Billionaire Frank McCourt: ‘Dodgy Cryptocurrencies and Silly NFTs’ Have Spoiled Blockchain’s Narrative

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Billionaire Frank McCourt: 'Dodgy Cryptocurrencies and Silly NFTs' Have Spoiled Blockchain's Narrative


Billionaire real estate developer Frank McCourt took aim at ” dodgy cryptocurrencies and silly NFTs” for spoiling the narrative around blockchain.

Speaking at Web Summit 2023, McCourt noted that his own project, open internet protocol DSNP, was not tokenized. “Dodgy cryptocurrencies and silly NFTs are not the same as core technology that can actually help make the internet better for us,” he said, adding that “the narrative has been spoiled somewhat.”

Blockchain has the potential to “fix the internet,” he said. “And by fix, I mean identity, provenance, verifiable attributes, attestation. Those are the things actually the blockchain does extremely well: immutable fact, non-corruptible information.”

DSNP, or Decentralized Social Network Protocol, employs Frequency, a layer-1 parachain on Polkadot, for the “foundational implementation of the social graph and public message routing”—though it takes pains to note that its social graph is “not linked to any financial incentives by crypto tokens or private company database servers.”

McCourt and Project Liberty

McCourt, who in 2022 stepped down as CEO of real estate firm McCourt Global to focus on his non-profit Project Liberty, took to the stage at Web Summit to unveil a manifesto for a “better web.”

In the manifesto, McCourt argued that big tech and social media platforms have done “profound damage” to society, creating a “techno-capital engine, incentivized to stalk, manipulate, and prey upon people.” He added that AI could act as a “powerful accelerant” for these negative trends, calling for internet users to “own your data and take back your digital rights.”

“Project Liberty is pro-technology,” McCourt said on-stage. “But it’s not pro-autocratic, centralized surveillance technology.”

He added that DSNP has already migrated over 170,000 users of Web2 social media platform MeWe to its protocol, and expects the number to hit 300,000 by the end of the year, and over a million by the end of Q1 2024.

McCourt argued that, “Rather than us clicking on the Terms of Use set by five big giant platforms, what if the new apps are clicking on our Terms of Use, for how our data gets used?”

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