There’s a new online-tipping application in town. The creators of ProTip Chris Ellis and Leo Campbell have initiated a startup that enables micro-tipping within a vast array of social media applications, websites, and WordPress platforms. ProTip is an open source Chrome plugin, with which users can tip domains they frequent and funds are stored in a built-in wallet. The company believes the service will be “a fair way to give back to those hard working artists and developers who maintain your favorite websites.” As well as being open-source and decentralized, the platform is also privacy-centric and operates only through Chrome claiming to function without invasive data collecting methods.
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Enter Pro Tip
Tipping applications have started to show the public the power of cryptocurrency distribution on the internet. Ad models that support the current infrastructure now have an Achille’s heel. The service ProTip wants to reward content creators residing on the web with an alternative system. The web browser plugin creates a series of Bitcoin addresses that collaborate with frequently visited websites. Users can divide funds into small micropayments that disperse the bitcoins to each domain, marketplace or individual campaign. Users can change the created list at any time and also program how the tips will be divided. The big difference between ProTip and competitors is the funds are not stored on a centralized server with the bitcoin kept entirely in the user’s control with its batch run.
Developer Chris Ellis has worked long hours for this project to succeed. Starting a StartJoin fundraiser and dedicating his time to creating full nodes to help fund the project as well. Ellis had spent over 12+ hours on December 5th, 2015, building these devices. Not only does the startup believe in a decentralized version of tipping, the developer made these nodes to offer more decentralization to the Bitcoin network. The hardware Ellis sold for ProTip funding contained the latest Bitcoin-QT preloaded into the external media with secure messaging and Tor enabled to ensure better privacy. Ellis is no stranger to decentralized operations creating the first world passport over the blockchain back in October of 2014.
The nascent online tipping industry
Other competitors in the micro-tipping race like ChangeTip have been in the community for some time. However, they have been under some criticism from the community for changing their fee structure for withdrawals and their centralization aspect. ChangeTip is also rumored to be changing its withdrawal fee policy soon. Currently, the website states that fees for this action are waived for the time being. However the service says, “Sometime between December 15, 2015, and December 31, 2015, there will be a 1% fee to withdraw. The fee will be clearly noted in the withdraw section and confirmation of the change will be sent via email when fees are in effect.” This status change has annoyed some cryptocurrency community members throughout forums, and a few posts speak of migration to another platform.
The issue with ChangeTip is explained in an editorial called the Africoin Report written on the Lets Talk Bitcoin Network. The piece entitled ‘ChangeTip Isn’t Global Anymore,’ written by Ahmad Al-Hemmally focuses on the problem of using the tipping service within his country of Libya. Al-Hemmally details the issue, “One day, I tried to open my ChangeTip account, but I couldn’t log in. I messaged the ChangeTip team, and they told me that for some reason my account was banned,— Because of the relationship between the United States and Libya, ChangeTip can no longer offer its services to Libya. I was shocked when I discovered this, and it took me few days to get over it.”
ProTip could fill the void for those that don’t care for ChangeTip’s centrality issues. However, despite this, the company is the biggest tipping mechanism on the circuit and continues to hold this throne. ChangeTip has brought Bitcoin micro-tipping to the forefront and has been operating smoothly since its inception in December of 2013. Campbell and Ellis’s application want a piece of this market, and its offerings may give it some advantage. There’s no doubt that tipping protocols are here to stay. Just as with any free market, it is just a matter of who shines the most and how the public receives these platforms.
It is likely that there will be more tipping applications in the future, and it could very well be a sustainable way to grow the Internet in contrast to the parasitic ad models. The San Francisco-based ChangeTip has got the ball rolling as other startups are catching wind of this market. ProTip is just another choice within the microtransaction landscape and aims to be a platform everyone can use.
The Bitcoin #Fullnode setup is almost complete #32c3 pic.twitter.com/G1ie2GceRz
— Chris Ellis (@MrChrisEllis) December 30, 2015
What tipping applications do you prefer? Let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of ProTip’s Website, Twitter, and Wiki Commons