Social media has been around since the infancy of the internet, beginning with BBS and CompuServe in the ‘80s and ‘90s which allowed members to share files and access news and events.
Now, Facebook and Twitter are arguably the kings of social media, but ChangeTip wants to lead a new era of social media where you can share more than cat pictures.
ChangeTip aims to transform social networking forever by introducing “the money layer of social media.” Recent integration with the social sound platform, SoundCloud, is evidence of ChangeTip’s commitment to becoming the biggest platform dedicated to the exchange of money in the digital universe.
“It’s the transformative nature of where technology is taking us,” says ChangeTip’s Kyle Kemper.
The heavily requested integration is good news for users and producers of music. Now for the first time, supporters of indie artists can tip their favorite musicians and directly express appreciation for their content. But ChangeTip is not stopping there. Future plans include integration with other music platforms like Spotify, as well as Meetup.
“The demand can get pretty overwhelming,” Kemper states. “The most effective way to handle [the demand] is through a robust API. That way other platforms like Meetup and Spotify can just do their own native integration using our API.”
ChangeTip’s technology can be used for more than supporting indie artists and sending your friend’s payment for beer. Recent integration with the Red Cross has allowed people from all over the world to donate over 28 bitcoins to Nepalese victims struggling after the earthquakes.
Value Transfer Competition
Sending money over the internet is not new. Online payment platforms like Paypal and Venmo have existed for years. Kemper explains what separates ChangeTip from the rest of the pack, saying, “ChangeTip is international, bitcoin is international and with ChangeTip sending money can all done with no fees – instantly.” ChangeTip is also able to process microtransactions, transactions with a value of less than a dollar, which are typically cost prohibitive for traditional payment methods.
Coinbase had also developed a tipping service similar to ChangeTip but deferred to ChangeTip’s platform, stating, “ChangeTip is an excellent example of a company which uses our APIs, and we’d like to support them instead of competing with them.”
With seemingly no competition in the “money layer of social media,” the ultimate goal for ChangeTip, according to Kemper, is for people to, “understand they can become their own bank with bitcoin. What makes it feel like real money is that they offer to buy $20 USD worth of bitcoin, and you send them $20 USD worth of bitcoin on ChangeTip.”
Critics Speak Out
But not everybody is happy with ChangeTip. Some criticize the company for its centralized practices and off-chain transactions. In off-chain transactions a claim is made on an amount of bitcoin and sent from one person to another – no actual bitcoins get exchanged, and the transactions are not recorded on the blockchain. In this case, ChangeTip also controls the private keys for all bitcoin addresses associated with the service.
While no transactions are recorded on the blockchain, off-chain transactions are beneficial because transactions can be made instantly without waiting for confirmations. Kemper comments,“ChangeTip is a transitional wallet for fast spending. We don’t encourage people to keep a lot of money on their account.”
Some users have raised concerns about the amount of personal and social data that ChangeTip is collecting. For example, ChangeTip collects information about every social network where its users send tips. This means that ChangeTip could potentially be able to link a private Facebook profile to a Reddit account or a withdrawal bitcoin address for a user.
Despite these concerns, ChangeTip continues to grow its presence across the popular social platforms and spread awareness about bitcoin.