On Odysee: The Role of Blockchain Technology for Monetisation in the Far-Right Online Milieu

Authors: Paula Matlach, Dominik Hammer and Christian Schwieter

Published: 12 May 2023

This is a translation of a report first published in German on 10 August 2022 under the title “Auf Odysee: Die Rolle von Blockchain-Technologie für die Monetarisierung im rechtsextremen Onlinemilieu“.

Odysee is one of the “alternative” social media platforms identified by ISD Germany researchers as part of their project “Countering Radicalization in Right-Wing Extremist Online Subcultures,” funded by the German Federal Ministry of Justice. The video hosting portal, which markets itself as a YouTube alternative and hosts similar functions, relies on blockchain technology to provide platform-specific monetization opportunities that offer financial incentives. These “incentivized” platforms are structured to reward users for their activities – e.g. publishing, liking and distributing posts – by paying them cryptocurrencies.

The use of decentralized blockchain technology in this context is often accompanied by promises of unmoderated exchange and anonymity. This and the opportunities to make profits are particularly interesting for right-wing extremists, “lateral thinkers” and conspiracy ideologues, whose content is often deleted on established platforms and who rely on financial support from their supporters. In this way, right-wing extremists can not only disseminate anti-constitutional content on the Internet undisturbed, but even earn money from it.

For the far-right online milieu, Odysee serves as a regulation-free retreat or as part of a multiplatform strategy, or backup option. Whether it can be successful in the long run depends, among other things, on the fluctuating value of cryptocurrencies. Another determining factor is how investors who have lost money due to fraud or a drop in the value of cryptocurrencies on Odysee behave. As a crypto-related space, the platform is an ideal recruitment space for right-wing extremists who want to convince disappointed investors of their ideology.