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From a report: Keybase started off as co-founder and developer Max Krohn’s “hobby project” — a way for people to share PGP keys with a simple username-based lookup. Then Chris Coyne (who also was cofounder of OkCupid and SparkNotes) got involved and along came $10.8 million in funding from a group of investors led by Andreesen Horowitz. And then things got increasingly more complicated. Keybase aims to make public-key encryption accessible to everyone, for everything from messaging to file sharing to throwing a few crypto-coins someone’s way. But because of that level of accessibility, Keybase faces a very OkCupid kind of problem: after drawing in people interested in easy public-key crypto-based communications and then drawing in blockchain lovers with its partnership with (and funding from) Stellar.org, Keybase has also drawn in spammers and scammers. And that has brought a host of alerts and messages that have made what was once a fairly clear communications channel into one clogged with unwanted alerts, messages, and other unpleasantry — raising a chorus of complaints in Keybase’s open chat channel. It turns out there’s a reason spell check keeps wanting to tell me that Keybase should be spelled “debase.”
Keybase’s leadership is promising to do something to fix the spam problem — or at least make it easier to report and block abusers. In a blog post, Krohn and Coynes wrote, “To be clear, the current spam volume isn’t dire, YET. Keybase still works great. But we should act quickly.” But the measures promised by Keybase won’t completely eliminate the issue. And Keybase execs have no interest in getting involved with additional steps that they see as censorship. “Keybase is a private company and we do retain our rights to kick people out,” the co-founders said in the blog post. “That hammer will not be used because someone is mostly disliked, as long as they’re playing nicely on Keybase.”
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