Tron’s DLive platform under indictment: hosted live broadcasts of US congressional attackers

Far-right protesters used the decentralised platform DLive to live-stream their violent uprising

DLive, a decentralised streaming platform that Justin Sun purchased and integrated into Tron in December 2019, was used on 6 January by several right-wing extremists to document their live assault on the US Congress building.

Moreover, some individuals also received donations during the Bitcoin Bank broadcast: since its foundation, the platform has been accused of enabling various extremist groups to raise „hundreds of thousands“ of dollars, mostly in crypto.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch blog, at least five DLive accounts broadcast Wednesday’s incredible protest live: ‚Murder the Media‘, ‚Loulz‘, ‚Woozuh‘, ‚Gloomtube‘ and ‚Baked Alaska‘. However, the organisation was able to confirm that only the user ‚Baked Alaska‘ actually broke into the Capitol Building.

Baked Alaska’s real name is Tim Gionet. A former Buzzfeed contributor with a strong social following, Gionet also participated in the August 2017 ‚Unite the Right‘ demonstration in Charlottesville, where violence and clashes occurred.

He was kicked off mainstream platforms, including Twitter and YouTube, for violating their terms of use

On 6 January, Gionet filmed himself inside the Capitol, including a live broadcast from the office of the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. Anchorage Daily News estimated that more than 16,000 viewers tuned in for the stream. Gionet received donations from viewers during the uprising, totaling $222.

DLive retains 25 per cent of all donations made through the platform, one-fifth of which is redistributed to other DLive users. Hatewatch stressed:

„Since its founding, DLive has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to extremists, largely through crypto donations embedded in a service provided by the site.“

In November, the blog reported that white nationalist Nick Fuentes, a key player in the „Stop the Steal“ protests that led to the storming of the Capitol Building, had „generated money through DLive equivalent to a six-figure salary“.

DLive responded publicly to the incident on 7 January, tweeting that it „does not tolerate illegal activity or violence“ and encouraging users to report channels that violate community guidelines.

DLive was not the only streaming platform used by the protesters: various feeds of the attack on the Capitol appeared on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Mainstream social platforms have sought to remove content that violates their terms of service, and a Facebook spokesperson said:

„The violent protests that took place in the Capitol today are a disgrace. We prohibit incitement and calls for violence on our platform. We are actively reviewing and removing any content that breaks these rules.“

A video posted by President Trump, in which he calls his supporters „special“, prompted major social platforms to act: Facebook blocked Trump’s account at least until the end of his term, and Twitter shut down the president’s profile for 24 hours. In response, decentralised social platform Gab, which prides itself on guaranteeing „free speech“, said it had contacted Trump’s team and reserved an account for him.

In December, Justin Sun announced that DLive would soon undergo an overhaul in order to integrate it with BitTorrent.