Bitcoin may very well be changing the way the internet works, and not by replacing traditional payment methods. While news that sites like Reddit, Namecheap, WordPress, and Mega are accepting Bitcoin is certainly uplifting, it’s far from game changing. The truly innovative and disruptive aspect of Bitcoin is not that it is a replacement for traditional payment methods. Rather, it’s that Bitcoin enables us to do things online that were impossible before. To illustrate my point, I’d like to introduce you to the Reddit tip bot, and to how I’m using Bitcoin here on CryptoJunky to tip my readers.
The Reddit Bitcointip Bot
Created by Redditor NerdfighterSean the Reddit Bitcoin tip bot allows Redditors to tip each other real money. Did you like the advice that another Redditor gave? Tip them Bitcoin. To show how exactly this works here’s a screenshot of my first Bitcointip encouter:
While I was happy enough that someone had recommended my Bitcoin mining guide, I became ecstatic once I was tipped for showing up in the comments. What this has the potential to do is build a much more collaborative internet. The barrier to payment between two people is much lower than it has ever been online. What’s more is that there is little need for a third party. In these situations the bitcointip bot allows Redditors that have never heard of Bitcoin to receive Bitcoin. However, for those already acquainted with the currency the process is even easier.
NOTE: While the Reddit Bitcointip bot could be considered a third party, it is only necessary for Bitcoin users to interact with non-Bitcoin users. For more information on the Bitcointip bot visit r/Bitcointip.
Tips In The Comments
I don’t have a good count of the amount I’ve tipped to date, but it’s considerable. If you check the comments for the article Getting Started With Litecoin you’ll see a list of over 200 comments extending much farther than the original article. What you might also notice are a series of addresses of new users hoping for a coin to fill their previously empty wallets, and fill I do. Bitcoin and it’s derivatives have allowed me to interact with my readers in a much different way than ever before. By tipping my readers not only am I able to encourage commenting and discourse, but I’m also able to spread the technology to new users.
Building A More Collaborative Internet
I’d like to suggest that CryptoJunky readers and commenters leave a Bitcoin address with their comments, regardless of the article. While it might seem strange that’s simply because it’s something we’re not used to. We’ve all been conditioned to avoid placing email addresses online in fear that some spambot will grab hold of our inbox. However, Bitcoin is different and I’d personally love it if a Bitcoin spambot suddenly started sending me Bitcoin after Bitcoin. I think it’s likely we’ll begin to see more of this, sites integrating Bitcoin not as a payment option, but as a means of interaction between readers and users. In this way, sites like CryptoJunky aren’t simply a place for the poster’s writing, but for the reader’s as well.
Try as I might I’m honestly unable to answer every technical question that arises here on this site. However, someone usually has the answer, and they often provide it. What if you could be tipped for providing a really good answer to a really good question? How would that change the way you interact online? From my point of view I’d love to have technically astute readers helping other readers. What’s more is that I’d be happy to divert a bit of ad revenue to these users. By using Bitcoin and Bitcoin addresses sites like this can become a place for collaboration between fellow readers. Before Bitcoin, blogs and some online communities were very one dimensional, with site proprietors the sole recipients of any monetary gain. This doesn’t have to be the case anymore, as even commenters could gain from a site’s success.
I’ve read over the Bitcoin whitepaper [pdf] by Satoshi Nakomoto several times now and I get something new out of it each time. As originally envisioned Bitcoin wasn’t just a replacement for fiat currencies. The whitepaper points out the inefficiency in using traditional financial institutions for online transactions. These institutions inevitably end up becoming mediators in disputes amongst their respective customers. Bitcoin’s role was to be a way for users to make transactions online without a third party. This streamlines the process for both parties, eliminates costly fees and eliminates the need for a mediator. This streamlined process is what now allows for readers to send each other money. As intended, Bitcoin can augment traditional financial systems and allows users to do things that were not previously possible.
Where To Go From Here
Tips are no longer limited to the realm of bartenders and waiters, but can be extended into the digital world. In the spirit of this post I’ll tip you if you leave a half-decent comment below, along with an address (Please specify, BTC, LTC, TRC, etc. – While supplies last). It might not be much, as ad revenue still isn’t very high here, but it’ll be something. Feel free to tip your fellow readers, or even myself at one of these addresses. As always thanks for reading and welcome to the new internet.
NOTE: If you’re new to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies you might want to read Getting Started With Bitcoin for a primer on the currency and how to use it.