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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] appreciation payment protocol

From: Ramana Kumar
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] appreciation payment protocol
Date: Thu, 23 Aug 2012 18:19:39 +0100

TipTheWeb ( looks like a promising Flattr alternative: they are non-profit and don't charge fees. They seem to be focused exclusively on web publishing (websites, blogs, ...), though, so I'm not sure if it's viable for sending appreciation for things like art or music or software, but could be...

On Thu, Aug 23, 2012 at 4:43 PM, Ramana Kumar <> wrote:
On Thu, Aug 23, 2012 at 4:15 PM, Miles Fidelman <> wrote:
Ramana Kumar wrote:
Dear LibrePlanet

I am writing about the service that Flattr provides, and whether it can be done better.
Flattr provides a way for people to make "micropayments" to each other.
How it works: people put special links on stuff they made/own/want appreciated, and when people click those links, it gets recorded as "spend some money on this at the end of the month". Every month, the clicks are tallied and the amount you choose to spend is divided between the things you clicked on and sent to them.

I see two problems with Flattr:

  * People must have accounts with Flattr for it to work.
  * Flattr collects fees on all transactions.

Is it possible to let people send financial appreciation to each other for things on a large scale without running into those two problems?

I guess BitCoins are one possible solution.

Not that I really have a strong opinion on Flattr, one way or the other, but it strikes me that if "clicks are tallied" and then funds are divided later, SOMEBODY has to be doing the tallying, collecting funds, and dividing them, and that there are real costs involved in doing this.

But none of those things are necessary for appreciation payments. The direct transaction method (e.g. bitcoin) over p2p has no centralised costs - they are distributed over the network and people just pay for their own participation.

Maybe BitCoins may be a way to avoid transaction fees associated with credit cards or paypal, but.... it seems pretty hard to avoid having some kind of account and accounting system and having to collect some fee, somewhere, to pay for things.

The more I learn about bitcoin (I just started learning today) the more it seems to me that that is the way to avoid having an account and a complicated accounting system.
If you want a long-term account, you need to maintain it. But you're always free to create a new one-time address to send/receive money with (and that is very easy using, say, instawallet). And you manage the accounts yourself.

It strikes me that the real questions are how to make such a mechanism fair, trusted, as easy-to-use as possible, and keep the fees to a bare minimum.

The fairness issue is a big one, but can mostly be sidestepped by concentrating on individual-to-individual transactions... if a group shares a receiving address and represents some unified entity to payers, then they can deal with any redistribution of funds themselves privately...

There are models for doing so - mostly in the music industry.  Check out how ASCAP and BMI work for distributing funds received for public performance, or for distributing funds received from jukeboxes (remember jukeboxes?).

thanks for the pointers.

Miles Fidelman

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
In practice, there is.   .... Yogi Berra

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