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Satoshi's innovation is quietly powering a new Value-For-Value creative economy
Bitcoin's lightning network is the natural backend for a new generation of creators who can't be cancelled.
Friction is a killer.
On today’s Internet, when you want to make a payment, receive information, or just click on an article, you’re bound to be inundated with login requests, email confirmations, paywalls, billing address mismatches, or the absolutely optional yet necessary greyed-out button insisting you ACCEPT ALL COOKIES.
Rather than reducing friction, we’ve come to expect it.
Our online experience today may be better connected and faster in terms of connectivity (even by satellites!), but we’ve allowed a layer Kafkaesque bureaucracy to engulf our every click, making “surfing the web” more like a slog on a rugged canyon trail — speaking of that…
But while your fiat Internet experience is getting bogged down by trackers and paywalls, creators in greener pastures are using Bitcoin to bypass it all. Enter the Value-For-Value economy.
If you’ve heard “value-for-value,” then we’re at a good starting point. Rather than a subscription or fee model for content, art, or articles that allows various levels of access, Value-For-Value is an honor system whereby consumers of culture reward creators with the value that received from the content.
There is no set amount, and it’s entirely subjective. If you’ve heard a bangin’ podcast that you derived value from, or you’ve used an open-source project to add to your digital sovereignty, then you’ve likely been driven to provide value in return.
Think of busking singers on the street. Or performance artists at the park. Now imagine that instead of dropping coins and bills into their box, you send micropayments of Bitcoin. That’s the Value-For-Value economy, and it’s taking place online. Gigi calls its the “monetization of information,” and he’s right.
One of the most exciting innovations in this respect is the Podcast Index and the Podcasting 2.0 protocol, offering both an uncensorable directory of audio and video podcasts and a series of open-source standardizations that — beyond making the listening experience much more pleasant — also allow creators to receive Bitcoin over lightning without the friction.
By ditching the fiat Spotify or Apple podcast app and using a modern podcasting app, such as Podverse.fm, Fountain, Breez, Castamatic, Curiocaster, Podfriend, and more, you have a lightning wallet in hand, ready to be loaded and unloaded in whichever direction you wish.
On our podcast, Fix The Money, for instance, every satoshi sent by users listening on these apps go directly to our lightning nodes. It’s a direct transaction without delay, burden, or middlemen. We see the sats come in every day! If people enjoy the content and want to support it, they decide to part with their sats for however much they decide it’s worth. And it’s growing more than ever.
According to the latest stats, 36 million sats (0.36 BTC) flowed from podcast listeners to hosts in just the last 30 days. No permission required, no banks necessary. It’s pure value-for-value.
Of course, this model won’t be replacing those pesky advertisements just yet (and there’s still much to be gained from pertinent ads that help further Bitcoin adoption), but it does change the game when it comes to the international creator economy. And podcasting is only the beginning.
One of the more exciting developments that will come out of value-for-value and Podcasting 2.0 will be music.
Wavlake, for example, is a site that allows artists to upload their tracks via RSS to the platform for broader distribution. If anyone listening to a track wants to send the artists some satoshis or even a message, they can do so right in the app. And because it’s an open standard, that music will be available for boosting and streaming on any and all apps that implement these protocols. More lightning please!
It’s early days, but it could mean a disruption of the squeeze-the-artists model at Spotify or the old-school record deals that have trapped artists in shitty deals for years. It will free the system of middlemen and contracts in favor of publicly available art compensated in the value that it provides.
Information and Labor
While you may not host a podcast (the last two of you) or produce music, perhaps you write articles or books, give consulting advice, or fix pipes in god-awful apartment buildings. You too can benefit from the Value-For-Value model and all it provides.
Lighting-enabled wallets that run on the browser, such as Alby or Mutiny, are making it easier to send and receive instant payments by simply listing a lightning address, not to mention getting zapped on Nostr. You not only have the benefit of using slick tools to receive payments online at anytime, but you’re able to do so in the hardest money we’ve ever had.
As I’ve gushed before, BTC Pay Server allows anyone to receive payments on-chain or via lightning in a way that is relatively anonymous, secure, and uncensorable — imagine how beneficial this will be once our orange-pilled relatives, contractors, and even bosses wake up to how simple this process will be.
But it needs more
Of course, while I’ve overdosing on hopium when it comes to value-for-value, there are still many roadblocks to consider. Many of these processes and applications, for the moment, use custodial wallets that carry some risk. Some, however, are fully sovereign for you to run on your own (which I’d recommend).
While using these tools among Bitcoiners is fun and pleasant, we can’t know what the next level will be until these tools become ubiquitous and the choix-du-jour for non-Bitcoin people.
Thankfully, we know that everyone likes music, reads books, listens to the occasional podcast, or benefits from some kind of service. It will only be a matter of making them see that getting rid of the friction via Bitcoin is the next level of enjoyment.
So thank you builders, thank you creators, and thank you to everyone making the world that much better by fixing the money. Oh yes, and thank you Satoshi!
Until next time,
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