There’s a simple reason as to why strippers in the USA get more tips than strippers in Canada: the dollar bill. Canadian strippers miss out on gain because throwing coins is impractical, and giving up a fiver is too much. This doesn’t just stop in the strip club. The USA generally has a richer tipping culture, which would not be possible without the ease of handing over a single dollar bill to express gratitude, value, and thanks. The dollar bill facilitates easy tipping.
This is needed in the online world. How much more money would Wikipedia raise if we didn’t have to go through paypal to make a donation? When the number of steps are reduced in a transaction, the transactions grow. It’s not arbitrary, it’s significant. A simple button could be worth $300 million.
But we can take it a step further with cryptocurrencies, and a company based out of Toronto is hoping to do exactly that. Cryptiv is an online wallet which makes sending “pennies” over the internet as nonchalant as giving a buck to a bell boy. Currently, if you wish to tip someone over social platforms such as twitter and reddit, there’s a convoluted series of steps: users have to type a specific set of text commands to register with the tip bots and to send and receive tips; there is also no visual interface to interact with. The small nature of micro-transaction deters both parties from transacting; it’s too much of a technical hassle for a penny.
But pennies add up. And pennies would be worth it with an instant system. Mat Cybula, CEO of Cryptiv, hopes to make the process simple enough so that micro-transactions become a natural part of our everyday online interaction. “Cryptiv will facilitate seamless transactions using digital currencies over the internet and across social media,” says Mat, “and it will be currency agnostic, so you can use a cryptocurrency of your choice.” Mat also predicts that Cryptiv will enable the growth of communities since the platform builds recognition for contributors through transparency. “With cryptocurrecies, we are going to see new behaviors that weren’t possible before.”
If micro-transaction are seamlessly integrated into social media, they could shape a new economically symbiotic online culture. We tip bartenders, bathroom staff, and taxi drivers, but what about the people who feed us entertainment through their blogs, videos, articles, and stories? The individuals who create informative, valuable online content? The artists who give us beautiful visuals and words? Everything on the internet is created by someone and most of it is put out for free. These people don’t get paid for their work unless they sell their website and video space to advertisers of which the profits are halved by middlemen like adsense. From a content creator’s bias, this could be a revolutionary step towards independence.
Imagine being tipped for the originality or humorous value of your tweets? A social voting system that financially empowers content creators! I’ll be able to give my 2 cents for your 2 cents.
This is the next step in monetization, except this time it’s a tool for the economic empowerment of content creators and online communities. This is the new, more direct, more democratic capitalism. This is creating a purely voluntary, peer-to-peer support culture. This is an opportunity to bypass the middlemen. We can create micro-economies within already existing online spaces by way of voluntary exchange ecosystems. We have achieved diverse online engagement, so let’s monetize this engagement in a direct way, and enable the growth of financial sovereignty within our online social cultures.