To many Americans, Joe Rogan is famous as the “Face of the UFC”, and his daily podcast is one of the most listened to in the US. This week, in the wake of the alt-right’s major spokesman Alex Jones’ continued ban from much of social media, Rogan has been discussing Peepeth, the Ethereum–based Twitter alternative that is not censored.
In US popular culture, the name Joe Rogan is currently synonymous with two things, the UFC and podcasting. However, the 51-year old from New Jersey actually began his career in entertainment as a stand-up comedian, and then had a spell as a fairly successful actor, appearing in a couple of Disney Channel sitcoms.
However, when Rogan was employed to interview and the commentate on the combatants taking part in the relatively new competition called the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Champion) in the mid-1990s, it was if he had finally found his true calling. Rogan proved a great fit for the fledgling competition, and soon became an authority on the sport of MMA (mixed martial arts) and its fighters. He also became as famous as any UFC fighter.
While working as a presenter, Rogan, who had a background in wrestling and Taekwondo, began to learn Brazilian jiu-jitsu under the illustrious Carlson Gracie at his school in Hollywood, California. Rogan is now a Black Belt in two different MMA disciplines.
The Joe Rogan Experience
The stellar job Rogan had done presenting the UFC led to more TV work, such as the gameshow Fear Factor, and the Discovery Channel’s investigative Joe Rogan Questions Everything. In 2009, he began presenting his podcast The Joe Rogan Experience, in which he chats casually and informally in his studio with his guest of the day.
Initially his guests came from the world of the UFC, but as the show has grown in popularity, some of the biggest names in entertainment, sports and even politics have appeared on the show, including Metallica’s James Hetfield, Jamie Foxx, Russell Brand, Mel Gibson, Lance Armstrong, Steven Tyler, Alex Jones and Milo Yiannopoulos. The Joe Rogan Experience is now one of the biggest podcasts in the world, with 20 million downloads per month.
In an episode of The Joe Rogan Experience earlier this week, Joe and his guest US country-rock singer-songwriter Shooter Jennings discussed controversial alt-right spokesman Alex Jones, who has been suspended from multiple social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter due to his ultra-right wing views and opinions. Rogan and Jennings were of the opinion that Jones is being victimized and singled out because of his views. As America prides itself on its First Amendment and freedom of speech, the behavior of these platforms has been somewhat hypocritical and overly controlling.
It was at that point that Jennings introduced Rogan to Peepeth, which is rapidly becoming an alternative to Twitter. Peepeth is a decentralized, Ethereum-based social media platform. Peepeth appears to allow anyone to release permanent tweets embedded into the blockchain, without censorship. Here’s Jennings’ quote:
“There is this thing called Peepeth, it’s a Twitter alternative, it’s just starting. It’s kind of like Twitter but it’s built on the back of Ethereum and so every Tweet or every message you send on it is embedded in the blockchain of Ethereum.”
Jennings then explained to Rogan that decentralized systems allow individuals to make statements and initiate activities that are not monitored by or restricted by a central authority, unlike other social media platforms.
“You can’t delete anything because it is permanently embedded into the blockchain. I think up to 10 of your messages can be logged in one block of the Ethereum chain so you have to pay a cent of it, they give you some to begin with, and when somebody messages you, it’s kind of like a microtransaction to you, so you have this kind of balance. It sounds complicated but it’s cool. I don’t know if it will become the next rage but it is technologically really fun.”
Of course, the one glaring downside to such a lack of authority on a social media platform is that terrorist organizations or even sick individuals could post horrific imagery with total impunity, and that imagery would remain on that platform for as long as it existed. Peepeth sounds like a great idea initially, but it also seems like a platform that is set up to be abused, and used to abuse others.