Odysee, the self-proclaimed blockchain-based YouTube alternative and LBRY subsidiary is reportedly “providing a steady income stream” to hate groups and extremists via its crypto-based revenue system. This is according to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) first-ever Digital Threat Report.
Odysee uses the same technology that underpins its parent LBRY protocol and which its creator, former CEO, and crypto enthusiast Jeremy Kauffman describes as “the most censorship-resistant system to ever exist for the purposes of publishing digital content.”
Obysse also offers its own crypto called LBRY Credits (LBC) that creators can earn based on metrics like viewership numbers. It also accepts traditional payment methods like subscription fees and creator tips.
However, the SPLC claims that this crypto-based system, coupled with a “lax stance” on content moderation, makes Odysee “popular with content creators who have been removed from other sites for violating rules against hate speech and other harmful behavior.”
SPLC says this approach is likely based on Kauffman’s vision for Odysee as a platform where “anyone could speak and anyone could have a voice.”
In its closing statement, the firm said, “Odysee and other assets will undergo a legal process to satisfy debts, but Odysee has a bright future ahead.”
Odysee hosts Nazis, fascists, and white supremacists
According to the SPLC, this bright future includes an audience of neo-nazis, white nationalists, militant far-right groups, and fugitives.
Indeed, the organization’s research has identified a slew of extreme right-wing profiles active on the site. These include Robert Warren “Azzmador” Ray, a wanted fugitive charged with illegally pepper-spraying counterprotesters during the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. He has made $33,023 through the Odysee tip system.
Then there’s the Nordic Resistance Movement, a neo-Nazi group from Sweden that authorities claim has the capacity for terrorism.
One of the highest-earning extremist channels on Odysee is Blackpilled. Helmed by author Devon Stack, the channel has, so far, received more than $65,000 in tips. Stack wrote ‘Day of the Rope,’ which the SPCL describes as a “neo-fascist novel depicting a future America embroiled in a race war.”
According to the SPCL, 113 extremist channels have to date earned a collective total of $336,000 through either fiat or crypto tips.
As noted by the SPCL, Odysee has defended its moderation guidelines in the past. Researchers say that when videos from the Proud Boys appeared on the platform, Kauffman stated that groups similar to the militant far-right group “should be allowed to speak to others that want to hear them.”