Articles
December 2, 2021

The DeSo Cheat Sheet

A simple guide to understanding the advantages of the DeSo blockchain.

In the world of Web3, it is not uncommon for projects to get caught in a situation in which the narratives get ahead of the technology. However, the DeSo blockchain is in the enviable position of having its technology ahead of its narrative.

DeSo is the only blockchain that can actually support decentralized social media applications at scale. However, in spite of this incredible advantage, many in the wider Web3 community remain unaware of what makes DeSo so impressive.

The aim of this blog post is to provide very simple language that anyone can use to help others understand the unique advantages of the DeSo blockchain.

DeSo Core Blockchain

The Decentralized Social Blockchain (DeSo) Explained

What is DeSo?

DeSo is the first layer 1 blockchain custom-built to scale decentralized social media applications to billions of users.

So is DeSo built on another blockchain?

No, DeSo is its own separate layer 1 blockchain. It is not built on the Bitcoin blockchain, Ethereum blockchain or any other blockchain.

Is DeSo the same thing as Bitclout?

No, Bitclout was just the first proof of concept app built on DeSo. DeSo was designed to have a global community of developers building on top of it. Today there are over 100+ applications that are live on DeSo.

Many of these apps have more engagement and a better UX than the original Bitclout app.

Can’t you just build decentralized social media apps on Ethereum, Solana or Avalanche?

Unfortunately these other “general purpose” blockchains cannot scale decentralized social media applications because they weren’t built to support the unique storage/indexing requirements that social media apps require. 

Unlike financial apps, social media apps are a type of “infinite state application” which require much more storage. Due to the storage constraints, it would cost as much as $1.00+ just to send a like or follow someone on these other blockchains. 

Note: While Layer 2 solutions can help improve TPS, they do NOT solve the fundamental storage issue described above.


The cost of storing 1 Gigabyte of data on DeSo vs other layer-1 blockchains

What if you pair a layer 1 blockchain with a storage-focused blockchain like Filecoin, Arweave, or IPFS?

This is a common misconception in the Web3 space. Even if you leverage a storage-focused blockchain, you still need to store 200 bytes of text (i.e. a URL pointer) on the blockchain for each post, which still would cost $.10-$1.00+ each on general purpose blockchains.

Can’t you just use one pointer to reference a batched collection of posts?

Batching loses the ability to query AND to integrate financial features.

If you store everything as a single link, you can’t efficiently answer queries like "Find me the profiles of all the people who liked this post" or integrate financial elements like NFTs or tips.

Why do you need to store the content on-chain?

If you begin storing all social media content in a centralized location, it incentivizes apps/companies to hoard this data, sell it to advertisers and try to get users addicted (this is what we see today).
Additionally, by having the content available on the blockchain, any app can leverage the data, allowing a rich and diverse ecosystem of apps to emerge.

How exactly does DeSo solve the storage requirements of social media apps?

In software there is a concept of ‘database indexing’ which is essentially the way in which you structure and store information in a database. If you set up custom indexing that is built for a specific application type (i.e. social media) then you can store the content more efficiently and look up information much faster.

Financial apps have different indexing needs than social media apps. That is why we designed DeSo to solve for social media apps, while other blockchains are optimized for financial apps.

DeSo Ecosystem

DeSo ID and how it fits into the DeSo ecosystem

Which apps are available on DeSo?

Today there are over 100+ apps available on DeSo. These range from social media and NFT projects, to commerce and music.

You can check out some of them based on category at Bithunt.

How do I use apps on DeSo?

Every person that joins the DeSo network gets a ‘DeSo identity’. Similar to Metamask on Ethereum, your DeSo identity allows you to log in to ANY app built on the DeSo ecosystem, and bring your profile, followers, content and funds with you.

The best part is that we made the DeSo identity extremely easy to use. Instead of needing to remember a ‘seed phrase’ we provide the option to sign-up with Google, and then securely store your seed phrase in a secure location in your Google Drive that no one can access.

How can I start building on DeSo?

If you are interested in building a DeSo app, we recommend starting with our code walkthrough.
For support from the existing developer community, you can check out our developer channels on our official Discord.

How can I run a DeSo node?

If you are interested in running a DeSo node you can learn more in our developer docs

Running a DeSo Node grants you access to the ‘DeSo firehose’ (Every profile, post, follow, creator coin trade, etc).

Are there opportunities for funding?

Earlier this year we announced the Octane Fund, in which we are pouring $50M into decentralized social apps that are building on top of DeSo.

In the first round (which closed in November), we had 130+ apps apply. Of which, we are allocating $8M+ to ~12 venture backed teams, and an additional $800K in equity free development grants to ~20 other teams.

We will be reviewing applications for the next Octane Fund cohort in Q1 of 2022.

How can my app/company stay competitive if we don’t own the content?

Since DeSo is an open ecosystem, any team anywhere around the world can create a successful social media app by leveraging the tools and content already available.

This allows small teams to have the potential to have a large user base and revenues. Additionally, some projects may choose to keep certain content in their own centralized servers while still making general content (like profile information, posts, and followers) available on the blockchain.

DeSo Value Propositions

Why are DeSo apps better than centralized social media?

Today, all of the major social media applications are owned by big tech monopolies. These companies put walled gardens around their apps and users' data.

Additionally, since these companies have ad-driven business models, they are incentivized to addict their users and spread toxicity/misinformation.

Why are DeSo apps better for users?

There are a number of reasons why DeSo apps present a better experience for users. The first is that users actually own all of their data. With the click of a button you can easily bring your profile, content and funds over to a new DeSo app.

DeSo is also a censorship resistant ecosystem. If a single app chooses to ban someone, that person can easily go find a new app and take all of their data with them.

Lastly, we believe DeSo apps will be healthier for users in the long run. Because DeSo apps don’t rely on ads, they aren’t incentivized to addict their users or spread toxicity to keep them on the platform.

Why are DeSo apps better for creators?

Historically, the creators that have made social media apps valuable have not been properly compensated for their work, with all the revenue flowing to the big tech monopolies instead.

With DeSo, creators have many ways to monetize thanks to the underlying ‘money-native’ features of the DeSo blokchain.

One way is with their creator coins, in which users can invest in a creator/influencer & a portion of those investments flow to the creator.

Another is by selling NFTs, which creators can do with one-click on apps like Diamond and Polygram, and earning perpetual royalties on resale. Royalties can also flow to creators' coin-holders.

Another is with social tipping via ‘Diamonds’. Think of a diamond as a like button but with actual money attached. Creators on DeSo have earned thousands of $ in tips in a single day from only a few hundred followers.

And that's just the beginning. The developer community will continue to invent new and innovative ways for creators to monetize because DeSo is a fundamentally open platform.

The DeSo Foundation

Who is the team behind DeSo?

The DeSo blockchain creation was led by Nader Al-Naji. Previously, Nader studied at Princeton, before working at D.E. Shaw and Google. He also raised $140M for his last crypto company 'Basis'.

In addition to Nader, the core DeSo Foundation team is rapidly expanding with new additions like Alex Valaitis, a former product leader at LinkedIn and Intuit, and a strong engineering team from companies like Google and other bluechip startups.

What is the DeSo Foundation?

The DeSo Foundation is a non-profit whose broad mission is to support the decentralization of social media. The foundation is led by Nader, and consists of a core team that helps drive development of the layer 1 blockchain, and supports the teams building on top of DeSo.

The DeSo Foundation has a $200M+ treasury which it has been using to help drive development and support the ecosystem (see the $50M Octane Fund).

DeSo Foundation Investors – a16z, Coinbase Ventures, Social Capital, Winklevoss Capital


Who are the investors in DeSo?

The DeSo Foundation boasts a wide range of blue chip VC companies including: A16Z, Coinbase Ventures, Social Capital, Sequoia and Winklevoss Capital. Additionally there are a number of angel investors backing the project like Chamath Palihapitiya, Alexis Ohanian, and Dharmesh Shah among others.

The $DESO Coin

What is the $DESO coin?

$DESO is the underlying native cryptocurrency for the DeSo blockchain. Similar to BTC (on Bitcoin blockchain) or ETH (on Ethereum blockchain), $DESO is used directly by the underlying blockchain to incentivize participants in the network and pay the nodes that support the blockchain.

This is an important difference from a ‘token’ which is a digital token that sits on top of a blockchain but is not the native cryptocurrency. Examples include DAI and COMP, which are tokens on Ethereum.

What is the $DESO distribution?

$DESO was distributed via a bonding curve, with over 44,000 purchases and no one entity owning more than 5% of the supply other than founders, who collectively own less than 20%.

Where can I buy and trade $DESO?

Today you can buy and sell $DESO on blockchain.com or AscendEX (Bitmax). We hope to add other exchanges in the future.

Getting involved

What is the best way to support DeSo?

There are a number of ways to support DeSo. These include signing up and being active on DeSo apps, holding $DESO, or building on top of the DeSo blockchain.

How can I continue to receive updates about DeSo?

To stay up-to-date with the latest DeSo information:

-Subscribe to our newsletter

-Follow us on Twitter

-Join our official Discord

In the world of Web3, it is not uncommon for projects to get caught in a situation in which the narratives get ahead of the technology. However, the DeSo blockchain is in the enviable position of having its technology ahead of its narrative.

DeSo is the only blockchain that can actually support decentralized social media applications at scale. However, in spite of this incredible advantage, many in the wider Web3 community remain unaware of what makes DeSo so impressive.

The aim of this blog post is to provide very simple language that anyone can use to help others understand the unique advantages of the DeSo blockchain.

DeSo Core Blockchain

What is DeSo?

DeSo is the first layer 1 blockchain custom-built to scale decentralized social media applications to billions of users.

So is DeSo built on another blockchain?

No, DeSo is its own separate layer 1 blockchain. It is not built on the Bitcoin blockchain, Ethereum blockchain or any other blockchain.

Is DeSo the same thing as Bitclout?

No, Bitclout was just the first proof of concept app built on DeSo. DeSo was designed to have a global community of developers building on top of it. Today there are over 100+ applications that are live on DeSo.

Many of these apps have more engagement and a better UX than the original Bitclout app.

Can’t you just build decentralized social media apps on Ethereum, Solana or Avalanche?

Unfortunately these other “general purpose” blockchains cannot scale decentralized social media applications because they weren’t built to support the unique storage/indexing requirements that social media apps require. 

Unlike financial apps, social media apps are a type of “infinite state application” which require much more storage. Due to the storage constraints, it would cost as much as $1.00+ just to send a like or follow someone on these other blockchains. 

Note: While Layer 2 solutions can help improve TPS, they do NOT solve the fundamental storage issue described above.


What if you pair a layer 1 blockchain with a storage-focused blockchain like Filecoin, Arweave, or IPFS?

This is a common misconception in the Web3 space. Even if you leverage a storage-focused blockchain, you still need to store 200 bytes of text (i.e. a URL pointer) on the blockchain for each post, which still would cost $.10-$1.00+ each on general purpose blockchains.

Can’t you just use one pointer to reference a batched collection of posts?

Batching loses the ability to query AND to integrate financial features.

If you store everything as a single link, you can’t efficiently answer queries like "Find me the profiles of all the people who liked this post" or integrate financial elements like NFTs or tips.

Why do you need to store the content on-chain?

If you begin storing all social media content in a centralized location, it incentivizes apps/companies to hoard this data, sell it to advertisers and try to get users addicted (this is what we see today).
Additionally, by having the content available on the blockchain, any app can leverage the data, allowing a rich and diverse ecosystem of apps to emerge.

How exactly does DeSo solve the storage requirements of social media apps?

In software there is a concept of ‘database indexing’ which is essentially the way in which you structure and store information in a database. If you set up custom indexing that is built for a specific application type (i.e. social media) then you can store the content more efficiently and look up information much faster.

Financial apps have different indexing needs than social media apps. That is why we designed DeSo to solve for social media apps, while other blockchains are optimized for financial apps.

DeSo Ecosystem

Which apps are available on DeSo?

Today there are over 100+ apps available on DeSo. These range from social media and NFT projects, to commerce and music.

You can check out some of them based on category at Bithunt.

How do I use apps on DeSo?

Every person that joins the DeSo network gets a ‘DeSo identity’. Similar to Metamask on Ethereum, your DeSo identity allows you to log in to ANY app built on the DeSo ecosystem, and bring your profile, followers, content and funds with you.

The best part is that we made the DeSo identity extremely easy to use. Instead of needing to remember a ‘seed phrase’ we provide the option to sign-up with Google, and then securely store your seed phrase in a secure location in your Google Drive that no one can access.

How can I start building on DeSo?

If you are interested in building a DeSo app, we recommend starting with our code walkthrough.
For support from the existing developer community, you can check out our developer channels on our official Discord.

How can I run a DeSo node?

If you are interested in running a DeSo node you can learn more in our developer docs

Running a DeSo Node grants you access to the ‘DeSo firehose’ (Every profile, post, follow, creator coin trade, etc).

Are there opportunities for funding?

Earlier this year we announced the Octane Fund, in which we are pouring $50M into decentralized social apps that are building on top of DeSo.

In the first round (which closed in November), we had 130+ apps apply. Of which, we are allocating $8M+ to ~12 venture backed teams, and an additional $800K in equity free development grants to ~20 other teams.

We will be reviewing applications for the next Octane Fund cohort in Q1 of 2022.

How can my app/company stay competitive if we don’t own the content?

Since DeSo is an open ecosystem, any team anywhere around the world can create a successful social media app by leveraging the tools and content already available.

This allows small teams to have the potential to have a large user base and revenues. Additionally, some projects may choose to keep certain content in their own centralized servers while still making general content (like profile information, posts, and followers) available on the blockchain.

DeSo Value Propositions

Why are DeSo apps better than centralized social media?

Today, all of the major social media applications are owned by big tech monopolies. These companies put walled gardens around their apps and users' data.

Additionally, since these companies have ad-driven business models, they are incentivized to addict their users and spread toxicity/misinformation.

Why are DeSo apps better for users?

There are a number of reasons why DeSo apps present a better experience for users. The first is that users actually own all of their data. With the click of a button you can easily bring your profile, content and funds over to a new DeSo app.

DeSo is also a censorship resistant ecosystem. If a single app chooses to ban someone, that person can easily go find a new app and take all of their data with them.

Lastly, we believe DeSo apps will be healthier for users in the long run. Because DeSo apps don’t rely on ads, they aren’t incentivized to addict their users or spread toxicity to keep them on the platform.

Why are DeSo apps better for creators?

Historically, the creators that have made social media apps valuable have not been properly compensated for their work, with all the revenue flowing to the big tech monopolies instead.

With DeSo, creators have many ways to monetize thanks to the underlying ‘money-native’ features of the DeSo blokchain.

One way is with their creator coins, in which users can invest in a creator/influencer & a portion of those investments flow to the creator.

Another is by selling NFTs, which creators can do with one-click on apps like Diamond and Polygram, and earning perpetual royalties on resale. Royalties can also flow to creators' coin-holders.

Another is with social tipping via ‘Diamonds’. Think of a diamond as a like button but with actual money attached. Creators on DeSo have earned thousands of $ in tips in a single day from only a few hundred followers.

And that's just the beginning. The developer community will continue to invent new and innovative ways for creators to monetize because DeSo is a fundamentally open platform.

The DeSo Foundation

Who is the team behind DeSo?

The DeSo blockchain creation was led by Nader Al-Naji. Previously, Nader studied at Princeton, before working at D.E. Shaw and Google. He also raised $140M for his last crypto company 'Basis'.

In addition to Nader, the core DeSo Foundation team is rapidly expanding with new additions like Alex Valaitis, a former product leader at LinkedIn and Intuit, and a strong engineering team from companies like Google and other bluechip startups.

What is the DeSo Foundation?

The DeSo Foundation is a non-profit whose broad mission is to support the decentralization of social media. The foundation is led by Nader, and consists of a core team that helps drive development of the layer 1 blockchain, and supports the teams building on top of DeSo.

The DeSo Foundation has a $200M+ treasury which it has been using to help drive development and support the ecosystem (see the $50M Octane Fund).


Who are the investors in DeSo?

The DeSo Foundation boasts a wide range of blue chip VC companies including: A16Z, Coinbase Ventures, Social Capital, Sequoia and Winklevoss Capital. Additionally there are a number of angel investors backing the project like Chamath Palihapitiya, Alexis Ohanian, and Dharmesh Shah among others.

The $DESO Coin

What is the $DESO coin?

$DESO is the underlying native cryptocurrency for the DeSo blockchain. Similar to BTC (on Bitcoin blockchain) or ETH (on Ethereum blockchain), $DESO is used directly by the underlying blockchain to incentivize participants in the network and pay the nodes that support the blockchain.

This is an important difference from a ‘token’ which is a digital token that sits on top of a blockchain but is not the native cryptocurrency. Examples include DAI and COMP, which are tokens on Ethereum.

What is the $DESO distribution?

$DESO was distributed via a bonding curve, with over 44,000 purchases and no one entity owning more than 5% of the supply other than founders, who collectively own less than 20%.

Where can I buy and trade $DESO?

Today you can buy and sell $DESO on blockchain.com or AscendEX (Bitmax). We hope to add other exchanges in the future.

Getting involved

What is the best way to support DeSo?

There are a number of ways to support DeSo. These include signing up and being active on DeSo apps, holding $DESO, or building on top of the DeSo blockchain.

How can I continue to receive updates about DeSo?

To stay up-to-date with the latest DeSo information:

-Subscribe to our newsletter

-Follow us on Twitter

-Join our official Discord

Want to decentralize social media and save the internet? Start building or apply to the DeSo Foundation!

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