Online celebrities such as Jordan Peterson, Sam Harris, Dave Rubin and more have left or announced leaving popular tipping portal Patreon. It’s a form of protest against the company due to its perceived acts of censorship against inconvenient political thoughts and proponents. An alternative platform is seeking to fill the gap, and offers content creators an uncensored environment to connect with followers. Meet Jonathan Hales and his project, BitBacker.io.
BitBacker: The Patreon Alternative
When asked about Peterson, Harris, and Rubin all leaving Patreon despite their losing a lot of financial support, BitBacker.io founder Jonathan Hales told CoinSpice, “It is a very principled stand and a sign that the era of content creators exploring crypto has arrived.” Hales holds a PhD in mathematics, and the idea for BitBacker.io came before recent controversies with other creator monitizing platforms.
Censorship from the likes of Patreon only fueled Hales’ conviction a service dedicated to intellectual and artistic freedom was badly needed. Hales brings coding know-how, providing most of the site’s code himself, and combines it with a passion for uncensorable money, cryptocurrencies, to make a compelling alternative to increasingly aggressive scolding by the likes of Patreon.
CoinSpice: When did you start working on BitBacker?
Jonathan Hales: I started working on it toward the end of summer and had the good fortune to have had a soft launch of it a couple weeks before the Patreon controversy began.
Did the Patreon controversy fuel you to do this?
I had actually started it beforehand. I think that the next ‘crypto-wave’ is going to be driven by artist and content creators and Bitbacker is a bet on that. The Patreon controversy is, of course, an excellent example of why a crypto backed Patreon is important and not just for the crypto community!
What is your position on Patreon?
So I think that the deplatforming is very unfair and hard on the creators. Bitbacker will never censor anyone for expressing their views. We will not tolerate illegal activity, but free speech, especially in the case of political speech is a core value of Bitbacker. Furthermore, competitors to Patreon that have continued to rely on USD have not been able to secure payment processors. This suggests that crypto is an essential part of the solution.
It’s worth noting that the first ‘bull run’ in crypto was inspired by payment processors shutting down donations to WikiLeaks. So this battle of censorship has been at the core of bitcoin from the very beginning.
What is your business model? How do you monetize your activities?
We take 1% of every transaction. This is actually one of the major selling points, Patreon takes around 10% and Youtube takes 30%! 5% of that is spent on the payment processor alone. I read in the NYTimes that 10% of Patreon’s staff is focused on their Orwellian ‘human touch’ moderation policies.
By not dealing with payment processors or micromanageing our users, we are able to deliver a much cheaper service.
What cryptocurrencies do you accept?
BTC, BCH, and SMART and we are working and adding more. A lot of the other crypto social platforms have tied themselves and their fortunes to the fate of a single currency, Bitbacker is intentionally agnostic.
Further, we don’t have a platform-specific token or currency. This can be rather intimidating for first time users of crypto. Even for sophisticated users, we don’t want to sell you a whole new complicated coin, we are just looking to provide a crypto-based subscription service.
What are your thoughts on the future of the platform?
The primary focus is on working with content creators to craft the platform for them. Recently we’ve been working with Naomi Wu (@realsexycyborg) and implementing some suggestions for her. We will do whatever it takes to make Bitbacker into an easy to use platform for content creators and their fans. To the readers: please reach out if you see something you would like done!
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