While being focused on podcasts, LNCast is a proof of concept for a broader idea: mircropayments in exchange for data.
The truth is: podcasting costs money. Storage and bandwidth can quickly add up, forcing creators to either eat the costs or look for some source of funding.
Existing Funding Models
- Ads are the most common way for creators to monetize their podcasts. I probably don't need to tell you why ads suck, but here it is anyways:
- Bad user experience: nobody wants their favorite podcast to be interrupted by yet another Squarespace plug.
- Favor popular podcasts: advertisers naturally prefer popular podcasts, which leaves niche or up-and-coming podcasts out in the cold.
- Time-consuming: instead of focusing on creating great content, creators must spend time seeking sponsors and creating ads.
Crowdfunding allows passionate listeners to support their favorite podcasts using cold, hard cash. Crowdfunding improves upon the user experience of advertisements, but it still has major flaws:
- High minimum contribution: most crowdfunding sites have a high minimum contribution, which prevents the possibility of many listeners contributing small amounts.
- User effort: in order to contribute, users must navigate to an external website and enter their payment details. This added effort may dissuade some listeners from contributing.
- Fees: crowdfunding sites add another layer of fees atop already-high payment processor fees. These fees limit the amount of money that reaches creators and once again disincentivizes small contributions.
- Risk of Deplatforming: Crowdfunding sites have recently deplatformed some users, leaving them without the ability to fund their creations.
Funding with Micropayments on Lightning
Micropayments on Lightning offer a far superior funding model for creators and listeners alike. Contrasting with the above funding models, there are obvious advantages to this model:
- No need for ads: when users can pay 1.5 cents for an episode (the cost-per-listen of a typical podcast ad), creators can afford to have no ads.
- Low fees: with near-zero fees, users can be sure that their money is going to support creators, not for the maintenance and profit of legacy banking networks.
- Low minimum payment: with payments as small as 1 satoshi (0.00000001 bitcoin), listeners are free to contribute small amounts of money, which can add up to large contributions.
- Simple user experience: with one-click payments, little added effort will be required from users.
- Agnostic to popularity: whether a podcast has millions of listeners or a single listener, creators can raise the money needed to support their podcast.
Lightning Network Wallets
LNCast is compatible with all BOLT-compliant lightning implementations. If you are comfortable with the command line, you can use any of the three implementations directly:
You can also any of the more user-friendly lightning wallets, including: