Usage Based Voluntary Payments

by Titusz Pan
Imagine an internet browser with a built-in cryptocurrency wallet. Alice has just installed such a new browser or a plug-in. At any time she can specify an amount of coins that she would be willing to spend per month for the content she consumes while surfing the web. The browser could locally scan the loaded content, generate the implicit content identifier and query the public blockchain for license information. At the end of the month, the browser would analyse the local history and propose a list of beneficiaries and a split between them based on Alice’s usage. She could simply accept the proposal or tweak it to her liking and compensate the copyright holders directly via on-chain payment. Alice has managed to compensate her favored creators without much effort or distraction and even without having to expose any details about what contents she has consumed to any data collecting entities. The copyright owners have received direct and granular payments with low transaction fees and without losing a big share to the usually long chain of intermediaries.
An initiative called ‘The Brave Browser Project’ already has a similar approach. But ‘Brave’ is acting as an intermediary for payments and only pays to publishers that have manually registered their domains with their service. The problem with this is that domain owners are not necessarily the intended beneficiaries or copyright holders of the contents they host (eg. user generated content on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter etc.). The building blocks of the Content Blockchain Project will allow applications to find and compensate beneficiaries in a more granular way and independently of the contents’ location and hosting.