Bit.sv: If you want people to pay, make better content

Content creators these days “need to be full-blown media entrepreneurs” and will need to do quality work to make a living. That’s the opinion of Brad Jasper, who’s busy building Bit.sv—a platform to help them do just that.

What Is Bit.sv?

Put simply, Bit.sv allows content creators of any type to upload and sell their work. Although it will focus mainly on text/writing when it officially launches next year, Jasper intends to expand it to showcase all kinds of creative work. He said:

Bit.sv optimizes for short but valuable content, bundling it together in ways that are useful for audiences. The first media type is text because it allows the most connections between ideas, but will quickly allow images, audio, and video.

Describing Bit.sv as something completely new, Jasper sees it as something for “creators that want to make a living from their interests, but find it difficult or unsustainable.”

The content network itself is just the first step; it will ultimately include many features that actually help creators earn money.

“(It) takes a novel approach to creating and collaborating, incentivizing new kinds of information and media that don’t exist yet—this will become more clear at launch.”

It’s an open network that will allow users to own their own data and easily switch between content providers with clicks. No more signing your work over to platforms for the privilege of hosting or selling it—and the marketplace network means you can upload any work and set a price, without needing the approval of their in-house curators.

There’s a waiting list that will roll out access to content creators before the end of 2019 for testing, with the first public features set to appear in January 2020. Soon after that, it will open for everyone.

Experienced developer now building on Bitcoin

Jasper (also known online as “synfonaut“) is an independent software developer who has released several Mac apps and BSV services such as Open Directory and ImmortalSV. Before Bitcoin, he was working “in the productivity and creativity space.” He has previously built platforms for bloggers and remote workers, and has written several works himself on programming, bootstrapping, and becoming independent.

Speaking of bootstrapping, Jasper is funding the initial development and production of Bit.sv himself, but says he’s “open to growing the team in the future.”

He has created a built-in wallet which he describes as a “fully enabled Metanet wallet with good privacy to be fast, secure and real-time” that he built from the ground up. There are also plans to integrate Bit.sv with other wallets for customer payments, to make it as easy as possible for creators to connect with audiences.

Jasper is extracting the real-time application framework into an open source project called Hummingbird. He also developed a “transaction shooter” called Pew Pew, designed to test the performance of real-time Bitcoin applications.

Paying for online content: Changing the cultural paradigm

Lack of business and sales acumen isn’t the only barrier for creators looking to make a living, however. Over two decades of free content on the web has created an expectation that audiences can find any kind of work they need for free. This has also led to a dearth of choice, and more difficulty in finding works of acceptable quality.

Jasper said the solution to this cultural problem is that the content simply has to be better. Bit.sv, he says, incentivizes better content in many ways. One is making existing paid information more accessible, rather than turning existing free content into paid.

“Bit.sv aims to allow creators to go deeper into their fields, bringing back the most interesting pieces and connecting them to the existing knowledge graph. Because it’s an information market, content can be sold at any price—it’s up to creators to work with their audience to find what’s most valuable.”

Those with experience uploading their content to existing pay-to-consume platforms have experienced the sales and audience problems. Fewer people pay for content and the audiences on pay sites tend to be smaller, sending creators back to the larger “free” platforms to maximize their reach—for less money, and often unsustainable incomes. Once there, they’re at the mercy of existing corporate publishing giants, begging for scraps of advertising revenue and (more recently) risking deletion, de-monetization, or obscurity.

There isn’t a magic bullet solution to this problem, though better platforms would help. Creators also need to get better at all aspects of the publishing business. Jasper added:

“Today, creators need to be full-blown media entrepreneurs to make a living from their content—Bit.sv changes that. You still need skills like sales, marketing, product development and distribution. But our aim is to dramatically simplify the process of making a living from your interests, so you can focus on what you do best—going deep in your field so you can work on your best ideas.”

“This is a big reason Bit.sv is even possible. Because I’m independent, I can work on my most ambitious idea—which is to get everyone else to work on their most ambitious idea. It becomes a virtuous cycle.”

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.