22 Jan '14

Bitcoin Education Bot For Twitter

BitcoinEDU has launched a whole new website dedicated to providing basic information for Bitcoin newcomers.


The Bitcoin Education Bot watches the Twitter stream for questions about Bitcoin and will attempt to give a clear answer. Tweeters don’t need to ask the bot directly. The bot is watching the stream and will reply to tweets automatically.

Frequently, the question “What is bitcoin?” pops up in the stream from the general public.

The bot attempts to answer tweets intelligently and succinctly. It’s difficult to summarized the true nature of Bitcoin in just 140 characters.


For example, variations of the question “what is bitcoin” will result in a one of the following answers:

"Bitcoin is a payment network that enables transfer of money over the internet. The currency used on the network are bitcoins."
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"Think about Bitcoin as being a technology and a form of money. It is a currency and payment network."
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"The underlying technology behind Bitcoin solves a long standing problem in computer science. Distributed consensus."
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"Bitcoin is a currency that is created electronically and exchanged between users without passing by a financial intermediary."
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"Bitcoin is a digital currency, able to transmit value globally, instantly, securely, and is far more valuable than email."
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"Bitcoin is an invention that allows distributed consensus over a shared asset ledger without counter-party risk."
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Other questions will be answered too, such as “is bitcoin legal” with the bot answering:

"Bitcoin is increasingly being looked upon by lawmakers positively. There have been no sweeping bans in any country."
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Dozens of questions and corresponding multiple/varying answers have been included and more will be added as the Bitcoin Education Bot evolves.

Tweeting News and Quotes

Follow @BitcoinEdu for popular bitcoin-related tweets and news.

The bot also tweets educational quotes, inspired by Andreas Antonopoulos, as showcased in the post 66 Bitcoin Quotes in 140 Characters Or Less.


You can find the Bitcoin Education Bot at @BitcoinEdu

UPDATE: The Bitcoin Education Bot Got Schooled By Twitter

@BitcoinEdu is up and running. The following notes are kept here for history’s sake.

Just 12 hours after launching, Twitter suspended @BitcoinEdu for breaching the terms of service.

Since being featured on the front page of the Bitcoin sub-Reddit, hundreds of tweets mentioning the reddit post title that included the question “what is bitcoin” were replied to promptly by the bot.

All that activity was from an account that was no more than 12 hours old, so I don’t blame twitter for their response. It would appear very spammy. However …

Why The Bitcoin Education Bot Is Not Spam

Twitter is a public forum, so when someone (even a stranger) asks a specific question, they deserve a direct answer. When I’m on Twitter, I would be inclined to reply to those people manually, but I believe the bot can do a better, more thorough job 24/7.

So, if a user on a public forum asks a question, a response is not unsolicited. It IS solicited. The user wants an answer.

Suspension Has Been Appealed

I have appealed the account’s suspension to Twitter.

Here is my letter.

Dear Twitter, You rock!

I’m an advocate for Bitcoin, the open source digital payment network.

I have written a Bitcoin Education Bot that behaves just like the @urbandictionary bot.

The @urbandictionary bot replies to users with a dictionary word definition for those who tweet “Define {word}”. Tweeters don’t need to @mention the bot or use a #hashtag to get an answer.

The Bitcoin Education Bot @bitcoinedu uses the API to read the search stream using the term “bitcoin OR bitcoins -http -https”.

When a tweet that contains a question relating to bitcoin is asked, the bot will @reply with an answer.

For example:
Q: “What {is|the {hell|heck} is} Bitcoin?” A: “@handle Bitcoin is a payment network that enables transfer of money over the internet. The currency used on the network are bitcoins.”

Other well-defined bitcoin questions can be asked by users and subsequently answered by the bot.

The bot will only @reply to the user when it has identified a specific question. Answers also vary for the same question from different users.

The bot is NOT used for commercial purposes.

Regarding your policy:

If you are automatically sending @reply messages or Mentions to many users, the recipients must request or approve this action in advance. For example, sending automated @replies based on keyword searches is not permitted.

As Twitter is a public forum, users frequently ask questions and expect to receive an answer; whether the answer comes from a follower or a non-follower.

Since the Bitcoin Education Bot will *only* answer bitcoin related questions that are posed in a specific predetermined format, the bot’s answer is solicited.

The purpose of my letter is to request that Twitter grant allowance of the bot to operate, within the strict guidelines of only responding to narrowly defined questions about Bitcoin.

@bitcoinedubot is currently suspended.

View the bot’s page at http://igotbitcoin.com/bitcoinedubot/

I request un-suspension of the account @bitcoinedu

Please get back to me with a decision.


Suspension Has Been LIFTED

I’m impressed with Twitter’s developer support. They have no issue with the bot and have removed the suspension on 3rd Feb 2014.

Username has been changed to @BitcoinEdu and is now back online and answering questions.