Micropayments are the Future of Content Delivery

Paying for what we want to read and watch may soon be possible

Use Bitcoin for Content in any Amount. Getty Images

Admit it.

You hate the ads that you're forced to watch on YouTube before can see the video you want. You just suck it up and lose 5-30 seconds of your life (which you’ll never get back) just so that you can watch a video that was probably not even worth the time lost.

Here’s another thing you probably hate - having to pay a set amount each month for a subscription to a service which we often find we haven’t fully utilized when the bill comes due.

But, what option do we have?

Fortunately, that’s usually the kind of question that makes innovators and visionaries create disruptive technologies and products.

One of those disruptive technologies has been Bitcoin and Blockchain. The ability for Bitcoin to be used as a worldwide payment method continues to disrupt payment systems throughout the world.

Another disruption that is impacting businesses is related to the publishing model. The rise of free access to content through the internet has led to a collapse in sales and readership for the traditional media outlets of newspapers and magazines. The benefit of this free access to the viewer has come with an onslaught of digital ads, loss of privacy and continued tracking across all of our web ​browsing. It has also led to a loss of many media outlets and impacted the livelihood of many writers.

Micro and Nanopayments

A potential solution that could benefit our overall experience of gaining media without these strings and negative impacts may reside in the concept of micro and nanopayments.

  At its simplest form, a micropayment relates to paying a small amount for the opportunity to watch a video or read an article of our choosing. Rather than wasting our time watching an ad, or paying a monthly subscription, we have the ability to simply pay for what we want to consume. If there’s an article on the New York Times that we want to read, we would simply pay a small amount to read that.

  If there’s a video on YouTube that we want to watch, we would simply pay a small amount to watch only that and not an ad for dish detergent.

Although it seems simple and applicable, the reality is that these experiences would need to process small amounts of money.  After all, you’d only pay a few cents for an article or to view a video. Credit card companies are not interested in processing those amounts so you simply get saddled with the much easier (for them) subscription model.

Pay in Satoshis?

This is a place where Bitcoin can play a great role.  In a dollar-denominated system, a penny is the lowest form of value, and it takes 100 pennies to make up a dollar.  Bitcoin's lowest value is called a Satoshi and it takes 100,000,000 Satoshis to make up one full Bitcoin.  Therefore, the ability to create nanopayments is much easier with Bitcoins and Satoshis.  Plus the transfer of Satoshis and Bitcoins can be effected quicker and more efficiently.

A major player in the micro and nanopayment model is appropriately called SatoshiPay.  The system allows for any desired content to be immediately paid from one person’s Bitcoin wallet into another’s.  It may be the solution to save not only the publishing model but has implications for the music and video industry as well.

SatoshiPay grew out a second place win at the 2015 Coinbase BitHack v2 when they won $5,000 for their product which is a “bitcoin nanopayment wall for publishers which allows you to pay for the section of text that really interests you, make metered payments for streaming video, and make paid downloads with a single click.” 

Since that time, they’ve achieved additional funding including an investment from Jim Mellon  who’s also known as the English version of Warren Buffett

Available on a Wide Range of Platforms

Up until this past week, SatsohiPay was available for WordPress websites through a WordPress add-on.  This week, the company announced that not only had they achieved 10,000 user wallets, but they were also releasing an API for use by developers that would increase their ability to gain even more users across all types of applications.

Meinhard Benn, SatoshiPay CEO was quoted in the recent press release as saying, “We have been delighted by the response we’ve received from the developer community and we’re excited to announce the API. Our mission is to enable developers to use SatoshiPay for any kind of digital product or service they want to implement nanopayments into. We believe this will enable us to significantly scale our reach as developers can use our system in any way they can dream. We will continue to add features frequently to support our growing ecosystem of developers and partners”.

The ability for SatoshiPay to gain a wide foothold may be an uphill battle against those who desire​ and benefit from the existing ad and subscription based platform that delivers content.

With wider implementation of SatoshiPay and an improved user experience, we may one day be able to avoid watching a dish detergent ad in order to see our favorite cat video. Now that’s progress!