The city of Prague, the heart of Europe, recently hosted the Bitcoin Conference, which covered the latest and hottest topics of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. I finally met Meinhard Benn, founder of Berlin and London-based SatoshiPay. Earlier this year, SatoshiPay launched of a platform for web publishers, offering a new way to monetise content through frictionless micropayments. SatoshiPay’s payment technology allows to transact amounts as small as €0.01 or less—which the company refers to as “nanopayments” – by leveraging blockchain technology. Now, the startup is looking for media partners to work with. A good opportunity for a little interview:
What are nanonayments and why should we care?
Nanopayments can be fractions of a cent. They are instantly settled and can be executed at high frequency. Imagine a couple of payments per second by a single user. This enables completely new ways of monetising web content and digital goods in general. In an increasingly digital society, nanopayments allow for new business models that existing payment technology cannot facilitate due to its fee structure and trust models.
How easy is it to use your service?
For the reader, SatoshiPay removes friction usually associated with paying for online content. There is no sign-up, no login and the user does not need to install any additional software to get started. Payments are done with one click or tap and the user can also choose to pay for content completely automatically. After topping up, the available balance is displayed in SatoshiPay’s floating web widget at the bottom of the publisher’s website. The user’s balance is shared across all websites that integrate with the SatoshiPay widget, eliminating the need for the user to maintain multiple payment accounts.
Ad blocking has become a big problem in the media industry…
SatoshiPay helps publishers to address the increasing number of readers that use an ad blocking software to remove all advertising from a website. While big publishers react to ad blocking by refusing to show their content and urging the user to deactivate their ad blocker, SatoshiPay gives publishers the possibility to charge a small fee for viewing the article. Users send a clear message by installing an ad blocker: They don’t want to see ads on websites. Locking them out of your site as a response is sending the wrong signal. Charge them a few cents or pennies and they will understand.
Do you have a solution for small publishers, too?
At launch, SatoshiPay offers an extension for WordPress, the popular publishing software which is installed on 25% of all websites on the internet. Using SatoshiPay’s free WordPress extension, publishers can get started within minutes and test if their audience is willing to pay for their content, without a major technology investment. The first available payment method for readers is the digital currency Bitcoin, with other methods like card payments and instant bank transfers being added soon.
Now it’s time for making our technology available to every website, no matter what back-end it runs on. We are doing this by opening up our API to third parties. Using our API, developers of content management systems can write their own plugins and publishers can integrate nanopayments into their own bespoke back-end. With a bit of playing around, HTML coding folks can even sell content on static websites.
SatoshiPay was founded in Berlin in September 2014 by Meinhard Benn, Henning Peters and Kilian Thalhammer as a Bitcoin payments company. Angel funding for SatoshiPay Ltd was supplied by Axel Springer Plug & Play and Henning Peters, seed funding was raised through publicly listed companies Coinsilium Group and FastForward Innovations.
As open source developer, social entrepreneur and avid shoestring traveller with 50 countries under his belt, Meinhard experienced the need for an open, global and decentralised payment technology first-hand. He already experimented with different alternative payment systems for years when Bitcoin and its ground-breaking blockchain technology crossed his path in 2011. As developer, entrepreneur and speaker he pushes the blockchain ecosystem forward ever since.