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It’s been a tough month for journos. Last week, around 1,000 jobs were cut between Gannett, BuzzFeed, and Verizon-owned HuffPost.
Most online journalism is available to read for free, which doesn’t bring home the bacon. Paywalls, which were once reviled, are back in vogue again. But there’s a limit to how many subscriptions Joe and Josephine Consumer are willing to undertake.
But what if the paywall was much lower? That’s the thinking behind SatoshiPay, a micropayments-focused business that uses the cryptocurrency Stellar. SatoshiPay has joined with Axel Springer, the largest digital publishing house in Europe, to offer tiny amounts of Stellar to pay for news content.
"Blockchain payments can significantly reduce transaction costs and thus enable new monetisation systems for content,” said Dr Valentin Schöndienst, senior vice president of new business, Axel Springer. “SatoshiPay offers a turnkey solution that allows us to instantly use blockchain technology and offer it to our customers.”
Axel Springer owns media brands such as Business Insider, Bild, Die Welt and Upday. It has 15,000 employees and made revenue of €3.5 billion in 2017a healthy 60 percent of which was generated from digital media.
The micropayments partnership will embed SatoshiPay’s payment service into Axel Springer products and is expected to go live in spring this year. Payments are made in Stellar Lumens which users can buy with fiat currency in the SatoshiPay wallet. To support the Stellar network, SatoshiPay launched three of its own Stellar full nodes on January 9.
This isn’t the first media partnership with SatoshiPay. It already has deals with City A.M. and The Register. It also offers a WordPress plugin for blogs and websites to accept micropayments for posts. By facilitating an easier way to enable micropayments between readers and news outlets, SatoshiPay could provide just the thing to help online news sites—assuming, of course, that readers find anything they want to pay for.