Will Bitcoin’s Lightning Network make Journalism great again?

in #bitcoin4 years ago (edited)

Will micropayments make journalism great again? Image source: Pixabay

Hello my fellow Steemians and Crypto investors,

As you have certainly realized by now, we are currently living in a dark age of Fake News.

Whatever your political leaning, you are likely very pissed off at mainstream media organizations because of their blatant bias, sensationalist headlines, and consistent lack of serious investigative journalism.

But, why is this happening? Why are news organizations barely doing any investigative work and mostly concentrate on click bait headlines that repeat what the rest of the herd is saying at the moment?

It’s the money, stupid!

The 90’s brought us the miracle of internet news. It was great for consumers, they could read every newspaper in the world without paying a cent! However, this was a shock to the news organizations which relied on paper sales to stay in business and, more importantly, pay the investigative journalist teams we are now missing so badly.

It's the money stupid! Image source: Pixabay

The answer to this was online ads, and lots of them! But, these ads bring very little revenue per visit, not nearly enough to maintain a healthy editorial staff dedicated to investigate news stories. Add to this the rise in popularity of online ad blockers and the problem becomes even worse.

Micro-payments to the rescue of journalism

This morning I found a, highly technical but very interesting, piece of news deeply buried on the internet about Bitcoin’s Lighting Network integration with Wordpress.

I’m not going to go into technical details of what Bitcoin, Wordpress or the Lightning Network are in this article, it would become 100 pages long!

So, I’m just going to say that this development, if it proves successful, would allow for instant micropayments from anywhere in the world on most news websites available today.

Lightning is coming to change the world. Image source: Pixabay

Would you pay less than a cent to read the latest news from a reputable source? You probably would, the problem is that option doesn’t really exist yet. It’s not economically feasible for credit card companies to charge less than $3 dollars for online products so the organizations that do put up pay walls often charge monthly fees of about $10 or more.

These paywalls are very unattractive for consumers. Not only are they expensive, they enslave readers to a particular news source so most just close the page and go the next website that covered the same topic for free, through ads. The net effect is, no matter how great your content is, paywalls greatly reduce your traffic and benefit your competition. Not a good solution at all.

Micropayments on the other hand give freedom to consumers. They don’t have to be tied to a monthly contract with any particular news source. They can read from multiple sources and pay a minuscule amount to bypass the paywalls they encounter as they navigate the internet from anywhere in the world, instantly.

News organizations could see a many fold increase on revenue from micro payments

News websites do get a lot of traffic! The problem is the majority of it doesn’t generate any income and, even worse, it overloads their web servers and adds hosting costs to the business. However, with micropayments, every little visit would pay for itself and then some.

Show me the money! Image source: Pixabay

For example, Bloomberg.com, a news website with about 12 million daily pageviews, would rake in about 120K a day charging just one cent per page! This is, of course, a rough calculation. Breaking news could charge more, I’m guessing up to .25 cents per view and older or less relevant posts would charge way less or even maintain their old ad revenue systems. If we assumed an average of about 10 cents across all pages, Bloomberg would bring in 1.2 million daily, a very respectable amount!

New problems

A world where news is only accessible to the relatively wealthy would bring a new set of problems. The economically disadvantaged could be further distanced from access to the best news sources they so badly need to stay informed and overcome the very economical and political hurdles that keep them in that position.

However, I optimistically believe the market would adjust for this. Older news would likely still be free to access and local newspapers would just charge less (a Bitcoin is divisible by up to 100,000,000 Satoshis - 1 Satoshi is $0.0000895030 USD at the time of this writing) while still bringing more revenue than before and being able to better pay their staff.

Would more revenue bring investigative journalism back?

This remains an open question for the future. News organizations used to spend a lot more money on investigative journalism before. If they had more revenue and incentives to make their paid stories widely read they probably would spend more on it but, it’s a whole new world, and predicting the future is always complicated. We are going to have to wait and see.

One thing is for sure, micropayments are coming to change journalism and online publishing as we know it one way or the other. Brace yourselves for change.

So, what do you think? Will cryptocurrency micropayments save journalism?

Share your comments and thoughts with the Steemit community in the comments below!



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@cryptoeagle bitcoin future is bright along with steem but steem value is going down very fast which is a poor sign of inflation.

@lays, the future of Steemit is extremely bright. I'm super bullish on Steemit. It is just a diamond in the rough. Steemit is just Facebook of the future, just that people haven't realized it yet (anyway the market is not rationale). Just wait when social influencers and many amazing content creators start flooding here and see it as a better value for their time and content than Youtube, Facebook and Twitter, the value of Steem will be off the roof by then.

Currently, Steemit and other crypto projects trail along bullish and bearish trends of Bitcoin because we are still in the early stages of blockchain tech and Bitcoin is the forerunner. However in the very near future, they will decouple from bitcoin and successful ones like Steem will blossom.

I don't think so. Steem value will go up pretty soon when Bitcoin also starts growing :) Of course, Steem is very inflative but I think that the pump will be stronger :)

So far bitcoin seems like a digital gold for right now, and maybe someday if fiat really proves to be a destruction to financial system , then bitcoin would be the alternative currency especially to those developing countries. :)

The Brave system is the only chance publishers have at resuscitating their dying business model. I don't think bitcoin micropaymets will work, as nobody will bother with spending their bitcoin on shit they can get for free elsewhere.

I'm an independent freelance journalist and I've been closely watching the new blockchain projects that are trying to do just this (Civil is most interesting to me; but others I'm watching are DNN, PUBLIC on the DECENT network, Po.et, and of course--Steemit). I hadn't heard of the way Lighting Network might allow this--thanks for your post, and I'll read into it. From the startups I've researched, Po.et seems closest to what you're describing. It would allow existing publishers to use a plugin to their CMS, or even Wordpress, to publish content to the po.et blockchain, which has a token called POE. I've written a bit more about all these j-blockchain projects here: http://wampumweek.com/2018/03/04/might-blockchain-tech-disrupt-media-lets-take-look-journalism-blockchain-startups/

FollowBack every day 100%

Lightning network was introduced several months ago and it will surely speedup the transactions within the blockchain since the network processing will be done outside the block chain and if all datas were verified by the miner then its time to return it back to the blockchain for data transmission.

Currently, every block have only 1mb size with 7 txn per sec while in the lightning network we can do multiple txn with bigger data size.

Good job.

Yes I think many underestimate how big the implementation of Lightning will be. Also for video's or games money can be streamed, so content can be paid by time unit. Also after a disaster somewhere in the world readers can rate how sorry they feel for the victims and a tiny donation is automatically send to the victims, without middleman who take a huge share.


Hehehe, Trump's campaign really made his effect on you guys... i see like 10 posts a day with the "great again" thingy on them.
Cheers, nice content!

It's a phrase actually first popularized by Ronald Reagan and it's great again thanks to Trump haha

Hahahaha, amazing.

Once people will flock to decentralized media, these websites will earn even less. Do you guys think advertisers and big websites could buy Steem tokens and other decentralized currencies in a panic of FOMO? What are your thoughts?

People are used to getting everything ‘free’. News is free, social media is free, virtually everything on the internet is free (and paid for through aggressive marketing and ads aimed at those who use the services). Convincing people to sign up to a different model where they have to actually pay for the content they consume will be a big ask.

Good day my friend.

One thing you might want to check...12M pageviews at a penny is $120K, not $1.2M...still a nice chunk of change but not the big number you used....unless you meant 10 cents per pageview?

It is going to be interesting to see if SMTs take off and how that affects things. What might happen is that an outfit like Bloomberg creates its own token and has people upvote the pages they like. This will allow the reporters to get paid while also making a percentage themselves.

We could also see the investigative journalists freelance and get paid directly.

I will admit writing this without reading the link to the story you read this morning...one which I will read.

Thanks for the post.

Oops. true that! Just updated the post. I was thinking 10 cents per page like you said. Creating new tokens could be attractive too but with all the recent regulatory pressure on ICOs I'm not sure they would go that way, especially if simple Wordpress plugins are available. We'll see how this unfolds, it's certainly interesting though! Thanks for the great comments as usual!

I think the bigger outfits have the clout and money to do their own token and go through the ICO process. The smaller players, obviously not.

Which makes SMTs interesting because one can create a token yet not ICO it so it is publicly traded. It will be on the STEEM internal exchange meaning that it will be paired with STEEM for liquidity but not openly traded.

By the way, I just posted an article that you might like...a bankster admitting that cryptocurrency is going to cook them.

They are already simmering haha. They know it, this genie is out of the bottle.

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Yeah! That's true. This is the reason why all rich people with business opportunities are thinking of bringing a crypto to the market.

Nice article, thanks for sharing. I've smashed the like button for you!

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How is Lightning Network not just a glorified sidechain? I've been invested in Bitcoin since 2011 and I still can't understand how LN can solve the scaling issue if one can only send payments to another on the same LN channel without incurring transaction fees. Addresses on the same channel are only a tiny subset of total addresses. And if bitcoin CAN be sent intrachannel without fees, HOW??

Yes I think many underestimate how big the implementation of Lightning will be. Also for video's or games money can be streamed, so content can be paid by time unit. Also after a disaster somewhere in the world readers can rate how sorry they feel for the victims and a tiny donation is automatically send to the victims, without middleman who take a huge share.

You mean like Facebook ribbons and virtue signaling but actually helping! Haha, very good idea my friend. regards

For future viewers: price of bitcoin at the moment of posting is 8884.40USD

You got a 11.74% upvote from @postpromoter courtesy of @cryptoeagle!

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Steem should be used for free transactions.

I am negative on this idea, though. Applying micropayment to the current business model of newspapers will make no difference. Considering some risks such as abusing refunds, this approach may impact very little in terms of revenue and low-quality articles. Finally, there is no guarantee that more money would make the journalism clean and better. But it was nice to see that there are people who think about ways to make better journalism, since I am very interested in it. Keep good work, cheers!

Actually, a news media platform 'Blendle' from Netherlands seems very similar to your idea. I do not think Blendle dominates or makes a significant impact on new media industry in overall, however you can find many analysis or articles on this service. It must be interesting to you!

Es bastante interesante, sin embargo convertiria a las noticias de calidad en un producto consumible unicamente por un sector de la poblacion que posee bitcoins. Si bien Bloomberg tiene un estimado de 12 millones de visitas diarias, lo mas probable es que solo una fraccion de esos 12 millones tenga criptomonedas. De igual forma los paises desarrollados serian los que tendrian un mayor acceso a noticias ya que en paises en vias de desarrollo, como Venezuela, pagar tan solo un centavo por noticia representa un costo significativo (es sumamente dificil acceder a divisas y todo un reto poseer bitcoins)
Asi mismo, Las noticias mas relevantes para la sociedad (por ejemplo un cambio de gobierno, llamado a elecciones) deberian de permanecer gratuitas .
It is quite interesting. however, it would turn quality news into a consumable product only for a sector of the population that owns bitcoins. While Bloomberg has an estimated 12 million daily visits, most likely only a fraction of those 12 million have cryptocurrencies. Similarly developed countries would be those who would have greater access to news because in developing countries, such as Venezuela, paying just one cent per news represents a significant cost (it is extremely difficult to access foreign currency and a challenge to own bitcoins)
Likewise, the most relevant news for society (for example a change of government, call for elections) should remain free.

While this could be a great help, especially to get some good investigative journalism again like you say, it won't do anything on it's own, it's not just money issues why journalism is failing. It's activism. And I think that's responsible for way more bias (in other words: fake news) than anything due to lack of good funding. Corruption was always an issue, even at the height of print journalism, and clickbait is an even bigger issue, but it all pales in comparison to just journalist's own personal bias when it comes to fake news.

You see more and more journalists in their social media profile proudly proclaim they are activists, some even embarrassingly calling themselves "journactivist" or some variation of that. They believe they are lying for a good cause and that the ends justify the means. Not limited to any one country either. I've seen that in the US as much as I'm seeing it here in Germany.

I think if you want to make journalism good again (if it ever was good, which I'm not convinced of, with all the information of the internet at our disposal it's just a lot easier to find out when they lie), you need to come up with something completely new. Maybe crowdsourced fact checking built into the site that shows you articles from multiple sources about every news story, stuff like that. It's too easy for journalists to lie, so make it harder.

Comments were kind of like a very basic form of that, especially when you can upvote comments so the interesting ones make it to the top, but more and more news sites are turning off comments. According to them it's because of too much "harassment" but I don't buy that, comment sections were always "toxic" and nobody cared, now decades later it's suddenly a huge problem? They just don't want to get called out for lying or getting things wrong in fear of losing readers.

Time is also a big issue. News need to be fast or they aren't news anymore, but that means less time for research, so sometimes when a journalist gets it completely wrong it's not really his or her fault, just an underlying problem of the way the news business works. That could maybe be helped by journalists being more open about their ignorance. Just saying "This is a developing news story, some things might turn out to be wrong when more information is available" and then when the article is updated, clearly pointing out what was wrong before, why that misunderstanding happened and what the truth turned out to be. If you're honest about it, making a mistake is nothing to be ashamed of, journalists need to realize that.

The Lightning network will almost certainly strengthen the already powerful blockchain technology. I believe that we will be seeing this technology adopted in many outlets: media, news, media-sharing, social-networking, shipping/receiving, and banking just to name a few. As time goes on Lightning blockchain will give some tremendous power to the community. -Respect

Oh this is fantastic! Finally hope that the information revolution that was forseen with the coming on the internet age may finally come to fruition. How amazing would it be if every news source was written by an independently operating and free source, void of all bias other than the one that they themselves bring to the table, not the one that the soulless corporation forces them to represent. I’m absolutely going to look into this more. Thanks a ton for bringing this to my, and everyone elses attention!

I agree 100% that more revenue would return real journalism.
And also it would extend the target scope for the one honest journalist which are today risking their lives to report some real news

I think the lighting network will save the bitcoin. The two biggest problems the speed of transactions and the transaction costs will be so small that the bitcoin will raise again.
In my opinion with the Lightning network we can reach 60.000 USD this year.

Nice Content Men!!!

nice work

This journalism idea seems very similar to the Steemit platform. The only difference it seems is that you automatically pay-per-click on whatever article you read. Great post!

Yes because An easy micropayment system for digital content could help save journalism by allowing people to pay a few pennies for an article or edition of a newspaper rather than having news sites become totally beholden to advertisers. An inventor of the pop-up ad, recently lamented, forcing journalists to cater to advertisers' needs was the "original sin" of the web.

"While one argument is the lack of revenue creating a lack of investigative journalism, another noteworthy argument is that in today’s society if you're not first, you're last. Prior to the social media revolution, the internet, and even radio, news was aired during primetime hours only. Therefore, news companies had time to investigate before it was time to report on the story. Today, news is streamed 24/7, 365 days a year. Therefore, news companies are feeling pressured to report the source first! Which in turn results in short cuts, exaggerations, catchy headlines, etc. With that being said, the real question is will users be willing to pay pennies for news AND patiently wait for quality content?

As everything becomes digitized, paying online is becoming the only option. No more checks and certainly no more cash. But with that, credit card sales that are under a couple dollars are not worth the hassle due to fees companies have to pay to credit card companies, such as Visa. We think micropayments offer great advantages for organizations and consumers alike. From crowdfunding, donations for charity, educational services, and of course, online content.

Lightning Network is doing just that by allowing high-volume micro-payments on the Bitcoin network. Only time will tell what companies will require micro-payments in exchange for their services."

"Another noteworthy argument is that in today’s society if you're not first, you're last." Very true and a worthy addition to this content! Feel free to expand on my article. You can borrow from it as you wish and I'll reesteem it. Regards!

Micro payments would be a great way to make it so news organizations could stay in business. It might also make the pages load faster, because they would have a bunch less info to load.

One thing I could see being a problem is just that it's another expense to keep track of, but I think being ad free would off set the cost.

The Bitcoin news industry is in the process of a huge change. It is growing, maturing; the people in this industry are learning how to be real journalists, and the business talent entering the scene is remarkable. But, as with any evolving market, there is an old guard in the Bitcoin news industry that must adapt or die.

I think it would, this article of yours looks like a product of investigative journalism and i just read it through and commented thereby making you some steem bucks. So i guess the answer is yes...

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I think independent investigative journalism will benefit greatly from cryptocurrency micropayments. It is hard to see how it could make journalism any worse than it's current abysmal state.

if it increases the transaction speed than why not.

It's always the money always was and always will be

They will still have a hard job competing with government newspapers eg RT, Aljazeera, that can afford good journalists and have a message to push.

I think soon they will realise the person making the news has a lot more to gain than the reader. News should be free.

I never bored while i am reading your post. You know how to present a difficult subject in a simple & interesting way. Thank you so much for taking the time to post this information, it will help a lots of people to understand how Bitcoin’s Lightning Network can help journalism. Thanks again for taking the time to post this information. Its always good to know that someone is trying hard to make this world a better & beautiful world.

@ upvoted & @resteem

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Respect for your efforts @cryptoeagle

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The lightning network has the ability to propel the entire cryptocurrency market to the next level

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Will people choose micropayments, which come directly from their pocket, over systems in which the payments come from a rewards pool generated by inflation, as with Steem? I know what I'd choose.

Oh wait, Steem actually already has BOTH options built in. Hmm...

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This time is best time for buy bitcoin? ????

Micropayments should be decentralized. With this comes much freedom.

Nice write up... Thanks for telling the world

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Bitcoin long term future is very great.
If some big banks decide to keep Bitcoin as reserve money, a lot of merchant adopt Bitcoin for real life usage.

deeply think, great

I think steemit is growing very fast and will do well in the future.

micropayments have no business on the blockchain. Run them off chain. That saves massive amount of energy.

You might want to check STEEM.

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