Business

Steve Kaaru

Imgur raises $20M from micropayments startup Coil

Imgur, one of the most popular image hosting sites, has raised $20 million from Coil, an XRP micropayments startup. With the funding, Imgur will integrate Coil into its platform to provide micropayments to its users.

Founded in 2009 by Alan Schaaf, Imgur is an image sharing and hosting company with a 300-million user base. The company, known for its memes and GIFs, has grown steadily over the past decade. Schaaf developed the platform as a ‘gift to the internet,’ but it has become way more than that. In a press release, Schaaf stated:

“Imgur began in 2009 as a gift to the internet. Over the last 10 years we’ve built one of the largest, most positive online communities, based on our core value to ‘give more than we take. Everything from the way we operate as a team to the ways in which we partner with brands is built around this core value of giving to the community.”

However, its content creators haven’t been able to monetize their content. This is set to change with the integration of Coil. According to Tech Crunch, users will pay Coil a fixed monthly fee of $5, install its browser extension which integrates with Chrome and Firefox and then get to browsing content on Imgur. Coil will then pay the creators in XRP tokens or U.S. dollars for every second that a user spends on their content. The rate stands at 36 cents per hour.

Imgur and Coil will also charge a commission with every payment. This will provide the first non-advertising source of revenue for Imgur. Imgur will also launch a premium feature for its Coil subscribers that will have exclusive content.

Coil was founded in 2018 by Stefan Thomas, the former CTO for Ripple Labs. The startup develops micropayments solutions for the web, seeking to provide an alternative to the ads or subscription models, which are the only two channels that content developers can make money through. Coil offers a subscription service for its users, with extensions that support Firefox and Chrome browsers.

Thomas told Tech Crunch, “There’s no built in business model as part of the web. Publishers and platforms either make money with ads or with subscriptions. The problem is that only works when you have huge scale. That can bring along societal problems as we’ve seen with Facebook. Coil will hopefully offer a third potential business model for the internet and offer a way for creators to get paid.”

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