Lightning Speed: Podcasting 2.0 And Its Relationship With The Lightning Network

Will podcasting 2.0 be the next use case for the Lightning Network? The statement might induce skepticism, but Kevin Rooke presents a surprisingly good case. Prepare to receive the gas you needed to start your own podcast. The technology is just getting started, and the people are just getting comfortable with it. However, the logic behind Rooke’s argument stands. 

Related Reading | Spiral BTC Releases Lightning Development Kit. Jack Dorsey’s Puppet Promotes It

He starts with a statement that will surprise no one. “The Lightning Network’s architecture allows creators to earn directly from their biggest fans, in new ways that aren’t even possible on a fiat payment system.” That much we can admit. Also, closed platforms provide convenience and a sizable audience. However, “Apple takes a 30% fee on in-app payments, YouTube takes a 45% fee on ad revenues, and Facebook keeps all their ad revenue without paying their creators a penny.”

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On the other hand, “Email, websites, podcasts, and Bitcoin are all examples of open platforms.” They don’t offer an already captive audience, but, “anyone to plug into fully-formed networks of content and users with full interoperability between competing products.” This helps a lot. However, creators using these open platforms, “still rely on closed monetization platforms like PayPal, Amazon Affiliates, Patreon, or Google Adsense to earn income.”

The Lightning Network Comes To Save The Day

You already know this, the Lightning Network allows for micropayments that are almost free. Anyone can use it, and it’s approaching mass adoption by the minute. “Not only can creators now plug into an open monetization platform with hundreds of millions of users, they can even access a new type of monetization that was never before possible.” Those new types are, “real-time payment streaming, micro-tipping, and other monetization strategies that simply aren’t possible on fiat payment rails.”

So far, so good. “Real-time payment streaming” via the Lightning Network is what Podcasting 2.0 is all about. However, it’s easy to miss why that is important. Crucial, even. 

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“Advertising is directly at odds with other monetization strategies like paid subscriptions. If only a small fraction of your listeners are willing to pay subscriptions for your content, any gains made from subscription revenues will cannibalize your ad revenue, as your total listeners fall by 95% or more.”

That’s the problem with Patreon or similar services. You can monetize your biggest fans’ support, sure, but advertisers won’t pay for that small audience. Podcasting 2.0 provides the best of both worlds.

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We’re Still Early. The Dawn Of Podcasting 2.0

Let’s check the stats out. That’s always fun.

“There are 4,434,920 RSS podcast feeds on the internet today, but only 2,947 of them are on Lightning today. Put another way, only 0.07% of all podcasts on the internet can earn Lightning tips right now.”

And, of course, only early adopters and people in El Salvador are using The Lightning Network. And from that group, only a few people will tip or pay in real-time for the content. However, “there is zero downside to enabling Lightning tips, and the upside can be a meaningful contribution to total revenue. It’s only a matter of time before the other 99.93% of podcasters figure this out.”

And that’s not all, the Lightning Network enables a type of interaction that was not possible for the podcasting medium. Creators can know the exact moment that their listeners decided to tip them.  

“Podcasting 2.0 apps also let listeners send messages and tips to creators while listening to a show, providing direct feedback with timestamps attached to every comment. This innovation represents a shift to a more social podcasting experience.”

And ok, that feedback was already possible in YouTube livestreams. However, YouTube is a closed platform. The feedback stayed with them and wasn’t available for people consuming the podcast through other apps. That’s not the case with Podcasting 2.0.

“Since RSS and the Lightning Network are both open platforms, comments are also interoperable across Podcasting 2.0 apps, so any creator can receive feedback from any listener using any app.”

Conclusions About Podcasting 2.0

Another advantage that this new standard provides podcasters is that they can truly be platform agnostic. 

“Since RSS and Bitcoin are complementary open standards, podcasters don’t have to risk alienating their existing listeners or worry about migrating their content to a new platform.

All podcasters need to do is flip the switch and their Lightning tips and messages will seamlessly integrate with their existing RSS feed.”

Kevin Rooke closes his masterclass with this:

“As Podcasting 2.0 apps continue to build easy interfaces for listeners to tip their favorite podcasters, Lightning tips could even become a primary revenue source, without cannibalizing or interfering with a creator’s existing ad revenue.”

Related Reading | Lightning Speed: Eight Mind-blowing Facts About The Lightning Network

Do you see it now? Or is he exaggerating? In any case, the Lightning Network doesn’t have to provide a “primary revenue source.” If Podcasting 2.0 provides a secondary one that wasn’t possible before, plus audience interaction, that’s more than enough.

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How many Bitcoin does its inventor Satoshi Nakamoto still own?

In brief

  • In the first seven months of Bitcoin’s existence, Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto mined as many as 1.1 million Bitcoin.
  • This fortune, now worth in excess of $10 billion, remains untouched to this day.
  • Numerous individuals have been put forward as the enigmatic Satoshi, but his identity has yet to be definitively proven.

The enigmatic creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, was the first person to mine the cryptocurrency—at a time when each block mined yielded a 50 BTC reward.

Unlike today’s Bitcoin miners, Satoshi didn’t split these rewards with potentially thousands of other mining pool users, and instead benefitted from the entire reward himself. At the time Bitcoin had practically zero value; today, the price of Bitcoin is at the mid-end of the five-figure dollar range.

Between January and July 2009, Satoshi is thought to have mined more than 1 million BTC in total, likely making him the most prolific miner in Bitcoin history. Recent research has suggested that Satoshi could have mined even more Bitcoin, but deliberately held back, curbing his hashrate in order to give other miners a fair shot at blocks.

The Patoshi Pattern

Although it isn’t 100% certain exactly how many Bitcoin Satoshi mined himself, efforts by leading security and cryptocurrency researcher Sergio Demian Lerner may have generated the best estimate yet.

In his report, titled “The Well Deserved Fortune of Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin creator, Visionary and Genius,” Lerner looked at the blocks mined between January 01, 2009, and January 25, 2010 (blocks 1 to 36288) in an attempt to identify which were mined by the same entity. By doing so, Lerner found that a single entity using a single mining rig mined thousands of blocks between this time, and racked up around 1 million BTC in block rewards while doing so.

Lerner coined the term “Patoshi Pattern” to describe the pattern of blocks that appear to be mined by this single entity. Since the pattern begins with the genesis block, it assumed that Patoshi may be Satoshi Nakamoto himself.

Lerner further expanded on this research in April 2019, when he published the follow-up piece: “The Return of the Deniers and the Revenge of Patoshi”. Here, the author finds that Patoshi mined approximately 22,000 blocks singlehandedly, netting a total of 1.1 million BTC in block rewards. To put this into perspective, the block reward has been halved three times since then, and Bitcoin miners now earn just 6.25 BTC for each block mined.

At Bitcoin’s current value, that would place Satoshi Nakamoto’s fortune at over $10 billion, almost certainly making Satoshi the wealthiest Bitcoin owner in terms of pure BTC holdings.

Satoshi’s untouched Bitcoin hoard

Recent speculation that Satoshi may have moved 50 BTC from a 2009-era block was recently debunked when it was found that these Bitcoin fall outside of those covered by the Patoshi Pattern. Instead, those Bitcoin seem to have been moved by another early adopter, who has been linked with dozens of other blocks mined during the period where Satoshi was active.

Despite sitting on over $10 billion in Bitcoin, there is no strong evidence that Satoshi has moved any of it—demonstrating impressive restraint and genuine beneficence. Of course, that assumes that Satoshi still has access to the private keys that contain these funds.

So far, numerous people have publicly claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto, including Craig Wright, Jörg Molt, Bilal Khalid and Debo Guidos. Others have been singled out as likely candidates by a variety of researchers. But to date, nobody has managed to definitively prove that they hold the private keys to any of the addresses thought to be owned by Satoshi—the most compelling evidence that would prove they are Satoshi Nakamoto.

In any case, it is likely that Satoshi is either incapable of or unwilling to spend his Bitcoin, perhaps due to the risk that doing so could lead to his eventual identification. Were Satoshi’s identity ever to be publicly revealed, it would likely have dramatic repercussions for Bitcoin.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated for republication in January 2020. 


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COVID and Big Tech Burnout Are Pushing Social Tokens Mainstream

In 2020, COVID-19 forced creators, brands and artists to rethink their fan monetization and engagement strategies. Many turned to virtual engagements and live streaming. Others experimented with platforms like Patreon or tried to double down on monetizing their social media platforms like YouTube and Twitch. In our industry, it was social tokens that made the rare leap from crypto circles to consumer audiences. 

Before this year, social tokens were an intriguing but mostly hypothetical alternative or additive way for creators, artists and brands to connect with their fan communities. 

This post is part of CoinDesk’s 2020 Year in Review – a collection of op-eds, essays and interviews about the year in crypto and beyond. Kevin Chou is Founder of Rally, an open platform that allows creators, celebrities and brands to launch their own currency.

It didn’t take long for influential celebrities to see the value once the foundational tech was actually built. Akon, Ja Rule and Lil Yachty all announced tokens this year. The NBA’s Spencer Dinwiddie and Japanese superstar soccer player Keisuke Honda launched tokens too with esports and gaming seemingly on deck next. 

Recently, Esports Insider noted, “esports is prime real estate for custom currency.” The diverse array of use cases that each of these social tokens offers is a testament to how far crypto has progressed when it comes to producing real-world usage and value instead of offering a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist. 

The last few years have really taken their toll on creators who feel burned and burned out by big tech social platforms. It’s no secret that platforms rake in huge profits and often give creators the raw end of the deal. The rules are constantly changing and no matter how neutral a platform claims to be, there are always inherent biases behind their decisions to censor content. Creators can be deplatformed through unilateral decisions made by the platform, over which creators can exercise little or no control.

See also: Rapper Lil Yachty Sells Out Social Token in 21 Minutes

Instead of building a large platform’s revenue while only getting a small piece of it, creators are excited by the idea of using their own token to build their own economies and interact with fans on their terms, instead of on the whims of the platform. Blockchain takes the decision-making process out of the hands of large platforms and into the hands of creators and their fans and community members. It’s up to the creators and their communities to decide how the creator’s social token will be used and valued.

ICO 2.0?

In some sense, celebrities have given crypto a bad name. In 2017, there were several influencers who hyped dubious token projects. Traders piled money into initial coin offerings with unclear roadmaps and ultimately little intrinsic value. 

This year saw a shift towards actual value creation and control. Instead of just advertising an ICO, influencers are plugging social tokens into their existing community-building efforts. Some have deployed personal tokens on apps like Discord to enable token-permissioned chats and channels. By integrating tokens into their existing communities, rather than duping their fans into investing in third party token projects, these creators are adding value to their brands and proving the useability of cryptonomics. 

It’s up to the creators and their communities to decide how the creator’s social token will be used and valued.

Perhaps if bitcoin’s bull run continues, we’ll see celebrities like Logic and Maisie Williams create their own currencies. But one thing is certain, the conversation will shift from what creators are launching tokens to what they are doing with their tokens, grading social tokens on their usability and utility.

Creators, artists and brands and their fans will need to keep their guard up against crypto projects offering pump-and-dump mechanisms for short-term gains that will ultimately be a detriment to their relationships with their fans. Instead, they will need to focus on the long term and partner with crypto projects that aim to build richer solutions to community management and monetization. 

The coming year will be one of experimentation where influencers will tap crypto to engage their fan bases with token-permissioned chat, voice and video functionality. We’ll likely see a ton of new activity. Discord community servers will launch their own social tokens as well. Artists will explore tokenized meet-ups, crowdfunding, and we’ll likely see social tokens plugged into the decentralized finance (DeFi) community as collateral for lending/borrowing. 

As more developers get in on the action, DeFi enthusiasts build out the financial infrastructure, and celebrities bring their fan bases into crypto, social tokens will go down in history as a bright spot of 2020.

Year in Review is a collection of op-eds, essays and interviews about the year in crypto and beyond. 



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Creator of Crypto Asset That Exploded 91,000% This Year Partners With New Project

The immensely successful (YFI) is partnering with the crypto newcomer Cover Protocol (COVER). According to creator Andre Cronje, YFI developers have been working with the Cover Protocol team since its inception and will now officially merge. “The two teams working together as one will help optimize, enhance, and amplify the work that is […]

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Mysterious Bitcoin Inventor Satoshi Nakamoto Built BTC in London, Researchers Say

New research indicates Satoshi Nakamoto built Bitcoin in London. Several factors point to Bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator operating out of the capital of the United Kingdom, including Nakamoto’s writing style, activity pattern and the content of the genesis block, according to Doncho Karaivanov, the creative director at the Chain Bulletin. Karaivanov, a former software engineer, notes […]

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