On late Friday, many users on BitClout began reporting they were unable to upload new images, and that older images were being replaced with an error message from Imgur.
The error seemingly began with Imgur disabling the BitClout API keys. BitClout has seen a major increase in usage over the past several weeks which has prompted heavy use of the Imgur API. The Imgur API was relied on exclusively for images on the BitClout.com node until Sunday.
The error was acknowledged shortly after beginning by @diamondhands in a series of clouts.
The BitClout blockchain that the BitClout.com node is using does not store the images on the blockchain. This decision by the BitClout.com node team was made due to the costs of storing images on the blockchain. At the time of the issue, the system was using Imgur to host all the images.
Images can be stored in a variety of formats that are both decentralized and centralized but how those images are stored can have a major impact on the amount of space or cost associated with them.
BitClout.com stores this image on a new end-point at images.bitclout.com as simply a raw JPG image that is stored here. This is the same manner in which most other social media services function.
Images have been stored on the Bitcoin blockchain in the past using HEX and if this image were to be converted to HEX it would appear this way in an IDE.
Currently, profile images are stored on the BitClout blockchain and are stored in the base64 format. The team behind BitClout believes that the profile image is an important part of your digital identity so they’ve stored the profile images that way on the blockchain.
If they’d apply store the same image from @Ducky in base64 format for formatting to the blockchain it would look something like this:
While the BitClout.com node isn’t using a decentralized service for images it will include the ability for node operators to make a choice regarding image storage. Operators of the nodes will have that choice according to more recent posts further elaborating on the situation by @diamondhands.
After a busy weekend of development, the BitClout team launched a new end-point and solution to the image issue on the BitClout.com node. This new end-point was custom built by the BitClout team.
The new software will allow node operators the ability to host an image hosting system alongside the BitClout node. Software that will also allow users the ability to backup and mirror the images will be released in the future as well.
After a rocky weekend with the images on BitClout, it seems that older images are returning and that a new more viable solution to images on BitClout has been found.