Pay The Content Creators: Decentralized 'AutoTip' Service Released
Tipping itself has been a staple of the Bitcoin community for years now and was one of the first use cases that mainstream audiences found Bitcoin to be suitable for.
A lot of people love ChangeTip. Tipping itself has been a staple of the Bitcoin community for years now and was one of the first use cases that mainstream audiences found Bitcoin to be suitable for. The Silk Road may have been more useful for its users, but microtipping was and remains something Bitcoin enthusiasts can hold up to the mainstream public and say “You can't do this with your money, and look how fun it is.”
But tipping as it is done now, through social media or payment processors like Coinbase or BitPay, has yet to transform the publishing industry. Content creators, believe it or not, are not swimming in thousands of mBTC showered on them by adoring fans. Instead, things run as they pretty much have always run: with advertisers. As many would know, advertisers cause all sorts of problems in the publishing world, especially when you are supposed to cover those very advertisers.
AutoTip is a new take on microtipping that hopes to prove automation and decentralization are the keys the other tipping services have been missing. AutoTip works as an extension in Chrome that users fill up with a small amount of BTC. Webmasters simply implement a short script into their site, and when someone visits the site with the Chrome extension installed, the visitor will automatically send a small tip (around five cents is the default) to the webmaster.
If the webmaster wants to spread the wealth among multiple addresses, he or she can simply add more addresses and each tip will be split among them. The entire process is done peer-to-peer and the money isn't held in any centralized server. The app does set the mining fee at $0.01, which is below the current suggested mining fee, but according to the developer the tips are still processed “fairly” quickly.
The developer admits the app isn't designed with “extreme security” in mind and suggests users do not hold a significant amount of money in the app.
One fear with automatic tip setups is that someone will find a way to game the system, and take many more tips than users intend to send them. In a manual tip economy, content creators are dependent on consumer generosity. In an automatic tip economy, consumers will be partially dependent on the content creators' honesty.
A site stealing from Autotip early adopters would result in bad press for that site, but also for autotipping in general. Disclaimers about “extreme security” aside, the primary reason people aren't going to Autotip seems to be that they fear those tips will go to scammers. To head this off, Autotip has added a few preventative measures.
Each user will only send one transaction to each address a day. Users also have three tipping options: Automatic tipping as soon as they visit a compatible site, automatic tipping after they have visited a compatible site for more than five minutes, and completely manual tipping, where each tip must be approved.
A reddit user suggested that the app should add a blacklist and whitelist for sites into the app. That seems like it would be a powerful feature. Autotip is open source, so perhaps that, and some “extreme” security measures, could get added soon.