Bluesky Secures $8 Million Seed Round, Introduces Paid Service

Bluesky, the decentralized social network protocol, has announced significant developments as it seeks to establish itself as a leading alternative to traditional social media platforms. The company recently raised $8 million in a seed funding round led by Neo, a community-led firm, and supported by prominent investors including co-founder Ali Partovi and former Twitter PM Suzanne Xie. This investment will be utilized to expand Bluesky’s team, manage operational costs, and further enhance the AT Protocol, the backbone of the Bluesky app.

Bluesky’s transition from a public benefit LLC to a public benefit C Corp has enabled it to gain more independence and chart its own course. With its commitment to open and decentralized technologies, Bluesky aims to create an ecosystem that prioritizes user data ownership and privacy.

“Our mission and board have stayed the same, but along with this conversion, we’ve raised funding from an array of values-aligned investors who share our vision for an open and decentralized commons for public conversation,” the company said in its blog. “Our goal for this raise was to find new partners and to give ourselves room to grow the network and experiment with new business models.”

Traditional advertising-based models, where users are often treated as products, are not aligned with Bluesky’s core principles. Instead, the company intends to experiment with various strategies and services to deliver real value to its users while ensuring data privacy.

To initiate this new approach, Bluesky will introduce paid services, starting with custom domains. Previously, users had the option to set a custom domain as their handle, and over 13,000 of Bluesky’s 100,000+ users have taken advantage of this feature. However, the existing process required users to possess knowledge of domain registrars and DNS settings. With the introduction of the paid service, Bluesky aims to simplify the setup of custom domains, allowing users to establish their unique online identities in just minutes.

“Domains have so much potential as a personalized way to customize identities and as a decentralized way to verify reputation that builds off the existing web. For example, U.S. Senators have used the domain to verify their identity on Bluesky without our involvement, and a third-party developer built a web extension that checks if websites are linked to an AT Protocol identity,” the company added.

Bluesky has partnered with Namecheap, a renowned domain registrar, to facilitate the purchase and management of custom domains. The collaboration ensures a seamless and secure experience for users seeking to integrate custom domains with the Bluesky platform. Details of the partnership agreement between Bluesky and Namecheap have not been disclosed, but it is expected to include a revenue-sharing arrangement based on domain name purchases.

In addition to custom domains, Bluesky plans to explore other services that can further enhance user experiences in the future. The company’s recent expansion of its feature set and moderation guidelines, along with its openness to public feedback, demonstrates its commitment to continuously improving and refining its platform.

The announcement comes before Meta launched its Instagram’s answer to Twitter, Threads. Bluesky was initially a project funded by Twitter but the relationship ended when Elon Musk took over the company.

“As you might recall, Bluesky started as a project funded and supported by Twitter, and even after our incorporation as a separate company, we retained a close relationship with them. However, once Twitter changed hands, the relationship was terminated, and our original plan of building the AT Protocol to support Twitter as a client was no longer possible,” the company explained.

Information for this briefing was found via TechCrunch and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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