Mike Solomon, owner of Bitcoin Megaphone, graciously took a few moments out of his busy day for a short CCN interview.
MB: What exactly is Bitcoin Megaphone?
Bitcoin Megaphone is the world’s first pay-per-character publishing platform. That’s a fancy way of saying it’s a public blog where anyone can post anything they want for .00001 BTC per character, completely anonymously.
In this regard, it’s like Twitter, but instead of being limited to 140 characters, you’re charged per character. So the only limit to the size of a post is the size of your wallet. Also, each post creates a virtual “tip jar” that can accept donations, and only the post’s author has the private key. This allows the authors to claim 100% of their tips while maintaining their anonymity.
This is where things get interesting. Every time someone creates a post, a “virtual tip jar” is automatically generated for that post. Each post has its own unique tip jar, and it’s baked right into each post’s URL.
And here’s the kicker – only the original creator of the post is given the keys to the tip jar. This is possible thanks to the ingenious system of public/private key generation that’s a part of the Bitcoin system. So anytime you see a post on Bitcoin Megaphone, you can send money to it and the author gets 100%.
This lets people get a return on their investment, and offers incentive to post and share funny, engaging, or timely content. Getting social currency in actual money is much more enticing than the meaningless Retweets and Likes we’re all so obsessed with.
MB: Can you share the inspiration behind creating Bitcoin Megaphone?
When I first started learning about Bitcoin in March 2014, I was shocked at how new the technology was and the relatively small (but growing) size of the community. I wanted to create something that was simple, fun, and could only be made with Bitcoin. Before Bitcoin, a service like this wouldn’t have been possible.
MB: Any new exciting features in the works?
Most of the development I’m doing these days focuses on security and ease of use. The basic mechanics of the ecosystem are set, so I’m working to sure it up and position it to scale. A good portion of my time is spent doing outreach. I feel like the site can be a huge benefit for authors, artists, and poets who in the past have notoriously found it difficult to self-publish and monetize.
MB: What would you say is the one really underutilized feature of Bitcoin megaphone is?
As the site grows, I see hashtags becoming a vital part of categorizing the information. There are still so few hashtags that people have used, which means there’s a lot of potential for people to claim the earliest and most visible posts for new hashtags. I’m also planning an API so that people can take the data and process it in new and interesting ways.
MB: What are some of your personal favorite posts?
There’s already a post that cost $15 where someone jokingly referenced the infamous Nigerian Prince scam email. It hasn’t gotten any tips yet, but I applaud the author’s balls.
MB: Speaking of posts, what do make of that crazy 5 BTC tip?
My guess is that people are tipping their own posts to boost their visibility. There’s no real way to prevent this, but viewing by “most tipped” is sure to attract some spammy behavior.
MB: Any other exciting Bitcoin or altcoin-related projects that you are working on?
This is really my only foray into BTC and cryptocurrency for now. My day job is working for Conde Nast in digital advertising, so I’ve got kind of a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide thing going on… by day I work in legacy media and by night I work to subvert it by exploring new publishing paradigms and revenue streams. It’s important to note that Bitcoin Megaphone and Conde Nast are in no way affiliated, whatsoever.
Before Bitcoin, it would have been impossible to create a website like this. There are no credit cards to hook up, no user accounts to create and spam with marketing emails; no annoying ads that disrupt the experience of exploration and discovery; no annoying comments to moderate. It’s just content and micropayments.
There are a lot of smart and talented people looking at micropayments as the future of online publishing. Personally, I have no idea how things will shake out, but I’m excited to keep watching this living breathing ecosystem evolve. Right now on the Internet, text is a commodity (think of those walls of text on your crazy friend’s Facebook page). Bitcoin Megaphone transforms strings of text from a commodity to a unique store of value.
For more information: BitcoinMegaphone.com
Featured image via BitcoinMegaphone.com
Disclosure: This author has no vested interest in Bitcoin Megaphone.