ChangeCoin, a micropayment infrastructure for the Web, announced last week that ChangeTip, its Bitcoin-fueled tipping service, is available for Google+, Tumblr, and YouTube.
The product allows anyone to instantly reward or “tip” any great online video, cause, or content.
The service’s expansion to the three aforementioned social media platforms follows ChangeTip’s launch in February for use on Twitter, StockTwits, Reddit, and GitHub.
In an interview with CoinReport, ChangeCoin founder and CEO Nick Sullivan said he had an “a-ha” moment last fall that we needed a service similar to Reddit’s Bitcointip for the entire Internet. Sullivan, who has worked in the advertising industry, started working on ChangeTip full-time in mid-December, developing the product and releasing it in February. (Sullivan noted in the interview that ChangeCoin is the name of company and ChangeTip is its first product, but is trying to brand everything as ChangeTip as that is how the company is known to users).
To send a tip on one of ChangeTip’s supported social media platforms, users write a comment or post, mentioning @changetip and the individual they would like to tip, and then specifying an amount. A tip amount could be a literal amount in a supported currency, a standard moniker with varied amounts from ChangeTip’s list such as a coffee or beer, or a user-customized moniker like thumbs up or gas money. The regular maximum for tipping is $25, but users can contact ChangeTip to negotiate a higher amount.
When asked about the main motivation behind ChangeTip, Sullivan said he is heavily aligned with the broader goals of Bitcoin itself: making it so people can be in charge of their own finances without necessarily needing the blessing of a bank.
“When I think about the bigger mission of ChangeCoin and its micropayment structure for the Web, you start to see that once that exists, there’s all kinds of new human behaviors that are going to take off, and things that we don’t think about doing now, because of the friction around payment is so high or the amount has to be at least a penny, we wouldn’t consider doing it.”
Sullivan said “we’ve lazily accepted that ads are the right way” to monetize online content. In the interview, he gave an example of an employee who is an engineer and writes a cycling blog which has garnered a loyal following. After experimenting with Google Ads on her blog, the engineer was disappointed with the revenue she generated in the first month.
Sullivan suggested a way to turn that around, with bloggers posting a polite call-to-action to say if readers are liking what they’re posting, buy the bloggers a coffee to keep the blog going and ad-free for a while. Sullivan described ChangeTip as a “love button” for the Internet: a low-friction method of supporting content creators to help them keep doing what they’re doing.
There are about 42 more social media platforms ChangeCoin is considering for the inclusion of a ChangeTip function. Sullivan explained to CoinReport about the procces involved in selecting which social media platforms can be used with ChangeTip. Factors for consideration include technical feasibility, the participation level of the audience (ChangeCoin will give more consideration to audiences who are tech-savvy and have an awareness of Bitcoin), and the value of the content being created.
Currently, sending tips through ChangeTip is free. However, as of January 15, 2015, users will be charged a 1% fee to withdraw from their ChangeTip wallet. Sullivan explained that the company wanted to come up with a fee structure that aligned its interests with users’ interests. The company wants people depositing and sending a lot of tips, so it will never charge for that. The only activity that does not help ChangeTip grow as a platform is when users withdraw, said Sullivan, so the company figured that was the best place to put the fee.
Sullivan said there are four key reasons why he thinks “now is the time for Bitcoin to be the enable for all of the dreams we’ve had about micropayments.” The first is the low transaction fees compared to a credit card or wire transfer. Bitcoin, he noted, is definitely the cheapest method to move money around.
Secondly, there’s anonymity. Sullivan acknowledged that “anonymity” is a loaded word, as Bitcoin transactions can be viewed publicly on Blockchain; however, for the sake of tipping and micropayments, the digital currency does provide a level of anonymity that hasn’t existed before.
Third, Bitcoin is a currency neutralizer. Sullivan said the sender does not need to know the recipient’s preferred currency in which to convert the Bitcoin payment.
The fourth reason is how divisible Bitcoin amounts are, which Sullivan noted makes it more feasible than other technology.
Sullivan also made the following observation about Bitcoin:
“I think it’s really interesting to think about how Bitcoin will allow us to leap-frog over banks and credit cards, particularly in those countries that don’t have well-established (financial) infrastructures.”
Images courtesy of ChangeCoin