The massive distributed network of Bitcoin as a platform has great potential to facilitate online micropayments in the future of digital world. The decentralized payment network of Bitcoin allows instant transfer of value without an involvement of a third party taking fees in between. It’s only logical to extend the inexpensive financial protocol into providing alternative solutions for online monetizing strategies.
In the future, where new business models will erupt to provide an alternative source of revenue for content producers, the existing payment channels might be ill-suited, due to their high fees structure. Aside from excessive fees, the current payments legacy serves as a huge barrier for those content producers in the developing world who don’t have proper banking facilities in their own countries.
During 2014, we saw a rise in popularity for ChangeTip. Essentially, a Bitcoin tipping platform integrated into social media, it allows content creators on social media outlets to receive small amount of money from strangers on the internet.
There was also Sfx.io, a music publishing website focused on to bring the benefits of micropayments to the musicians from around the world.
Now, there’s another start up from Argentina who is following a similar decentralized model and integrating bitcoin micropayment channel into a peer to peer video streaming service called ‘Streamium – A Decentralized Pay-As-You-Go Streaming Service.’
How does it work?
Their platform will allow anyone to broadcast video and get paid by viewers in real time without a middlemen. The person who wants to host the content can go on their website to set up a stream along with their Bitcoin address. After providing a USD/min rate, the stream’s URL can be shared by the content provider to as many clients as they like.
The viewer of the stream can commit any amount of Bitcoin as they wish. This will determine and put a limit on the maximum amount of time the stream can be viewed by a client. The deployment of a micropayment channel on the back end of this service allows content provider to receive Bitcoins as the viewer watches the stream. Once the stream is over, the micropayment channel is closed and the transaction is then broadcasted to the Bitcoin network.
Following the open-source model of Bitcoin, the team at Streamium published their first repository on GitHub. Streamium is currently in beta phase and according to the developing team, a lot of the details have yet to be ironed out.
Gary Fung, founder of the online torrent files repository isoHunt, explains how the phenomenon of micropayments will provide a new revenue model for video streaming services and artists alike:
“New streaming services could find a hybrid approach by using BitTorrent P2P streaming to lower cost and Bitcoin for pay per view micro-transactions. […] Imagine when everyone can watch and listen to anything, anytime, anywhere, with mere cents, automatically and continuously deducted from your Bitcoin wallet. No, you won’t own your media, but that was never the case to begin with […] physically or otherwise, but […] priced low enough that you don’t think much about the charge.”