BitTipCup brings bitcoin crowdfunding to street performers

Monday 14 July 2014

Think Kickstarter, IndieGoGo and more recently, StartJoin, and it was only going to be a matter of time before more bitcoin crowdfunding sites join the ranks. While the conventional sites allow for funding large projects, new crowdfunding implementations have come about.

Two examples of these include sending money to a content creator on a monthly basis, such as with Patreon, and tipping a content creator a small amount of money at any time – something YouTube is looking to implement. Bu with bitcoin, the latter can be much easier.

How could bitcoin contribute?

Bitcoin tipping: BitTipCupBitTipCup serves as both a hub for street performer content and a means of tipping them via bitcoin. Tipping is possible by either a visible QR code in a video, or a written address in the video description. While the website hosts other types of content such as videos requesting large-scale crowdfunding or detailing a charity, the main inspiration behind it was to give humble street performers an opportunity to earn more change.

The website is still in a very early stage, with only a handful of videos. However the founder, bitcointalk user “f3tus” is working to ensure more street performers are aware of and accept bitcoin for donations; this should lead to more content being published on BitTipCup more often.

BitScan had the opportunity to speak with the founder, to get his input on how it came about and where he intends it to go from its current state.

BitScan: When did the idea behind BitTipJar come about for you? Was there any event that inspired it?

BitTipCup: Yeah, after I saw this viral video, I thought to myself it's a pity he doesn't have a bitcoin QR code anywhere, because I'd tip him if he had one. Then I remembered another viral video and actually saw he's crowdfunding. The crowdfunding has a deadline, like all crowdfunders, but it wouldn't need to have one if he used bitcoin, and he could still be receiving tips years from now after people watched his video...

B: Where do you see BitTipJar heading in the near future? Do you imagine it growing into something larger?

BTC: I honestly don't know. It's just a simple video aggregator, I don't get any revenue from it and don't intend to, I just want to help the street performers by giving them an extra voice, a platform where they can be instantly discovered and tipped. Who knows, perhaps one of them gets noticed and gets a record deal of some sort too.

B: What is your main approach to getting street performers, or buskers, to learn about and accept bitcoin? How much success have you had so far?

BTC: I emailed both guys behind the viral videos, and several other street performers I found on YouTube, Google, and – about 20 or 30. I received a single reply, from the Star Wars guy, asking me to explain more about it, and I did, but then nothing... Perhaps more people are needed to convince them, so if anyone wants to, please give it a go.

Anyway, after that, I decided to just go ahead and build a platform, a simple video aggregation website, hoping that perhaps it'll be useful one day when more street performers learn about the advantages of bitcoin

A safer income for street performers?

Tipping in bitcoinAllowing more people access to bitcoin, regardless of the amount, is something I feel should be supported.

As far as street performers go, it will not necessarily guarantee more income, but it can provide an arguably safer and easier means of taking money. `

For starters, people might be more inclined to tip by scanning a QR code at a less intrusive distance, than approaching someone to throw money in the hat but you could argue that it is more convenient to do that than stop to scan a QR code but with both options available, this should easily be mitigated. Not only that, but with more people stopping to tip, a talented street performer may raise curiosity and more people may be willing to join others to spectate. It creates a potentially advantageous circle for the performer; more people equals more tips. 

Furthermore, with many street performers having their earnings strewn in front of them, on display in a hat, or case, although highly unlikely, the money on display could tempt the opportunist thief. The fact that bitcoin exists solely in cyberspace serves as a serious advantage over fiat, especially considering it requires an internet connection to attempt to access it. A street performer may use their smartphone or online wallet to store their bitcoins, the former of which always being on their person; whatever the performer earns in terms of bitcoins is safe and belongs only to them.

Making tipping easy and affordable

It's a clear benefit that it is far more convenient to divide a bitcoin.

Fiat money falls short in that it cannot be easily divided to smaller units

if you do not have the appropriate denominations to hand.

If you wanted to donate only $1 to a performer while passing by, but only have $20 bills in your wallet, you are far less likely to donate. Meanwhile, with bitcoins you could easily donate in small fractions with no consequence.

Using the online scenario, having bitcoin as an option for street performers will also create the most viable way of obtaining money, considering there are no outrageous fees. Previously they would rely on a gateway such as PayPal to receive online payments. However, if you wanted to donate a small amount of money, the recipient would receive a negligible amount after fees are calculated. No one is a winner; the street performer receives less and you have given much less than intended.

As with other aspects of finance, bitcoin has the potential to change something we have grown to love: crowdfunding and peer-to-peer online exchanges. Having bitcoin as an option for street performers can open up new avenues of revenue for them, further enabling them to perform. Niche it may be, especially centered around street performers, but it is noteworthy that bitcoin can make a difference even in the most unlikely places

Daniel Mestre

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