Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on T Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on Twitter, Angel List, LinkedIn.
Paywalls are increasing becoming a monetize option for media, yet most readers are lukewarm about them. Enter BitMonet, a Bitcoin startup with a more flexible approach to appeal to readers who are reluctant to pay upfront for access to articles.
BitMonet offers readers cheaper options — priced well below $1 — and lets publishers monetize one particular piece of content, or offer a time-meter subscription, such as unlimited access for an hour, or a day.
The service is free for publishers and can be enabled via a simple WordPress plugin.
BitMonet has partnered with transaction startup BitPay for its solution, and the founders have open-sourced the code — which you can find on Github — in a bid to encourage further innovation and offshoots.
Many startups are rushing to cash in on the growth of Bitcoin, but BitMonet is remaining free, publishers only pay BitPay’s 0.99% transaction fee.
Co-founder Ankur Nandwani tells TNW:
We’re building a community around BitMonet, and the idea behind the community is to make it really easy to accept Bitcoins. We are starting with the publisher vertical, and once we have good foothold in it, we will explore other verticals like games.
The concept is an interesting one. Bitcoin is often cited as having enormous potential for micropayments since it can lower transactions to a matter of cents. At this point, however, the relatively low adoption rate means non-Bitcoin users are effectively locked out of articles that are paywalled using BitMonet.
Nandwani says the BitMonet team has considered adding more mainstream payment options but, when including credit card transaction fees, the total cost of a day pass — for example — can more than double. An integration with Stripe, that could provide more flexibility on cost, is being considered.
Headline image via Thinkstock
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