What is Bluesky?
We are talking about a new platform that’s being built by Jack Dorsey, Twitter co-founder.
In 2019, Twitter announced it as a project to dip its toes in the Web3 ecosystem, and since then the Bluesky community has been working together to create an open protocol for social media, debating what it should include and what technologies it should be built on.
From Idea To Reality
Having started as a non-profit and currently in a research phase, a beta version of the dApp is now about to launch. Dorsey will present a new social network that aims to decentralize the information that floods platforms that he himself helped to develop earlier in his life.
It took some time after the announcement until Bluesky Public Benefit Limited Liability Company (PBLLC), the legal entity itself, was set up and received funding to become an organization to pursue their mission. Meanwhile, the bluesky community got organized and came into being.
Work In Progress
The development of the project from an idea into a community, and then into a company took three different stages:
- The Idea
One day in 2019 Jack Dorsey sent a tweet about it and that was what started the Bluesky ride: he announced Twitter’s intentions to fund the development of a decentralized social media platform. This movement brought the first bunch of interested people to exchange information in a Matrix chatroom, opening up discussion of what bluesky should be.
In 2020 Twitter put out a request for proposals in the bluesky community group: the ideas of its own participants was what really started shaping the project into reality. Later on, in the next year, Twitter started interviewing people for a leadership role and Golda Velez was chosen, a great professional who put together an independent organization that then received funding to take bluesky into its next steps.
- Bluesky PBLLC
At the end of 2021, Bluesky Public Benefit Limited Liability Company was established and funded as a formal company pursuing technical research and development. The community was kept as a separate organization that got funded by the Bluesky company to function as an inclusive forum.
- A Glance Into The Future
The plan going forward is for Bluesky to start spreading and having more conversations with companies besides Twitter. First, they have stated the need to finish setting up the development of the ongoing endeavors while the community continues to be a place for getting together and debating.
Hands On: The AT Protocol
Bluesky was created to build a decentralized network protocol, which first launch was called “ADX”. Fast forward through some design iterations, and you can picture what the Bluesky team has been working on: a simplified version of the first network protocol drop, aiming to be as user-friendly as possible.
ADX is now called the “Authenticated Transfer Protocol” — or, more simply, the “AT Protocol.” But, what is it? To put it simply, it’s a new federated social media channel that takes concepts and ideas from the latest decentralized technologies into a simplified and open network. Instead of one site running the network, you can have many sites, choose your provider, or even self-host as an individual or a business.
What makes AT Protocol unique?
- Account portability: Bluesky team believes a person's digital identity should not be owned by third parties with no accountability. The AT Protocol allows its users to own their online information, so they can move the account from one provider to another in an integral way.
- Algorithmic choice: Nowadays, algorithms dictate our digital reach and the content that gets shown to us. Bluesky believes users should have the right to decide on these topics. This is why the AT Protocol includes an open algorithms mode so users get to decide with autonomy and freedom what their digital world is going to look like.
- Interoperation: To ensure healthy competition in digital businesses, interoperation needs to be in place. What does this mean? The offering of a diverse market of connected services. The AT Protocol includes Lexicon, an interoperated framework that helps to solve coordination challenges.
- Performance: Bluesky puts performance as one of their priorities, so they are building for fast loading at large scales.
Although they’ve mostly been quiet on social media, the Bluesky team has been doing protocol work in a public repository on GitHub since May 2021. You can check out the work-in-progress AT Protocol website here.
Core Values & Community Building
“If Bluesky can enable open public conversation that is resistant to manipulation, yet in which players can innovate and evolve rapidly, then we really have something.” Golda Velez
Golda Velez is one of WhatsCookin's co-founder and angel investor, a platform that relates to building communities and also decentralizing control. When she was asked for her help to open up the bluesky community, she put together a team of developers and community-oriented people who could help her in this new quest.
The goal of the bluesky community is to incentivize collaboration in the Web3 ecosystem by serving as a friendly container for all interested folks. To name a few of the actions the team took, we can recall bridging Discord to a set of Matrix rooms, and the setup and production of the Community Voices audio series in collaboration with the Bluesky organization.
The topics for each episode explore key elements and challenges of the Web3 ecosystem, including Reputation, UX, Digital Identity and Storage, to name a few. They also invite leaders in the space to discuss technical and social points in the space, and include voices outside from the ecosystem from traditional and corporate backgrounds.
The bluesky community also shares the Bluesky objective of increasing the adoption of decentralized tech, and they do this by holding educational talks and forums, while also fostering small projects to give developers a chance to dip their toes into this new tech.
Non-developers are also welcome, since there are a lot of opportunities in marketing, communication and organization. If you want to know more about Bluesky, you can do so by reading all about it at https://blueskyweb.org/.
Coming Soon: The Bluesky App
The Bluesky team is also developing their work on an App format with the same name. They stated that the word “Bluesky” was chosen to evoke an open space where anything can happen: possibilities are endless when the space is granted. “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
At Rather Labs, we are excited for all the prospects that dApps like this will bring to the table. Building a decentralized and open sourced future is only possible with this kind of vision and core values. You can join the Bluesky private beta waitlist, or sign up for the Bluesky private beta here.