Bitcoin Megaphone is an interesting idea that we’ve been watching grow over the last several weeks. The site concept is simple and is described as letting your money talk for you, Bitcoin Megaphone lets anyone post any content while paying per character. Short posts cost pennies, but the longer your post, the more you pay.
When you post, you also automatically create a secure virtual “tip jar” that anyone can donate to, and only you can collect the money. You can also manually enter your own public bitcoin address for tips.
We spoke with creator Mike Solomon about Bitcoin Megaphone to learn more about the site, his future plans, and what makes him tick.
hangletonweblogs: Thanks Mike for taking some time out of your development schedule to share with our readers. How long have you been in Bitcoin?
Mike: I’m a relative newcomer to the world of Bitocin. I’d heard some mentions of it in the press, but didn’t do the “deep dive” until March 2014. That’s when I learned about public / private keys, wallets, and the basics of securing your bitcoins. And of course that’s when I spent a few bucks to play around with. I told myself I wouldn’t stop learning about Bitcoin until I could figure out just what the hell was going on at blockchain.info. (Clicking around that site as a Bitcoin outsider is so confusing it’s actually hilarious.)
hangletonweblogs: What got you excited about Bitcoin?
Mike: For me, the most exciting aspect of Bitcoin is micropayments. With digital money you can do all sorts of things that are impossible (or just impractical) with existing payment systems. I think people would pay a lot more for little things if it were frictionless. Take the highway for example. I’d gladly pay a fraction of a penny to everyone who lets me pass them. Or with dieting; if my scale would automatically pay the KKK $1 for every day I don’t lose weight, I might be a bit skinnier right now. (That last example is obviously a joke, but it is technically possible…)
Everyone talks about how it’s so cool that Bitcoin lets you send a million dollars around the globe for practically nothing. But I think it’s important to consider the other end of the spectrum. With Bitcoin you can buy something that costs a fraction of a penny. How cool is that?
hangletonweblogs: What prompted you to build this project?
Mike: I wanted to build something that could only be possible with Bitcoin. True, you could have built something similar to Bitcoin Megaphone before Bitcoin, but it would have been painfully complex for users, involving user accounts, passwords, credit cards…yuck. Nobody would have posted a thing.
But with Bitcoin, all the barriers to posting content just fade away. People can visit the site, see what it’s about, and in seconds create a post that will be seen around the world and potentially start earning them tips.
We’ve never before seen a dynamic where you can say anything you want, anonymously, and make money from it.
hangletonweblogs: What are your goals with Bitcoin Megaphone?
I’d love to prove that micropayments have a future in publishing. At this point it’s just a big experiment to see how many people are paying and tipping, but if Bitcoin adoption continues to take off I hope that publishers will see the site as a proving ground for new revenue streams.
It’s funny because during my day job, I create the very online advertisements that I hope will one day be replaced or supplanted by the revenue generated directly from Bitcoin. Right now the prevailing wisdom is that “users won’t pay for content”, and while I agree, we haven’t yet seen what users will or won’t do with Bitcoin. It’s an exciting time to see this technology’s adoption grow.
hangletonweblogs: What have been the biggest challenges so far with it?
The site can be intimidating for people who aren’t curious or know very little about Bitcoin. There’s nothing else like it on the web, so it’s hard to immediately convey the concept to new visitors.
hangletonweblogs: What has been the biggest successes with it?
I love seeing new posts come on to the site and I love seeing people get tipped. I’d say my proudest moment was on launch day when someone cleverly posted the “To the moon” guy, and someone else tipped him within a few minutes. After tirelessly building the site it was such vindication to see it immediately start to gain traction.
hangletonweblogs: What are your future plans for Bitcoin Megaphone?
Mike: I think the biggest avenue for growth is in self-publishing. I’m talking with a few authors who are interested in publishing their work directly on Bitcoin Megaphone. Anyone who’s tried to self-publish can tell you how difficult it is to make any money. So Bitcoin Megaphone is attractive to poets and authors because it gives them the potential to instantly monetize. Making inroads to the creative community is a huge priority for me.
Also if there’s enough demand I’d love to set up an API so the content can be remixed around web. One way I can see the site growing is to become something of a Craigslist for marketing messages. So having access to that data could be useful to lots of folks.
Whatever shape the site takes, it’s fascinating to see the new and creative ways people are making posts. I’m seeing ASCII art, Base64 encoded images, walls of repeating characters to attract attention; it’s very inspiring. Of course there’s also a little bit of spam and porn. I guess that’s all part of the fun. :-p