In 2008, creator Kevin Kelly put pen to paper or rather fingers to keys and wrote his 1,000 true fans theory. The premise goes that if a creator can develop 1,000 true fans, fans who will buy everything that you produce—be it music, written work or handcrafted birdfeeders—you can rely on them earn a decent living.
The theory spawned an industry of companies willing to “help” creators earn money from these true fans by hosting content and/or facilitate payments, much like YouTube or Medium’s partner’s programs.
Bitcoin SV provides the right ecosystem
Both sites have given significant boosts to creators. Still, like most other legacy platforms, they have a few notable drawbacks which entrepreneur and founder of Bit.SV Brad Jasper intends to solve through Bitcoin SV.
Jasper is a successful creator who comes from a Mac software ecosystem where he created the incredibly useful and rather popular Focus app. The app was designed to cut out the distractions when you’re writing or coding or any other screen work where constant Twitter or email notifications would bring you of the flow state.
Apple’s decision to prioritize iOS over OSX left Jasper less than enthusiastic about building on iOS, citing its unsustainability and being far riskier for developers to rely on a constant flow of new users to earn a living.
He explored other avenues.
After Focus, he created a remote-notes app (https://catchnotes.app/), a website that focused on working remotely and an app that converted videos to audio for listening on the go (https://listenlater.io/). Still, it wasn’t until finding Bitcoin SV did he feel he found the right ecosystem for his creations.
Bit.SV is powered by Bitcoin SV
I spoke with Jasper while he was onboarding me to his new project Bit.SV.
“I originally built Focus for myself because I noticed small distractions were taking me out of flow state. Focus is used by writers, programmers, designers, artists, remote workers, students—anyone doing deep work on a Mac.
“Building for a new ecosystem is inspiring. Bitcoin seems to bring people’s best ideas out of them—everyone is dreaming big and working hard. The ecosystem is supportive of builders, and there’s a lot of anticipation of what’s coming—it’s excellent!”
Jasper said, “I’m an entrepreneur who’s been building software to help people be more creative and independent. I’ve been developing software for as long as I can remember. I had been working towards living off my products and ideas for over ten years. A few years ago, I accomplished that with a handful of successful products around productivity, creativity, and remote work.”
The Bitcoin breakthrough
Jasper said he got into Bitcoin in 2013, although he doesn’t recall how he discovered it—probably from Twitter or Reddit.
“It instantly grabbed my attention, but I didn’t see it as a development platform. I waited for the Lightning Network, but it created more problems than it solved. I looked into other platforms like Ethereum but didn’t like ICO’s and didn’t feel comfortable building ETH smart contracts,” he said.
Jasper told me it was like working on a nuclear reactor, one mistake, and the whole thing would blow up.
“Eventually, I started looking at big block Bitcoin and realized there were some important things I missed the first time around—but it wasn’t until after the BCH/BSV split that I jumped in.”
There were two reasons, he said: “First, the stable protocol was appealing to me. As someone coming from the Mac, Apple has been locking the platform down for years, making it difficult for app developers.”
“Also, I’ve had experience in a previous business with Google changing the rules overnight. A locked-down protocol removes the most significant centralizing force in cryptocurrencies, developers.”
“Second, when I saw the tools Unwriter was building, everything clicked. I understood how you could use this as a development platform and how microtransactions were going to enable entirely new classes of businesses.”
“After that, I jumped in with both feet and have been working full-time on BSV projects.”
First posting under the Twitter handle of @Synfonaut, Jasper first created ImmortalSV.com and the open directory dir.sv, which is a link aggregator, much like Reddit but link posters would be paid for upvoted content.
Jasper realized, even at scale, his platform wouldn’t compete with the giants of industry like Reddit and that lead him to Bit.SV.
“Bit.SV is a new content network that lets anyone earn money from their interests,” he said. “It lets creators focus on creating great content while getting paid directly from their audience. It allows creators to remix each other’s content, sharing, and collaborating on the best ideas. And it allows anyone to curate the best content, earning money when they promote great content their audience wants to see.”
Jasper noted, “Currently, advertising funds most content on the Internet, and to earn more money, creators chase bigger audiences—diluting their message to the lowest common denominator (alienating their original niche audience).”
Bit.sv makes it easy for creators to earn money from their content with microtransactions, enabling them to go deep with their audiences and build the kind of content they love that their audiences want to purchase.
The importance of owning your data
When talking with Jasper about Bit.SV, there were a couple of things that caught my ear.
First, while he was touting all of the possibilities that come with micropayments, it wasn’t his priority.
“Micropayments enable entirely new classes of businesses, so they are exciting. But Bitcoin can easily send payments of all sizes—and niche content creators want to make up for the breadth they lose with depth (earning more money). Niche content creators will likely charge more significant amounts purely from supply and demand,” he said.
Second, was that while everyone talks about the importance of owning your data, it felt more real when Jasper spoke about it:
“Owning your data is great, but in practice should mean you can do something with it. It’s possible to export your data from Facebook, but you can’t do much with it. Bit.sv is built on a protocol that lets you easily take your data to a competitor. By letting users easily exit, it allows a competitive market to form—I believe this is the solution to walled gardens.”
Bit.SV is still in its Alpha phase, but based on my initial preview, there is a solid foundation that once the platform goes public, it shouldn’t take long from Brad Jasper and thousands of other creators to develop their own 1000 true fans.
You can follow Brad Jasper on Twitter @bradjasper.
Watch all Pitch Day videos on The BSV Pitch YouTube playlist and learn from the people who pitched their projects during the first ever Bitcoin Association Pitch Day.
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