Bitclout: Crazy as a fox?

Bitclout makes a move. The controversial crypto-based social network received some key endorsements this week from Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong and a partner at influential VC firm Sequoia. Meanwhile, crypto exchange Blockchain announced that it would list Bitclout's token, and the New Yorker described the project – coins associated with individuals' fame and reputation – as a "democratizing force". All this follows a very tough rollout for Bitclout in March. Note that critics, including Decrypt, called the new site at the time a clumsy, privacy-violating disaster. Others complained of technical issues and suggested Bitclout's unusual registration pattern, where you had to exchange Bitcoin for Bitclout tokens to claim your profile, it smelled like a Ponzi scheme. Everything felt even weirder when the project's founder, Nader Al-Naji, insisted on hiding behind the "Diamondhands" nickname. [ad unit /] Now it's worth asking if these blatant missteps were intentional and whether Al-Naji was as crazy as a fox. That's the opinion of an investor who says this week's announcements are part of a carefully crafted communications strategy to generate excitement around the project. Of course, Bitclout's approach made negative headlines, but now everyone in crypto and many outside of it has heard of the site. It is also clear that other aspects of Bitclout's unusual presentation have been carefully calculated. For example, Al-Naji's use of the nickname "Diamondhands" gave the project a mystical twist, as did the struggle to access the site in the early days. Like the Clubhouse social app – another pet project by Bitclout investor Andreessen Horowitz – Al-Naji has restricted access to a handful of early influencers who later pass the link on to others. Nothing like exclusivity to create buzz. If you believe Bitclout's boosters, this is all part of a larger campaign to bring attention to an idea that collectively has time.

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