TonicPow founder Luke Rohenaz joined Kurt Wuckert Jr. on the CoinGeek Weekly Livestream, where they talked about TonicPow, the new world of micropayment-fueled marketing it enables, and much more.
What TonicPow is really capable of
Wuckert says he received a payment from TonicPow for posting a link on Twitter and that this surprised him. He asks Rohenaz to explain what happened.
Rohenaz begins by explaining the full capabilities of TonicPow and how its API allows for building all sorts of use cases. He describes how TonicPow is primarily about conversions rather than clicks.
“The main thing it does is let you build custom incentives into your product,” Rohenaz tells Wuckert.
Wuckert asks for the best way to dive in and learn more about TonicPow. Rohenaz responds that the team is available to talk about product integrations. Likewise, they’re putting together more videos explaining the various features, ensuring everyone knows what TonicPow can do. For those wanting to play around and tinker with a campaign, it’s simple enough, but for those hoping to do product integrations, Rohenaz encourages contacting the team first.
Rohenaz then explains how there are various unique ways TonicPow payouts can be triggered. For example, he tells Wuckert that payouts can be triggered using coupon codes apart from affiliate links and the usual methods. Wuckert gives the example of himself promoting HandCash. If the user uses his coupon code (e.g., KURT), that could trigger a payout. Rohenaz says that, basically, that’s correct, provided HandCash had integrated and agreed to the terms.
Why aren’t more people using TonicPow yet?
Wuckert complements Rohenaz on his broad view of what Bitcoin should look like from top to bottom, including everything from deep infrastructure to the application layer. This leads nicely to his next question, which is why more people aren’t utilizing things like TonicPow in order to launch affiliate systems.
“Part of it’s me,” Rohenaz responds. He says he’s the type to put his head down and grind, perhaps not promoting the features of his products enough. However, he is planning to change this by appearing on more podcasts, and he’s aware of some established companies in the process of hooking up to TonicPow. He says some of these are outside the BSV bubble and becoming aware of it as a business tool.
Rohenaz points out that the BSV ecosystem isn’t flush with users right now. One reason is that most people involved in digital currencies are here to bet on coins. It’s not until real problems are solved and better tools are created that things will start to take off. Rohenaz thinks we’re there now, and BSV is ready for the real solutions to be built at scale.
Questions from a viewer about conversion goals and the TonicPow user base
Answering a question from a viewer who asks if view duration could be integrated into a conversion goal, Rohenaz replies that anything a user does, such as spending time on something, or any sequence of events, can be set up as a goal. Basically, as soon as the user meets any conversion signal decided by the advertiser, that can be communicated to TonicPow, and the payout can be triggered. Due to this customizability, things such as spamming links to receive payouts can be stopped, and it can be made so that the user has to stick around and even interact with the app or page for the payout to be valid.
Wuckert asks how TonicPow can apply to TikTok-type content, which is typically short and video-based. Rohenaz says they can’t do the same integration they did with Twitter on many other platforms because either their terms of service don’t allow it or because they make it difficult for integrations such as this to even work. However, Rohenaz does believe that TonicPow can still be useful as “a dashboard for negotiating contracts between an influencer and a brand.” He says it will be a little more manual, but it can still be used to some extent.
Another viewer asked Rohenaz what the current TonicPow user base looks like and whether or not more advertisers and companies are using it. Rohenaz replies that there’s a mix between two kinds of people; those who have a great audience already who are negotiating contracts, messaging people, and cutting deals, and there are also more casual users who occasionally share things. The brands fit roughly into the same two camps, he says.
Jamify—A music NFT platform on BSV
Wuckert pivots to another of Rohenaz’s products, Jamify, and asks how it works with TonicPow. Rohenaz says it’s one of the best examples of what you can do with TonicPow. He says that, just as Wuckert received payment for posting a CoinGeek link on Twitter, he can now also get paid for posting links to songs on Jamify. This type of integration will allow artists to have BSV-powered marketing campaigns for their new albums quickly and easily. For example, the artist can pay commissions on NFTs sold to marketers who refer customers.
Rohenaz then explains how this can go much further, extending even to physical items such as t-shirts. He outlines how a band could sell a t-shirt with a chip in the sleeve, allowing the person who purchased it to receive payments on NFT sales such as albums.
“This sounds like the beginnings of a sort of Shopify,” Wuckert comments, noting how what Rohenaz is doing is helping fuel other people’s businesses with integrated marketing tools. Rohenaz responds that this is true with a caveat. He pictures Bitcoin changing things, whereby we don’t have giant platforms like Spotify that integrate with everything else, but we have multiple platforms that all integrate using the same rule set.
“If you have a bigger ecosystem with lots of players all rooting for the same rules, we all benefit,” he explains.
Rohenaz says that many new users are coming onto Jamify to mint NFTs who never knew anything about Bitcoin or BSV. He says he’s super excited to flesh out the rest of the features he has planned for the platform.
How the TonicPow model differs from the current ad-tech dystopia
Another viewer then asks, “With all platforms guarding their ad space, is the end goal to support and build a social protocol on BSV that doesn’t have so many limitations?” Rohenaz responds that he loves the question and explains that the openness of the protocols, enabling multiple platforms, is absolutely the goal. He doesn’t like how big companies that control huge networks can set the rules and shut out competition.
“That’s way harder to do when you’re using an open protocol,” he says, explaining his grander vision.
Explaining the key difference between TonicPow and the surveillance model of big ad-tech platforms that dominate the internet today, Rohenaz describes his model as “more passive.” It allows influencers to share what they think their audience might like rather than spying on them and trying to guess. Rohenaz believes that, with the trend towards regulating the intrusive models, the time is right for alternatives, and TonicPow won’t be affected by this trend towards taming the more intrusive ways to advertise because its model doesn’t work the same way.
Wuckert asks Rohenaz to zoom out and imagine where this will be in 10 years. He asks if there’s a place for the AI and other technology used in ads today. Rohenaz says a lot of it will be left on the table because the model just doesn’t work that way. However, he says there’s a place for promoters to use such tools to find the best campaigns or evaluate their audience to see what campaigns might fit. He explains how this is a return to manual negotiation, voluntary agreements, and letting people choose things that make sense for them.
Incentivizing influencers to use the platform
Another viewer asked whether influencers don’t want to tie their payouts to actual performance, and prefer to cash in on their follower accounts, might be an issue. Rohenaz says he has heard that a lot, but there’s an advantage to it; brands and advertisers have a way to know their money isn’t being wasted. He’s committed to this vision and believes it is simply a better product.
“If we offer tools that allow honest negotiations, we’re going to be better off no matter what,” he says.
Picking up on this question, Alex Moon asks whether there’s a way to incentivize influencers via an extra payment during the contract negotiation stage to ease them into the ‘pay for results’ model. Rohenaz replies that a sign-on bonus could easily be one of the conversion goals. He also mentions that subcontracts are coming soon, allowing users to recruit others, even at higher costs than the campaign is paying per click/signup, and keep the difference, potentially turbo-charging campaigns.
Building a Bitcoin-native advertising protocol
Wuckert then asks Rohenaz what he’d like to see. “What would make you happy if somebody climbed in and did this?” he asks. Rohenaz replies that, in the short term, he’d like to see people take deeper product integrations seriously. In the longer term, he’d like to release something “a little more Bitcoin native,” such as an advertising protocol, and having someone else build something like TonicPow on it.
Wuckert asks if this wouldn’t undermine TonicPow, to which Ronhanez answers that it doesn’t necessarily. “If they’re bringing on new brands on their platform, but they’re going on-chain, and my promoters and influencers can bid on those things while I’m in the monetization flow, I can still earn from that,” he says, pointing out that this sort of integration whereby everybody adds to the pie can help take on giants like Facebook and Google.
The other cool stuff Luke Rohenaz is up to
Wuckert asks Rohenaz what else he’s up to and what he’s been working on.
Rohenaz describes BUX, a bitcoin, UTXO, and xPub manager. He describes this as wallet infrastructure, saying there wasn’t anything robust and open-source enough when they started working on it. It has a click-and-deploy server, a console to help users monitor activity, and it can be used to stand up paymail servers or as an application server.
He also talks about Jungle Bus, which they’ve been working on in conjunction with GorillaPool. He describes it as providing an easy way to filter different types of transactions such as RUN transactions, MetaNet transactions, etc.
“There’s other stuff, too,” he says, expressing an enthusiasm to revive some of the older projects he used to work on but hasn’t had time for recently.
On Ryan X Charles’ recent post
To wrap up the Livestream, another viewer asked if Rohenaz saw the recent post by BSV developer Ryan X Charles saying that he is done with Bitcoin.
Rohenaz calls it “unfortunate,” complementing Charles as a super capable guy who also could rally others behind him to work on things.
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