Bitcoin Megaphone, the world’s first Bitcoin-powered pay-per-character publishing platform, is poised to enter its third consecutive month with increased traffic and high user engagement.
Bitcoin Megaphone was created as a side project by Mike Solomon in March of 2014. Mike Solomon lives in New York where he works as Digital Director for Glamour Magazine at Condé Nast Publications. Condé Nast Publications is in no way affiliated with Bitcoin Megaphone.
Since the site’s launch in March 2014, hundreds of people have anonymously posted jokes, advertisements, art, conspiracy theories, commentary, and more – all in the hopes of earning tips.
The site is deceptively simple. Anyone can post whatever they’d like for .00001 bitcoins per character (roughly .006 cents on current exchange rates), with no character limit.
To incentivize people to contribute, each post creates a public Bitcoin address that can collect tips. The private key to this address is given to the post’s author at the time the post is created. This gives users full anonymity while still allowing them to collect tips.
Bitcoin Megaphone Creator, Mike Solomon, notes:
“The website is like a huge billboard where you can scrawl anything you want, completely anonymously and without consequence. And the only thing people can do about it is give you money. We’ve never seen a dynamic like this anywhere.”
The content can be sorted in a few different ways on Bitcoin Megaphone. The default sort shows the most recent posts, while other views show posts with the most tips, posts that are the most profitable, and posts that are the most expensive.
“Cost is a rough measure of importance. So unlike on Facebook or a blog – where long chunks of text are often ignored by readers – a long post on Bitcoin Megaphone will attract people’s curiosity.”
Although Bitcoin Megaphone is a centralized service, each post can be embedded into a website or blog via a widget. And in the future, Solomon plans to open up an API so the content can be reorganized and syndicated across the web.
Bitcoin Megaphone isn’t the only service to explore online tipping. But according to Solomon, other services are less focused because they piggyback on existing social platforms and lack anonymity.
Solom notes also that the big social networks already have their own built-in social currency, such as Likes, Retweets, and Upvotes. So existing social media tipping services are generally just another layer that competes with that. But with Bitcoin Megaphone, the tipping structure is built in as the only method of peer recognition. Tipping is what’s expected.
People are tipping. So far the website has generated more than 6 BTC in tips. And although some of those tips are likely from the posts’ authors themselves, the website demonstrates that people with serious money are viewing and participating.
Solomon believes that:
“Publishers should take note. The people using Bitcoin Megaphone are the precious few Bitcoin early adopters who could help fuel a viable revenue stream for online properties in the future. The themes and patterns of posting and tipping we’re seeing here are the proof-of-concept that micro payments in publishing can actually work.”
According to Solomon, Bitcoin Megaphone is helping to explore the viability of user-supported websites in the future.