Streaming Sats back to your favourite Podcast: Value for Value

Explaining Value for Value in Podcasts

In the beginning Adam Curry (and Dave Winer) created the RSS Enclosure and the Podcasts. And the Internet was quiet and without streaming and the spirit of content creation was hovering over the TCP/IP connections

And Adam said "Let there be Source Code" and there was The Daily Source Code and Adam saw that it was good.

If you really know the story of podcasting, you can skip ahead to the Value for Value section, but here is a very brief history of podcasts (you can watch a long, detailed explanation here).

Decentralised Podcasting

Podcasting is by nature a decentralised system. Anyone can host a podcast on any web server. Anyone can develop, distribute and run a podcast client which directly pulls a podcast from the correct server.

However there is one function that is most usefully centralised. For searching all available podcasts and episodes, an index is needed. In the intervening Internet millennia since podcasting was invented, Apple stepped in (invited at first) and largely took over the handling of the centralised index of podcasts.

As with any centralisation by big tech, this is both a boon and a curse. It became an obvious curse when Apple used its centralised power to remove Alex Jones from the index. If you already had his podcast in your player, or you could find his RSS feed address on your own, you could carry on receiving his shows. However, discovery for new listeners was distinctly curtailed. Adam Curry realised what was missing and set out to create it.

PodcastIndex.org

Mission and Goal

Preserve podcasting as a platform for free speech.

Re-tool podcasting to a platform of value exchange that includes developers with podcasters and listeners.

PodcastIndex.org @podcastindex was set up to be the neutral, censorship resistant index which the entire Podcast Industry needs to remain independent and un-censorable.

Through that vector, a health dose of extreme innovation has been injected into what was a largely stagnant tech area. Adam Curry along with Dave Jones are rapidly evolving the specifications for the Podcast RSS feed and have a growing band of developers, hosts and creators following their work.

Value for Value

Podcasting has become a multi million or even billion dollar industry. Joe Rogan's podcast has been signed by Spotify for $100m and now Spotify has spent US$235 million to acquire the podcast hosting and ad platform Megaphone.

But the problem, as Spotify is going to discover, is that placing adverts on hundreds of thousands of user generated podcasts, with unknown and unknowable content, isn't going to be what the major Brand Advertisers are looking for.

Advertising on un-edited content has become inherently risky for big brands in these days of woke tone policing. And whilst the largest podcasters can make money with ad inserts, the Adam Curry's philosophical answer (as pioneered on his No Agenda Show @no-agenda with John C. Dvorak) is for listeners to directly contribute value to the creators they want to hear from. The Value for Value model.

The Tags

Which brings us to the latest innovation in the podcast RSS feed format, the <podcast:value> tag.

I've put in two examples below, the first using the Lightning layer 2 solution built around Bitcoin and the second example is how this could look for Hive. If you want to see these in the context of a full RSS feed, take a look at my experimental podcast feed's RSS file or direct to the RSS use View Source.

 <podcast:value type="lightning" method="keysend" suggested="0.00000005000">
    <podcast:valueRecipient name="podcaster" type="node" address="036d33fbd386acc37577a6d72fea0e893e94a915139508d52a0395a930e1a6b613" split="99" />
    <podcast:valueRecipient name="podcastindex" type="node" address="036557ea56b3b86f08be31bcd2557cae8021b0e3a9413f0c0e52625c6696972e57" split="1" />
 </podcast:value>

What this section specifies, in the section of the feed, is a streaming payment destination address. The way this works is that with the correct Lightning payment enabled podcast player, as someone listens to this show, they can send the suggested amount of 5 Satoshis (108th of a Bitcoin) per minute of the show listened.

You'll notice there are two addresses, and a split function: 99% goes to the content creator and 1% goes to the PodcastIndex. One could add in %s for the podcast app developer and the hosting company. The idea is to incentivise development and innovation in the whole ecosystem.

Sphinx

The very first reference implementation that makes use of this is the Sphinx Chat App. It's in TestFlight on iOS and is a combined. A further post will go into more detail on how it operates but this is what it looks like.

sphinx chat on iPhone X.jpg

Sphinx is a combination of a podcast player and a Lightning Wallet and mini node. Sphinx holds a bitcoin balance (you can see 9,197 sats in the first screen shot which also shows the shows I'm subscribed to. One wrinkle with Lightning is the need for each receiving address to have a 24/7 server running to accept payments. At the moment Sphinx are subsidising this to an extent for early beta users.

Each show can be played and alongside it you have a chat function (the second and third screens). In the third screen you can see boosts where a listener has directly sent me sats whilst listening to an episode. As each episode is played, I, as the content producer, am being paid 5 or 10 or any other user set amount of sats per minute. User chosen boost amounts can be sent at any time. The value tag described above, lets a creator decide who to reward. Sites like PodcastIndex or app designers and hosts can be cut in helping to keep this decentralised infrastructure viable.

All of this is in early Alpha at the moment. The best place to discuss all this is on PodcastIndext.social (a Mastadon instance) where you can find me as @brianoflondon@podcastindex.social.

The Hive Part

And now here's a little detail for Hive. This is an open standard. Just because the Lightning guys have got in first doesn't mean there isn't room for alternatives. Imagine how easily the Value block could be written for Hive. Now we need to think about the combined wallet and app for Hive and looking at hosting arrangements, to host podcasts. And those could be videos too.

 <podcast:value type="HBD" method="transfer" suggested="0.05">
    <podcast:valueRecipient name="podcaster" type="account" address="brianoflondon" split="95" />
    <podcast:valueRecipient name="host" type="account" address="threespeak" split="3" />
    <podcast:valueRecipient name="podcastindex" type="account" address="podcastindex" split="2" />
 </podcast:value>

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