The below is a direct excerpt from Marty’s Bent Issue #1262: “Content monetization via LN wave has arrived.” Subscribe to the newsletter here.
In March 2021 i wrote a song who called the Web3 meme and the convoluted schemes that shitcoin projects were trying/attempting: getting their tokens to monetize content. In this article, I highlighted Sphinx as an application based on the Bitcoin/Lightning Network Protocol (BP/LNP) stack that proved that content monetization would likely occur by injecting bitcoin through the Lightning Network in different content mediums. Well, here we are 17 months later and the trend has accelerated considerably. I thought now would be a good time to check out this particular vertical and highlight some of the cool projects being built.
Podcasting 2.0 has, in my opinion, the potential to be bitcoin’s first killer application 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 number of satellites going around and the number of people streaming them has only increased since we added for the first time public Lightning Network addresses to our RSS Feed. More and more apps have integrated Podcasting 2.0 into their services.
However, 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 apps and tools coming to market that will make content carriers of all types monetizable through the Lightning Network. Alby is a browser extension wallet that makes it easy to pay Lightning bills while browsing the web. Mash potatoes is a toolkit that content creators like me can leverage to monetize written, audio, and video content as well as user interactions when interacting with certain features (likes, votes, comments, etc.). Wavlake is a company that strives to bring the Podcasting 2.0 model to the music industry (among other verticals), enabling musicians to publish their audio files, syndicate them to users, and make users are streaming value on Lightning as they listen. This gives these musicians the ability to automatically split payments among everyone else involved in producing their art.
These are just a few of the companies that come to mind when thinking about the explosion of activity going on in this particular corner of the Bitcoin economy.
What’s so exciting about all of these apps and tools is that they will begin to allow creators and their audiences to experience new business models that were never possible before the emergence of the BP stack. /LNP. For instance, Fountain has integrated a podcast cut feature that allows listeners to get paid to cut certain sections of podcast episodes. If other Fountain users like a particular clip you cut, they can help you surface that microcontent.
Creating revenue streams for listeners is a very untapped design space that should lead to mind-blowing experiences. Not only can listeners get paid, but this particular mechanism introduces an organic avenue through which to surface the best content. Instead of depending on a 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 real value (sats) is at stake, the cream should rise to the top.
I love the fact that most mainstream Silicon Valley venture capitalists and all other lovers of the extremely complicated “Web3” world are sleeping on these developments in addition to 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 lies in everything discussed in this rag and in all other similar projects that have not been mentioned. There is real, concrete infrastructure being built that will have lasting autonomy in the Bitcoin economy while “Web3” types are completely distracted by the shitcoin flavor of the month.