A major problem facing online publishers in recent years is monetizing the content they create. Newspapers (are these still around?) used to charge money for yearly subscriptions or per copy at a stand, plus advertisements, but online the prevailing model relies just on ads. But as more apps and platforms offering ad-blocking features website’s revenues’ drop.
Some publications with strong global brands have returned to the old newspaper subscription fee model by erecting a paywall around their websites. For most websites however, this type of fixed contract does not fit their readership and a format of charging per article would be more effective. Since taking out your credit card and paying 10 cents for “10 things you did know about your cat” is too much of a hassle, various solutions have propped up offering to be the middleman.
The latest solution to this problem comes from Brave, a new privacy focused browser from Brendan Eich the former CEO and co-founder of Mozilla (the group behind Firefox). The open-source Brave web browser blocks ads and trackers by default but includes a Bitcoin-based micropayments system (Brave Ledger) that offers users a choice between viewing selected ads or paying websites not to display them.
The newest feature that the developers behind Brave have announced is very surprising and innovative as it reverses the monetization model and allows publishers to pay readers for watching ads. The payments will be made to a Brave bitcoin wallet which users can than ‘donate’ back to their favorite websites or withdraw to another bitcoin wallet after they fill in AML and KYC requirements.
Keeping with its privacy theme, the startup calls the service “anonymous-but-accountable” as it enables the browser and ledger to “agree on authentic user behavior without linking that behavior to users, browsers, or wallets, through the ‘magic’ of Zero Knowledge Proofs!”