PopChest is a service that allows YouTubers and video producers to earn money from their videos without the need for advertising. Users pay a very small fee in Bitcoin, usually $0.25 (approximately 0.000414 BTC at the time of my writing), to watch the content producer’s video. This directly supports the creator, and also allows users to see exclusive content. PopChest has had limited success, but recently, a YouTuber with 600,000 subscribers signed up for the service, creating a surge in interest.
PopChest was founded on 7th May 2015 by Valerian Bennett and James Poole, with the intention of creating “a blockchain-based media distribution platform that allows content creators to get paid directly, in real-time, for every video view” and to give “an engaged audience the smoothest possible video-on-demand experience with no signups, no subscriptions, and no commitment.”
The project launched a private beta that same month, and in June 2015, the general response from the content creator community was very much positive. However, probably down to a combination of the lack of publicity of the project and a lack of understanding of Bitcoin, takeup was semi-limited.
How it works
The requirements for uploading your videos on PopChest are virtually null. They say they are “looking for original content creators with an active, engaged audience. Subject-wise, you don’t have to be bitcoin-related or even that knowledgeable about cryptocurrency.”
Content creators sign up on their website and link their Coinbase account to get started. From there, they then upload their videos. The site provides a preview of about 15 seconds of the video, so users can understand what they’re paying for, before a QR code appears that users scan to send the Bitcoin payment over. One of the main draws for content creators to the site is that, “For every 1 micropayment, [the content creator] generates the same revenue as 50 advertising-supported viewers.” This is particularly important given the rise of ad-blocking software, as views on Youtube don’t always translate to advertising revenue.
Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, said this about PopChest on Twitter:
NurdRage, a YouTube star with over 600,000 subscribers recently signed up on the site, making them by far the biggest content creator on the platform. NurdRage is “a channel run by science nerds for science nerds hailing from the country of Canada.” They “demonstrate science experiment for all levels, from kitchen chemistry to advanced synthesis.”
Their video, titled ‘Dissolve Gold in Poison (Sodium Cyanide)’ has so far had 5,132 views, which translates to $1,283 in Bitcoin transactions to NurdRage. Although NurdRage has promised to release the video on his YouTube channel at a later date, he says he wants to trial releasing his videos on other platforms, including PopChest.
Although slightly unrelated, I thought I’d mention one of the quotations that can be seen scrolling by on PopChest’s ‘About Us’ page - “I need access to more money in order to bring more beautiful ideas to the world.” - Kanye West. Although not known for truly insightful thoughts, I do feel here that Kanye’s statement does have some merit. Content creators deserve to earn a fair amount of money for the quality work they provide. This really does all them to ‘bring more beautiful ideas to the world.’