The Evolution of the Donation Economy and How Tipping Streamers Can Become the New Norm


Websites for posting videos, more importantly, holding live streams have been around for a while, ever since YouTube emerged almost 15 years ago. This brought a large change for content creators around the world, suddenly giving them a platform for sharing their talents, educating the masses, and providing a new form of entertainment.

Soon enough, the streaming, subscription, and donation economy followed, leading to more advanced platforms dedicated to streaming itself, such as Twitch. These platforms are mostly populated by gamers these days, who provide gaming live-streams, and further deepening the industry. However, apart from gaming, which has become one of the largest industries in the world, there are also countless other activities which are being live-streamed on a daily basis.

Things such as cleaning, cooking, eating, whispering into a microphone, and even studying in front of a camera are emerging as new forms of entertainment, no matter how unusual it might sound at first. Finally, at the bottom of it lies the adult entertainment industry.

On the other hand, there is the blockchain industry, which has developed a tight connection to gaming, streaming, as well as adult entertainment. This has led to the creation of one of the more successful streaming-dedicated blockchain projects — SpankChain, which brought a technical, as well as payment, infrastructure for the industry of adult entertainment.

The bottom line is that people tend to enjoy streams no matter what the streamer chooses to do. The reason for this is the feeling of connection to what is happening on the other side of the camera. As a direct result, they wish to support the streamer by donating money. The connection between the streamer and their audience is much more tangible than what was witnessed in other forms of social media, and as such, it led to tipping becoming a new popular trend.

In a way, it is a step away from the Web 2.0 mentality, and a step towards Web 3.0, where individual creators will be able to get paid to perform actions, rather than for selling products.

Online Monetization Evolves Due To Microtransactions

The first thing to realize is that the concept of the transaction goes beyond money. Everything we do can be considered a transaction, even speaking to another person.

Now, in the online world, most of these transactions tend to change, like on social media, as we are not addressing a single person, but an entire user base, such as our Facebook friends list. It goes even further than that, and most people are not even aware that they are a part of the transaction. One such case is when we provide data in exchange to see a certain image online.

Micropayments come as a method of making people become aware of these transactions, and start giving them value. This was not possible before cryptocurrencies came to be, as traditional payment methods would require too high transaction fees, while micropayments themselves would be worthless.

Now, thanks to blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, sending money to people as a donation has become easy, with transaction fees being either minimal or completely nonexistent. There are already platforms that allow people to conduct these one-sided transactions, and the micropayment industry is becoming more and more popular, as well as common.

Tips-Supporting Websites Paving The Way For A Bigger Change

Microtransactions are slowly taking over as a new trend on the internet, but they are spreading faster in certain areas than in others. The five spaces where they are advancing the most include gaming, wellness, flight deals, adult entertainment, and of course, finance.

At this point, tips and donations going through micropayments are still far away from being perfect, and most of it is still limited to exploration and determining the limits and potential uses. Additionally, there is still a long way to go before a large number of users starts actually using the system. It is believed that micropayments will not enter the mainstream for quite some time, as the idea itself is quite foreign to many, while others are openly denying it.

Another question that currently lacks the answer is whether or not this type of interaction is truly beneficial to everyone involved.

Different platforms approach the issue in different ways. Substack, for example, allows people to profit quite a bit by sending newsletters. On the other hand, there is Twitch, which allows its streamers to use subscription models, in addition to just accepting tips. Meanwhile, once the Bitcoin Lightning Network goes live, it will likely be possible to donate money to people on Twitter instead of simply ‘favoriting' their thoughts.

Can A Large Number Of People Benefit From This?

Making a living out of microtransactions — or running a small business, for that point — remains questionable.

At this point in time, the answer is likely no, but the future is much harder to predict. It is not easy to get enough people to subscribe and donate, especially if people are not extremely interested in the information they get in return.

Consumers will not be able to subscribe and donate to all the services they are interested in, even if they are willing to give their money away in exchange for content. With that in mind, it is likely that tipping and donating will not last in the long term. However, once micropayments become a new norm, and develops as a payment method, it is possible that a more automated version of such transactions will start happening constantly.

This still remains far into the future, and it will likely take a number of years until we actually get there. Even so, it is important to keep in mind that the current tipping and donating is an important step towards that future, even if these methods of supporting creators will not be able to stick around.

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