TL;DR: Censorship and a lack of ability to micro tip bedeviled the peer-to-peer electronic cash community for years when it came to online blogging platforms. Various proposed solutions have come and gone, plagued by clunky user interfaces and lack of maintenance. Read.cash, launched in October of last year, seems to have broken through such hurdles, and is quickly becoming a must-read site. CoinSpice caught up with the site’s anonymous founder to better understand its origins and goals.
Meet the Creator of Read.cash
Reddit and Telegram have become message boards and encrypted chat rooms of choice for a great deal of the P2P electronic cash ecosystem. Both have their advantages, but also suffer from petty lords who censor, remove, ban, and otherwise curate discussions. What has been missing is a longer-form blogging site to rival the likes of potential answers such as Medium, allowing for the ability to not just debate topics but to actually use cryptocurrency in the process.
Enter Read.cash, a clean, widely praised platform where bitcoin cash (BCH) can be used to tip content creators for their posts. While not especially novel or new, Read.cash has delivered a viable proof of concept in the wild, live, right now. No more evidence is needed than the latest Bitcoin Cash community debate surrounding the Infrastructure Funding Plan for Bitcoin Cash (IFP).
Regardless of where enthusiasts come down on the IFP, Read.cash has been a repository for all sides to philosophically let their hair down, offering everything from trollish criticism to alternatives to outright praise. It’s not unusual for Read.cash posts in the last few days to receive thousands of views … and thousands of dollars worth of BCH in appreciation. One such article, for example, by BCH developer imaginary_username, earned more $1,000 for his Assessment and proposal re: the Bitcoin Cash infrastructure funding situation.
The post by imaginary_username is sprawling and detailed, offering charts and graphs to buttress his arguments. Again, the content for the present article isn’t particularly important. Instead, the fact that his online voice has a place to make a comprehensive case, unedited, while allowing for comments at the end, demonstrates Read.cash’s brilliance. The layout is crisp, easy on the eyes, and continues to attract more eyeballs by the day. The money reward doesn’t hurt either, of course.
CoinSpice was able to snag an interview with the Read.cash platform creator. He wishes to remain anonymous, along with the entire team, and we pressed him especially on that issue. We were able to determine he entered the crypto scene back in 2013. The combination of being a so-called “big blocker” and becoming simultaneously appreciative of Medium and disenchanted by its lack of an open-source source editor, provoked the future Read.cash creator to think more deeply about online blogging.
He also revealed having created Taskopus (a kind of early iteration on Amazon MTurk with BCH as its main crypto). He’s also claimed to have been part of FreelanceForCoins.com, and when Honest.cash received public criticism, he was further provoked to find a solution. “I thought, ‘Why not try that again.'” He then learned about the open-source TipTap editor, based on ProseMirror, as a way to format text.
“At the time it wasn’t really an idea to build a community or something like that,” the anonymous Read.cash creator explained. “I was thinking I would build an editor for me that I would like. I especially wanted some of Medium’s features, like an ability to paste an image from the clipboard or being able to drag-n-drop the image into the text. In a few days, I built something like that and showed it to a few colleagues. They seemed pretty happy and we started a discussion of what else can be done.”
CoinSpice: Some have pointed out that Read.cash might be a stealth BSV project, developed by anon dev, “_unwriter.” Are you and Read.cash connected to either?
Read.cash: We had no idea this domain previously belonged to _unwriter (who went on to become a Bitcoin SV supporter). So, reasonably the first questions that we’ve received were about our involvement with the SV team. At first, we didn’t even understand why people would assume that. It’s only after somebody explained _unwriter’s project that this possibility became obvious. But no, we’re not involved with SV.
Who is involved? Do you have a team?
There is a small, loosely defined team. One pizza would be enough for us all. Everyone is a pretty seasoned developer, some with 20+ years of experience. We mostly met in a big corporation where we were working previously, but have since gone different ways. People are helping from time to time, but there is no fixed team. People help whenever they feel like it and have time.
Why is it important to remain anonymous?
First of all, we don’t think our identities have anything to do with the project at all. However, cryptocurrency doesn’t really enjoy the ‘cool’ status in the corporate world. We are all full-time employees in regular corporations because, to be honest, cryptocurrency projects can’t really feed you unless you’re a scammer doing an ICO (or whatever this is called these days) or an exchange.
In the three months of Read.cash’s existence, we spent much more on it than it brought us. That’s not even considering the unpaid development time. So, we still have to keep our jobs and do Read.cash in our free time. We’ve discussed it, and it seems to us that if our employers were to find out our involvement with cryptocurrencies it would bring us nothing good.
I think it’s great that Bitcoin was invented by someone anonymous because you can’t really attack Bitcoin based on personal traits of Satoshi Nakamoto (Was he a hippy? Was he a Democrat/Republican? What religion?). The same is with us. Bitcoin Cash is constantly being attacked by at least two camps, which constantly try to find grounds to divide Bitcoin Cash supporters. That’s why it seems that the less is known about us, the less it’s possible to divide Read.cash users based on how similar or different the users and the founders are.
Frankly, we want Read.cash to be a project with no people behind it, as neutral as it could get. All these factors add up to our decision to stay anonymous. It’s the project that’s important, not the people behind it.
How is traffic getting to Read.cash? How are people finding your platform?
At first, it was mostly through Reddit’s r/btc, and I think the majority of new users still come from there. Then, it was some word-of-mouth. Later, we started an affiliate program where anyone could create a link and you get 30% of our profits from anyone that registers via that link, so people are spreading these links far and wide.
Recently, for example, a popular YouTuber with nearly half a million subscribers found out about Read.cash and was warmly welcomed into the community. He said he had heard about us in some Bitcoin Cash Telegram group. We don’t have Google Analytics on the site (we don’t feel like giving out our user’s data away), so we don’t have extensive knowledge about where the people are coming from, just some vague idea of how many people are there.
Any plans to expand?
That’s probably way too early to say. Read.cash is not a profitable project (despite many people claiming that 10% commission is way too high!), but it doesn’t require much to keep it up, so it’s not a problem. But there’s no point in expanding (as in team size) for something that’s currently losing money. As in a plan for expansion of the project: sure, we’ve got a ‘Communities’ section coming up (something like subreddits), which would help with the fact that currently our main page is filled with different topics. There are a lot of smaller things to do on our Roadmap as well.
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DYOR: CoinSpice is your home for just spicy crypto things. We’re not affiliated with any cryptocurrency project or token. Each published piece is intended for information purposes only, not investment advice and not in the hope of impacting speculative markets. There are plenty of trading sites and coin-specific advocacy journals out there, we’re neither. CoinSpice strives for rigorous accuracy in our reporting. Information presented here is contingent usually on a host of factors, and the ecosystem moves fast — prices change, projects change, and at warp speed. Do your own research.
DISCLOSURE: The author holds cryptocurrency as part of his financial portfolio, including BCH.