Berlin-based tech company SatoshiPay has released a beta version of their micropayments system which allows users to pay very small amounts of Bitcoin for content that they deem as tip-worthy. The payments are administered using blockchain technology and can be for amounts as small at 0.01 Euro or less.
While the concept of nanopayments isn’t entirely brand-new in the realm of Bitcoin or other currencies, the process has been streamlined and made much easier by SatoshiPay. Some of their potential competitors have chimed in on their progress as well offering praise for giving consumers new and better options to pay for and support content.
The company’s Founder and CEO Meinhard Benn explains:
Nanopayments can be fractions of a cent. They are instantly settled and can be executed at high frequency. Imagine a couple of payments per second by a single user.
From a content consumer’s standpoint, it’s just a few steps to charge up your SatoshiPay account with Bitcoin and start tipping wherever there are content providers using the beta version of SatoshiPay WordPress plugin. By default, you can charge your account with as little as 50,000 Satoshi (0.16 Euro) to 5,000,000 Satoshi (6.93 Euro).
This is a much more straight-forward method of tipping digital content or services than what’s available elsewhere. Rather than going to a PayPal or ChangeTip page or widget on a website and selecting the amount you want to donate, the pre-determined suggested amount is already present. They suggest going to Master Investor and tipping them for their content once you’ve topped up your account to test-drive the real process on an actual content providing site using SatoshiPay’s publisher platform, which has a suggested donation amount of 84,000 Satoshi in the floating widget embedded unobtrusively at the bottom of the page.
For content consumers, you’re dealing in currency amounts so small, it’s not painful or much of a hit to throw some literal change in the hat of a blog or business you like and frequent often. This isn’t unlike the concept of Protip, however, SatoshiPay’s user interface is clearly more polished and the WordPress plugin for content publishers is a bit more refined than simply pasting your Bitcoin wallet address into the HTML of all of your webpages for Protip to pick-up on. Plus the on-site action it takes to tip a page with a SatoshiPay widget is a bit more interactive than the Protip model, which allows a similar account top-up feature, but doesn’t give the on-screen gratification of sending the money.
Benn talks about the potential use-cases for his company’s product: “This enables completely new ways of monetizing web content and digital goods in general. In an increasingly digital society, nanopayments allow for new business models that existing payment technology cannot facilitate due to its fee structure and trust models.”
On the content publisher’s end, SatoshiPay offers a potential solution for the costly subject of adblocking. An option is given to the publisher to prompt for a payment if a user has an ad blocker or simply to take no action.
Benn says: “Users send a clear message by installing an ad blocker: They don’t want to see ads on websites. Locking them out of your site as a response is sending the wrong signal. Charge them a few cents or pennies and they will understand. We want to help transform users from involuntarily being a website’s product to being its consenting customer. That’s why we built this product.”
The WordPress plugin is totally free and is a strong play on an already massive market of blog and website owners who use the free platform. WordPress’ extremely user-friendly plugin eco-system allows for a very low-barrier to entry for users to give SatoshiPay a run on their site.
It will be interesting to see some independent case studies showing how this sort of approach works for both established and up-and-coming publishers alike over time. In the future SatoshiPay hopes to offer other funding options for its users to top-up their accounts with bank transfers and debit cards. One additional feature which could help speed adoption and community growth is a directory of content publishers which use SatoshiPay as a sort of content-discovery option for readers looking to find new content and also support content producers the way they feel most comfortable.
Featured image from Shutterstock. Screenshots from SatoshiPay.