It’s pretty clear that the idea of helping content providers generate an income is important to a lot of people. Here is my take on it.
TLDR: I propose that Safe allows you to put a paywall in front of any piece of data and requires payment before allowing the data to be downloaded. To understand why this is actually a pretty solid idea, please read on.
What’s a paywall?
A paywall is a mechanism which gives access to a specific piece of content in exchange of payment.
“Omg I HATE that!”, you say. I know, me too, but hear me out.
What if the amount is so small that you wouldn’t think twice about spending it. For example, what if reading the latest strip of XKCD, the latest post of WaitButWhy or your favorite song would cost you 0.0001$. Everything you would consume in a day would amount to not even a cent. Event better, it’s not fiat you are paying with, it’s Safecoins, the currency that is automatically generated by your computer when you sleep. How far off of your way would you be willing to go to not spend it? I think a great majority of people would gladly pay it and not think twice about it.
Of course, paying for everything will become very unpractical if you need to micro-manage every payment. The payment process needs to be much more fluid then that. So I propose that instead of doing that, we instead control all payment more like we control a faucet. The wallet would give us parameters to adjust the spending flow: biggest amount allowed, max spending rate, white/black list, micro-manage all, stop all, spending history, etc. This way, you don’t have to accept every payment; you simply set your wallet to slowly consume your Safecoins while surfing the network, just like your car consumes fuel.
Why is this awesome?
There are a lot of reasons why this works better than other automatic system proposed before. Among other things I’ll say that:
- It acknowledges the fact that not all content as the same value and empower artists to set their price. By setting their price, artists understand that if they are not reasonable people will find a way to go around it and pirate the content, they can’t be too greedy.
- It makes the Safe economy extremely fluid. We now have thousands of reason to put back our coins back into the system for farmer to farm.
- It can’t be gamed. At all.
- It naturally create a link between the consumer and the provider, communities are born from that relationship. Artist will know which wallet ID gives them the more resources and users will know which artist they support the most.
- Add a little bit of smart contract and you have a build in Kickstarter platform. An artist can set a high price for his next work and his fan will be able to unlock it once they have gathered enough funds. For example: how long would it take for Radiohead to get a million dollar from its fan to unlock their next song?
- It transforms every content provider into an autonomous worker and contrary to other scheme, they would actually be able to make a living off that.
I’m not an artist, but if I had to pick between a network that allows me to set the price of my content, however small I want it to be or a network that splits the GET reward among every single soul on it, I wouldn’t think twice about it.
What about the people outside the network?
People can set the price to whatever they want so there’s still gonna be free content, but for everything else, they are welcome to join.
EDIT: As a result of the conversation, I change the proposal and put the concept of the fluid/faucet wallet on the ice. Now every payment needs to be appoved by clicking yes in a popup. Since popups are annoying, what this will do is assure that only content that are worth paying for have a paywall and that everything else remains free. Anyone who tries to abuse the paywall feature will end up with an app that is a nightmare to use and will lose his users.