Last week I had a crazy idea for a website. This week I’m proud to announce BitcoinMegaphone.com. Let me explain the idea and why I’m so excited about it.
The website is based on two basic rules: Anyone can post, and anyone can profit.
Rule 1: Anyone can post
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.
If you wanted to post a message the length of a tweet (140 characters), it would cost around $0.08 (based on the current Bitcoin/USD exchange). Posting just a bit.ly URL costs around a penny. If you want to stand out and post a chunk of text, the price (along with the post’s visibility) goes up.
So that’s the first part of the website. It’s got kind of a “Million Dollar Homepage” vibe to it. Ok, so far so good.
Rule 2: Anyone can profit
This is where things get interesting.
Every time someone creates a post, a “virtual tipjar” 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 any time 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.
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:
On the opposite end of the spectrum, here’s a post where the author only spent $0.08, but has already made $0.40 in tips, making about 4x his/her investment. (It’s a cute emoticon, by the way):
Why I’m Stoked
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. And that’s some pretty interesting shit.
PS – I was considering posting this entire post on Bitcoin Megaphone for $21.30, but decided it would be weird on launch day :-p