July 16, 2010

NewGenDosh: Flattr

Editor's note: Zooko writes in p2p-hackers forum, and editor gladly copies:

That there is also a new generation of interesting payment systems including The Love Machine and Flattr.

I think Flattr is very interesting. Founded by founders of The Pirate Bay, they do several things that are very promising:

1. The marginal cost to you of clicking on someone's "flattr me" button is zero. This is due to the scheme of subscribing to Flattr.com with a monthly fee and then at the end of the month your money gets split among everyone whom your clicked on. This is the most promising solution to the problem of "mental transaction costs."

2. The pitch is that this is a way to express love to people. ♥ > $

3. Look: content! It is very easy to find things to love on the flattr.com web site.

This has a lot in common with the "tipping" feature that we advertised as a future feature of Mojo Nation (e.g. it features prominently in the write-up of Mojo Nation in The Economist). (Inside Evil Geniuses For A Better Tomorrow we called that feature the "Pay Lars" button, in honor of a certain musician who had publicly criticized Napster for depriving him of well-earned income.)

From a historical perspective Flattr is a fascinating example of the evolution of ideas. The founders of The Pirate Bay are probably intimately familiar with BitTorrent, but as far as I know, they are unfamiliar with anonymous Chaumian digital cash. I wouldn't be surprised if they got the idea for Flattr from their experience with BitTorrent and basically observing that there was a "hole" in BitTorrent where micropayments could go. :-) Does anyone know the inside story on how they got the idea for Flattr?



Posted by iang at July 16, 2010 08:29 PM | TrackBack
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