This article was originally published by Egge on Starbackr
Content creators are in a tough spot right now. Today’s creator economy is completely reliant on an outdated, unfree, and centralized payment network and the noose is always tightening. But there is an alternative and it is a really good one. That alternative is bitcoin and it might just be the only way out for digital content creators.
Why the current system needs to go
Digital content creation is something very special. Since there is no cash on the internet, our society was required to created a global system for payments on the internet over the last few decades.
Some of you might think that the current system works just fine. I can simply go online, create an account with Patreon, YouTube or even OnlyFans and start monetizing my passion. And all of that with a few simple clicks … Right?
Unfortunately, this is not true for most people. Some of you may not just feel it yet. Probably because you were born in a country with financial privileges, such as having access to bank accounts. You may also be lucky enough to have your passion and content align with the views and morals of global payment processors.
If you are not born in such a country or want to monetize content that might be incompatible with what “they” think is right, you will run into problems really fast.
You don’t even have to travel far to witness this type of exclusion: A great example is the German Bitcoin-only community Einundzwanzig.
It is not only less privileged countries
Einundzwanzig (German for Twenty-One) started as a Bitcoin-only podcast but quickly became much more than just that. Einundzwanzig is a Bitcoin community, a collective and it is a movement. They have a community-driven YouTube channel, where people FROM the community upload videos FOR the community. This channel currently has about 6,000 subscribers and its videos are viewed about 40,000 times every month.
Despite all this, Einundzwanzig is still unable to monetize its YouTube channel via YouTube’s monetization program. Simply because as a Bitcoin-only association they don’t have access to a fiat bank account. And why would they?
You can see that exclusion from the current system is not only a problem for people living in less privileged countries, but is happening right in your neighborhood too. If you start researching, you will find many of these cases (often involving more controversial content, and Visa/Mastercard as well.
One that actually made the media last year was OnlyFan’s plan to ban adult content from their platform. Instead of building a home for all creators to be free and empowering them, they bowed to the processors, to the rulers of monetization. And who can blame them? If banks and processors would drop them, OnlyFans probably would need to shut down within a year. In the end, OnlyFans withdrew its plans. However, many creators believe that this is only a temporary reprieve, which puts all users of the platform in fear and uncertainty.
Banks, credit card companies, and processors have established themselves as self-proclaimed gate-keepers of digital monetization. They rule the internet with an absolute monopoly in market share and power. Platforms, creators and users have to either submit or fear exclusion, which then often means going bust.
A flame of hope – Bitcoin for content creators
To sum up the whole topic: Today’s internet is built on top of a centralized payment system that arbitrarily can and will exclude users and creators that do not align with its beliefs. And there is no escape.
Or is there?
Bitcoin changes EVERYTHING!
With Bitcoin things change. Instead of relying on single entities and a permissioned/gated network, Bitcoin is decentralized and open. Its ledger is not held and maintained by a company, but instead distributed across thousands of machines worldwide. Those machines are run by many different Bitcoin companies, as well as users and enthusiasts. Thanks to consensus mechanisms and cryptography it can not be altered. Additionally, the network’s global distribution, as well as Bitcoin’s pseudonymity ensures that no one can be excluded or censored.
Thanks to Bitcoin content creators have an alternative to the centralized payment rails, provided by the self-proclaimed monarchs of the internet. This is not only an alternative but even a better solution. Thanks to the Lightning Network, Bitcoin offers faster and cheaper payments, as well as increased privacy. Most importantly Bitcoin does not exclude or judge. It does not decide whether the content is good and allowed or bad and banned. Thanks to Bitcoin that decision can again be made by consumers, creators, and platforms. Don’t get me wrong, even with monetization through Bitcoin there might be legal boundaries. But there is no moral censorship involved.
Einundzwanzig understood this and they made themselves a little bit more independent by including Lightning Addresses in every video. That way the community can still support the creators, without relying on YouTube’s native (and permissioned) monetization.
That is an important reason why Starbackr is built on Bitcoin. This is the only way we are able to provide a platform for everyone, free of moral censorship. No matter where you come from. No matter if you have a bank account or credit card. Bitcoin empowers creators.