto-version of Twitter.

Musk has since backtracked on this idea, but his stance on the Bluesky project and any future funding is unknown.

What is Bluesky?

Bluesky’s vision is for an “open social media ecosystem” that gives developers more opportunities to build and develop applications. Meanwhile, users will have control over their experiences, data and services of choice.

The project has developed the AT Protocol to achieve this. It enables users to control their accounts and decide which network can access it. AT Protocol also has a transparent algorithm and high performance for “fast loading at large scales”.

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Bluesky is a social app that is described as the browser to access the protocol. A blog post explained: “We’re calling the application we’re building Bluesky because it will be a portal to the world of possibility on top of the AT Protocol.”

Jay Graber is CEO of the Bluesky company, while Dorsey and the inventor of XMPP protocol Jeremie Miller are on the board.

How will it be affected by Musk’s takeover?

It is not looking like Musk’s takeover of Twitter will have a great impact on the decentralised project. Graber tweeted:

“Very curious to see where Elon is going to take Twitter. Very glad we’re independent – will keep working on building protocols that make social more resilient to rapid change. Nobody can buy ‘email‘ as a platform, and that’s a good thing.”

Bluesky’s move to independence in 2021 was originally for it to maintain its decentralised goal and focus on development. But, it could be perceived as fortuitous now as Musk starts making cuts in the company.

Next steps for Bluesky

Almost two weeks ago, Bluesky revealed an update on the project and a roadmap for its coming phases. It said:

“The next step is to start testing the protocol. Distributed protocol development is a tricky process. It requires coordination from many parties once a network is deployed.”

The Bluesky team has decided on a private beta to achieve this coordination and “iron out issues”.

Developers and users can sign up to the waiting list to join this beta. Meanwhile, Bluesky said it would continue to update the community about its progress and next stages.

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