ChangeCoin has taken us several steps closer to viable micropayments with a service called ChangeTip. With ChangeTip, people can "tip" each other in amounts ranging from fractions of a penny to $25 in Bitcoins. They can do it across Twitter, on YouTube, Google+, Github, Reddit, StockTwits, and Tumblr, with more sites and services coming.
Here's the company's YouTube video explaining what ChangeTip is:
The service was launched in February of this year on developer site Github. It is also used on Reddit, where it has largely replaced the original /u/bitcointip service that was one of the first micropayment tipping services. Twitter and StockTwits were also in the original launch.
On Monday, the company broadened its service to Google Plus, YouTube, and Tumblr. With the latter two services in particular, users can now easily tip (i.e. reward content creators) for great videos and useful Tumblrs.
ChangeTip is exclusively Bitcoin (for now, at least), and it is Bitcoin that allows the transmission of fractions of a penny. Even better, ChangeTip allows users to send and receive Bitcoins in a completely transparent manner. Register with ChangeTip, and you have a Bitcoin address that you don't have to actually set up.
And that's part of the idea behind the company. By making Bitcoins easier to send and receive, Nick Sullivan, ChangeCoin’s founder and CEO, hopes to broaden Bitcoin's user base. To that end, someone can be introduced to Bitcoin just by receiving a tip. When they go to get that tip and register with ChangeTip, boom! They have Bitcoins.
To send a tip over Twitter, you simply have to have an account, include @ChangeTip in your tweet, name a recipient, and include an amount (see examples below). The company's engine is clever enough to let you use U.S. dollars, Bitcoin denominations, or even code words that users can set up to represent a certain amount.
For instance, you could tell someone to have a slice (US$2.50 in Bitcoins) or a shot ($3.00 in Bitcoins). Big spenders can send someone a birthday cake ($25 in Bitcoins). At the other end of the scale, you could send someone $0.05, or $0.01, or even $0.00004 (the rough value of 1 satoshi as of this writing, an amount you could send because intra-transactions are off-chain).
ChangeTip handles everything for you. Just tweet, and you're done. And because intra-ChangeTip transactions are off-chain, there are no fees for tipping, either sending or receiving. The company has a stated policy of charging 1 percent to withdraw to your own Bitcoin wallet, but even that has been pushed back repeatedly since the company launched.
Next: Examples and Micropayment Thoughts
Page 2 - Examples and Micropayment Thoughts
Here's what a ChangeTip tip looks like on Twitter. In the two tweets below, someone from ChangeTip (@xeniar) tipped me a nickel. At the time of the tweet, that was 8,621 satoshis (BTC0.00008621).
I received that as an @mention on Twitter just like normal. At that point, @xeniar was done with her part of the tip. I then received a tweet from @ChangeTip with a link to collect:
Once I started an account by signing in with Twitter, I had my 8,621 satoshis. I could have withdrawn them to my own wallet, but instead I sent them to @DaveHamilton because he's a helluva guy.
(For those keeping score at home, I forgot to include Dave's Twitter handle in my first attempt and got a friendly note from ChangeTip explaining my error.)
To send a tip on Reddit, simply reply to a specific post with /u/changetip and an amount (including the code words mentioned above). For YouTube or Google+, leave a response that names the user, includes an amount and has +ChangeTip in the comment. For Tumblr, name your recipient, an amount, and @ChangeTip (as with Twitter).
Note that to receive tips, you don't have to do anything more than have an account—you can register the account after receiving the tip. To send tips, you'll need to add Bitcoins to your @ChangeTip account. You can do so from any Bitcoin wallet, but the company has also integrated CoinBase's online wallet service to make things easier for people new to Bitcoin.
A brief note on micropayments. The digerati have been talking about micropayments since the early days of the Internet. So far, proper micropayments have remained elusive. It's simply not feasible for the traditional banking and credit card industries to support micropayments.
ChangeTip isn't truly a micropayment service, at least not per se. It's a tipping service for now, but that tipping service does make it feasible for users to support artists and content creators in easily and cheaply.
Tipping, however, is a stepping stone to a true micropayment service, and that could be quite disruptive to content creators everywhere.