People of DeSo: brootle, part 1

Dean Reeds
5 min readMar 29, 2022
@brootle, prepared for an airstrike. “The idea is to protect eyes, head and body from glass in case windows break by shock wave.”
@brootle, prepared for an airstrike. “The idea is to protect eyes, head and body from glass in case windows break by shock wave.”

An occasional series featuring interviews with the people who make the Decentralized Social network (DeS0) so rich and unique.

Haven’t heard of DeSo? It’s a new social media platform that turns the tables on old-school giants Twitter, Facebook and the like. It enables people to own their own posts and be paid, along with all the usual benefits of a social network. You can read more about it here.

Featured today is the colourful, multi-talented and often controversial figure know online as “@brootle”. He’s been involved with almost every area of DeSo — NFTs,coding new projects, outing scammers and engaging in “vigorous debates” both on and off chain since the very early days of DeSo.

Dean: The Feb 24 invasion of your country by Russia has to be a pivotal moment in your life and your relationship with DeSo. I’d like to split my questions between your “backstory” and your current situation. Let’s start with the back story…

How’d you discover DeSo?

brootle: Hailey Lennon made a post on Twitter about BitClout, complaining that they copied her data. It was viral at that time in crypto news websites with the main message how everybody was mad at Nader for copying profiles from Twitter.

But my main motivation to join BitClout wasn’t just curiosity. This was the 1st decentralized blockchain-based social media where it was impossible to block my posts. I lost big accounts on Twitter twice.

I also had this idea that bitcoin can be used not only to store transaction data in the blockchain, but also to store messages and finally somebody made it work.

Dean: What were you focused on just before discovering DeSo? And what/who convinced you to find the time to contribute and interact here?

brootle: I wasn’t doing much really, just working as full stack dev in a company that provides video transcoding services.

As for crypto, I got my 1st bitcoins almost accidentally when one guy paid for some work in BTC, it was about $800 per bitcoin at that time. I still hodl it. And later I bought some cryptos during the 2017 hype, lol.

And I started mining with a laptop in Feb 2021 during the ETH mining hype. I bought a 2nd laptop just for mining. One year later, I basically have that laptop for free.

And I wasn’t really active on social platforms. So I just started to research what was possible with BitClout. Creator Coins was also a cool idea and I played with it to mostly learn some trading and as a way to support some people I liked.

Dean: I think you also have an equally large or larger Twitter following. Why bother also posting on DeSo?

brootle: On DeSo I can post and comment on anything, and I can not be banned even if something is offensive or disrespectful. If people don’t like something, they simply stop following or ban people they don’t like.

But when platforms like Twitter or Facebook are blocking or restricting profiles for something, that’s really a limitation of freedom of speech. Look at Elon, he cancelled Facebook and he’s mad at Twitter to the point where people start to believe that Elon is about making his own social platform where he can post what he wants.

Dean: You have an uncommon combination of contributions here: utility coding projects, NFT projects, frequent posts, interacting on Discord, etc. Prior to Feb 24, what aspects are you most proud of?

brootle: I got really excited with building my own client app @Gemstori to interact with data stored at DeSo blockchain purely via the DeSo API, meaning that I don’t even need to run my own node. I am using nodes run by community members.

I wasn’t happy with existing apps like BitClout or DiamondApp and I always had a plan to do my own but didn’t have time for it in Summer. So, when the weather changed, I got more time and was bored, so I just did it. @WhaleSharkdotPro’s post that offered backing for an Instagram-like app for DeSo was also a kind of trigger. Not sure what happened to the guy, he totally vanished from DeSo.

Dean: Your NFT series are ambitious — @FuckedUpPunks is an early generative series done on a platform without a lot of tools at the time. @FuckedUpTiles is a 10,000 generative drop and @FlyMan is another generative NFT series of 1,000. How do you feel about them at this time?

brootle: I will go back to them. First, I waited for some updates for DeSo protocol. “Buy now” was one of them. Later, I got busy with @Gemstori and now this war that Putin and his followers started against Ukraine again… so I just don’t feel like doing any NFTs. My kid @Sarvente has no school now — she’s the main NFT artist in the family today.

@FuckedUpPunks will go into the next stage when I have more variations for the generator. @FuckedUpTiles will have animated 3D visualisation that I actually already tested a long time ago. @FlyMan is a cool little project that has its own story, it’s fun and affordable for anyone.

Dean: You’ve also collected more than 100 NFTs on DeSo. What are a couple of your favourites from other creators?

brootle: Well, most of them were transferred to me. I’m not sure, maybe to attract more attention? Those that I did buy looked cool to me, so why not. It’s mostly a way to support creators, I have no idea about NFT flipping.

Dean: For us newer folks here, can you fill us in about your times catching @neslie and other art scammers? What tipped you off? Motivated you to dig?

brootle: Part of my work has always been profile verification, so I kind of know how scammers operate. I didn’t really pay attention to the @neslie account until she posted NFTs.

People just don’t become NFT artists overnight and if something looks too good to be true, it’s not true. Google image search is an easy to use tool. It was a pretty obvious scam, so when I see something like that, I report, that’s all. No big deal really.

Dean: What’s the genesis story of your @brootle handle? And how does it differ from your real-life self?

brootle: @brootle is derived from Google and Brutal. So it’s mostly my online social identity, doesn’t really have to match my real life identity. Funny that somebody reserved brootle at Gmail before me, I wanted to have something unique.

Dean: You’ve been called “competitive” and some people see you as going out of your way to stir things up. For example, naming your visual posting project “GemStori” when there were two similar projects underway — one called “Gem” and the other “Stori”. How has @brootle determined where to focus his DeSo.energy?

brootle: There is no specific goal or direction. I just see some opportunities and test how it works and where it can lead to. And at the end of the day, the winner takes it all. There is no more Gem and still no Stori. But GemStori has been up and running for a few months already.

Coming up in Part II: we discuss brootle’s current situation, how life has changed since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, his take on the future of DeSo and more. Please consider Following me for more DeSo related stories. I’m @dreeds on DeSo.

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Dean Reeds

Focused on spaces where people, projects, words and tech overlap. Find me on the Decentralized Social network at https://diamondapp.com/u/dreeds