PayPal, well renowned as a major headache for many online retailers, has been less than ideal for this business model, in part due to their percentage cut and questionable business practices.
New technologies have always had a way of changing people’s lives in unforeseen and drastic ways. The emergence of the Internet in particular has had an astonishing effect on the world in the brief time it has existed in the mainstream, with consequences that have upended entire industries and shaped new cultures – and we are only witness to the beginning.
This global hub has enabled millions of creative people to find an audience, and subsequently a career, where there were once towering barriers to entry. Online crowdfunding – raising money through high numbers of small individual contributions – is enabling development of projects that would otherwise never come about. These two parallel trends are having a powerful effect on the way creativity is expressed online; I can testify to this personally. Two years ago, I posted a Carl Sagan remix video called “A Glorious Dawn” on Youtube, with little to no following. By the end of the month, it had been viewed over a million times, and I had landed a record deal. Crowdfunding enabled me to pursue my ambitions to build off that initial viral success. The resulting web series I created, Symphony of Science, has grown to secure a healthy online presence, striving to bridge the gap between entertainment and education. Its continued existence is owed to the generous donations of thousands of fans, the vast majority using PayPal to conduct transactions.
PayPal, well renowned as a major headache for many online retailers, has been less than ideal for this business model, in part due to their percentage cut and questionable business practices. When I first heard of Bitcoin, the idea immediately clicked. Despite being in its infancy, I was eager to adopt it out of personal interest and its potential to revolutionize online transactions. Peer-to-peer monetary transactions offer a superior way of exchanging worth between individuals and organizations, by cutting out the middle man and ensuring that personal generosity is not partially funneled into potentially immoral organizations.
Bitcoin has begun to tear down yet another barrier between generosity and artistry. Electronic payment gatekeepers like PayPal have glaring downfalls; Bitcoin, despite debates about its viability, is quickly emerging as an advantageous alternative. Its potential is fascinating, and harkens back to the early days of the Internet, when then fledgling companies like eBay and Amazon began to take shape – their enormous potential lying in wait, ready to be unleashed.
It’s no longer a stretch to imagine a world where the flow of money and generosity is completely unimpeded by middle men, and free culture dominates, as ideas freely spread and incorporate themselves into a global “free culture”. I have been lucky enough to find a following in this new and emerging landscape with my series, and I look forward to seeing where crowdfunding, and Bitcoin in particular, will take us.