The following is a direct excerpt from Marty’s Bent Issue #1262: “Content monetization via LN wave is here.” Subscribe to the newsletter here.
In March 2021, I wrote a piece about the Web3 meme and the convoluted schemes that shitcoin projects were/are trying: having their tokens monetize content. In that piece, I highlighted Sphinx as an application based on the Bitcoin/Lightning Network Protocol (BP/LNP) stack that demonstrated that content monetization would likely occur by injecting bitcoins through the Lightning Network into different content media. Well, here we are 17 months later and the trend has accelerated dramatically. I thought it would be a good time to check out this particular vertical and highlight some of the great projects being built.
Podcasting 2.0 has, in my opinion, the potential to be the first killer application of bitcoin outside of using bitcoin as a solid savings vehicle. I’ve been using it for almost two years now with “Tales From The Crypt” and “Rabbit Hole Recap” and the amount of sats streaming and the number of people streaming them has only increased since we first added the public addresses of Lightning Network in our RSS Feeds. More apps have integrated Podcasting 2.0 into their services.
Podcasting 2.0 is just the tip of the iceberg. The model has inspired builders around the world, and we’re starting to see more and more apps and tools come to market that will make content media of all kinds monetizable through the Lightning Network. Alby is a browser extension wallet that makes it easy to pay Lightning bills while browsing the web. Mash is a set of tools that content creators like me can leverage to monetize written, audio, and video content, as well as user interactions while engaging with certain features (likes, voting, comments, etc. .). Wavlake is a company working to bring the Podcasting 2.0 model to the music industry (among other verticals), allowing musicians to publish their audio files, distribute them to users, and have users stream value to Lightning while they listen This gives these musicians the ability to split payments to everyone else involved in the production of their art automatically.
These are just a few of the companies that come to mind when we think of the explosion of activity taking place in this particular corner of the Bitcoin economy.
What’s so exciting about all these apps and tools is that they will begin to allow creators and their audiences to experiment with new business models that were never possible before the advent of the BP/LNP stack. For example, Fountain has built in a podcast trimming feature that allows listeners to get paid to trim certain sections of podcast episodes. If other Fountain users like a particular clip you’ve clipped, they can push you for the job of lifting that micro-content.
Creating revenue streams for listeners is a hugely untapped design space that should make for some mind-blowing experiments. Not only can listeners get paid, but this particular mechanism introduces an organic avenue for the best content to flow through. Instead of relying on some black-box algorithm to put content in front of you, curated content will be user-generated and driven by the value assigned to it by the network of users within the app. Since the actual value (sats) is on the line, the cream should rise to the top.
I love that most traditional Silicon Valley venture capitalists and everyone else enamored with the extremely complicated world of “Web3” are sleeping on these developments above Bitcoin. There seems to be an inability for these guys to support anything or build anything that doesn’t have a rent-seeking token attached. The signal is in everything discussed in this rag and in all the other projects like them that have not been mentioned. Real, concrete infrastructure is being built that will have lasting staying power in the Bitcoin economy, while the “Web3” types are completely distracted by the flavor of the month shit.