YouTube to Integrate New Tipping Feature – Let’s Talk About the Possibility of Bitcoin

Calvin Tran @@clvnthbld
June 5, 2014

YouTube recently released news about integrating a new direct-to-creator tipping/funding feature. This is most likely to compete against Vimeo’s Tip Jar feature. This is great news for content creators and YouTubers everywhere, but the potential could be largely expanded if YouTube includes Bitcoin.


Here’s the playing field between YouTube and Vimeo.

[dropcap size=small]Y[/dropcap]ouTube is owned by Google. Vimeo is owned by InterActiveCorp, which also owns CollegeHumor, OKCupid and many other sites. Vimeo already has their Tip Jar feature open. However, it is only open to paying members as well as they only process through PayPal. Youtube is still early and hush-hush on the details. What they did say is in this video (skip to 1:03):

‘…[A] lot of this funding happens off YouTube. So I’ve been thinking about how we can do this directly on YouTube, allowing fans to fund the creators that they really love.’

This video was posted along with their YouTube Creator blog on May 23 and what’s most likely going to happen is that this tipping feature will be opened to YouTube Partners.

Now, let’s speculate on the potential for Bitcoin integration:

Google happens to have a lot more positive ambitions for Bitcoin than the InterActiveCorp. Google Director of Ideas Jared Cohen had some very positive words for cryptocurrencies in a conversation with Google Chairman Eric Schmidt:

“I think it’s very obvious to all of us that cryptocurrencies are inevitable.”

Forbes reports that within Google, there are positive outlooks on integration. In a series of emails with Google executives and lieutenants, Palestinian Marketing Manager Jarar Malik was told this from Senior Vice President of Ads and Commerce Sridhar Ramaswamy:

“We are working in the payments team to figure out how to incorporate Bitcoin into our plans.”

Bitcoin could be a huge boost to Google’s competition with PayPal with their Google Wallet program, but more importantly, it would open up a huge possibility for an international community, one of which Google most certainly has an outreach for. However, nothing is at all set in stone for Google and their branches quite yet. Instead, OKCupid, an IAC subsidiary, already does accept Bitcoin. IAC itself has had very little to say about Bitcoin, but with Vimeo only utilizing PayPal, media integration of Bitcoin may be held back for now.

What made this news even more interesting is that I’ve been speaking with Sweeney Michael and Fereshteh Forough who have been working on a project called the Film Annex. They’re like this social media-meets-film distribution and finance organization that pays in Bitcoin. The reason why this is so important is that Bitcoin allows the Film Annex to connect with film makers literally from around the world. The liberating quality of Bitcoin’s global reach is what should be at the heart of the media, and its potential for YouTube’s massive international reach cannot be ignored.

The Verdict

I think the potential is there, but unless there is a large community making noise and backing this idea, the YouTube branch of Google may just limit itself to the United States Dollar or other fiats. To be honest, Google has that influence on our everyday. If they were to integrate Bitcoin, it may become as simple and consumer friendly as Gmail or YouTube itself.

More details on this feature will be coming soon in the upcoming weeks.
Featured image by Shutterstock.

Last modified (UTC): June 5, 2014 13:31