Popula’s goal is to restore a human dimension to the internet. Today we’re taking a huge step in this direction by offering readers a way to give direct support to the Popula writers and artists whose work they like. Tipping is here!
Here’s how it works: at the end of each Popula story, there’s now an option to send the author direct microtips in Ethereum cryptocurrency (ETH): All you need is a little ETH and a MetaMask wallet. Click the button at the bottom of the story or comic to leave your tip—it takes a matter of seconds.
Authors can pick up their tips whenever they wish at the (virtual) Popula “Will Call” Office; since waiting to let tips add up in a batch will decrease ETH transaction costs, we’ll remind authors to sweep their tips every month. Popula will retain five percent of tips, to help cover our system overhead.
If you already have MetaMask installed and some ETH, tipping authors at Popula is completely self-explanatory and beautiful, thanks to our inestimable brother-in-arms Matthew McVickar, who designed and built this system.
If you’re new to crypto: MetaMask is a crypto wallet that goes right in your browser, and takes just a few moments to set up. It will take a little while to open an account to buy ETH (you can buy it using an ordinary debit card) at an exchange such as Coinbase, Kraken or Gemini; there are a few steps to it, but it’s not that difficult.
More detailed information can be found on the page, How to Tip Your Favorite Authors with Cryptocurrency on Popula!
So long as Popula is online, authors will be able to accept direct compensation from readers!! It’s true.
We don’t anticipate a huge revenue stream for authors, at least not at first. This is a first step. But the larger idea is that work with lasting value will attract tips from users well into the future; as a person keeps writing or drawing for years or decades, we believe it will add up to a meaningful source of income.
In other words, what we are trying to create is less a business strategy than a paradigm shift in how we share and compensate people for published work.
Machines can record facts, but only people can tell the truth. So if we want the truth, it should depend on people, not machines.
Instead of using machines to determine who is paid and how, people can decide for themselves. That encourages the production of writing and art that people like, and need, instead of writing and art that ad tech companies, platforms and investors like and need. And there’s a separate consideration: Instead of reading what Facebook, Amazon, or Google decide to put in front of you, you can decide for yourself, from what we believe will be an increasingly rich and varied free and independent press.
These goals are reflected in our magazine: People from all different backgrounds, professions, and places publish their work at Popula in their own voices. We get out of the way of what they want to say as much as possible. We investigate institutions and ideas of all kinds from new perspectives.
From a practical business perspective, though, institutional, corporate and even political pressures have grown so huge for independent publishers that a sustainable business model for the kind of work we are doing seems almost out of reach. However, we believe that aiming for sustainability rather than growth, and encouraging individual readers to support Popula—and through us, new models that other publications can benefit from—is a worthwhile and viable idea.
In December, Popula made history by becoming the first publication in the world to publish a news story directly onto the Ethereum blockchain, demonstrating that journalism can be archived beyond the reach of censors or bad actors. Direct tips are an equally valuable way in which blockchain technology can protect speech rights and the independent press. If you’re an author, imagine if everything you’d ever published was still out there and still able to earn income. Pieces you wrote years ago that have grown in influence, that are taught in schools or come suddenly back into vogue. Over the course of a career, we’re confident that this kind of revenue stream will add up to a new and more secure payment model for our profession.
Efforts in the direction of micropayments have been made since the dawn of the internet—some of you may remember Beenz, Readability or Flooz—but we think that cryptocurrency provides the frictionless, cost-effective method we’ve all been waiting for. Unlike cumbersome credit-card payments or bank transfers, cryptocurrency is cost-effective and (once you get the hang of it) extremely simple to use. Crypto puts direct support from readers within our reach as writers, editors and publishers.
Plus it’s a lot of fun to use these new technologies! Please come and take them for a spin, and tip the next Popula author whose work you love.
Hmm, looks like you don’t have MetaMask activated!
If you know what MetaMask is and have it installed, activate MetaMask and refresh:
If that doesn’t make sense to you, click here:
The MetaMask window should have popped up and asked if you want Popula to have access to your MetaMask. Click the ‘CONFIRM’ button.
Don’t see the MetaMask window? Click here to request it again:
You have an old version of the MetaMask extension installed. Before we can continue, you must install the latest version.
- Uninstall (don’t just disable) the existing extension from your browser.
- Restart your browser.
- Go to metamask.io and re-install the extension.
- Come back here and try again!
We know this step is inconvenient, but it’s necessary to make sure this all goes smoothly!
Your MetaMask extension is running, but for privacy purposes you have to allow us to connect to your MetaMask wallet.
You need to connect to the Main Net before you can actually tip. Click on your MetaMask icon so the window pops up, then select ‘Main Ethereum Network’ from the dropdown.
How much do you want to tip?
You can adjust either amount to see how much ETH or USD you’ll be sending.
You can adjust the tip amount in the MetaMask popup window before confirming the transaction.
Popula’s authors contribute 5% of their tips to Popula to help with the overhead of running the tipping system.
Author participation in the Popula tipping system is optional; if an author declines to participate in the tipping system, your tip will be refunded to you in full within 60 days.
Your MetaMask window has popped up now, and you need to confirm the transaction.
Hit that ‘CONFIRM’ button to make it happen!
Did you reject the transaction by accident? Want to adjust your tip amount? Click here:
Maybe you’re not quite comfortable with this yet?
That transaction didn’t go through for some reason.
Try clicking on the MetaMask button in your browser bar (looks like this: ) and see if you have any transactions listed at the bottom of the popup. If you don’t see the tip you just tried to leave, then try again:
Or just want to ask us about it? We’ look into it personally for you.
Thank you so much for your tip, and for your direct support of journalism. The author will appreciate it a lot, and so do all of us at Popula.
Want a receipt?
To see your transaction logged in MetaMask, click the MetaMask button in your browser toolbar—this one: —and your transaction will be listed in the popup.
You can also track the transaction on the Etherscan website. It usually takes under a minute to process, and you’ll get a notification from MetaMask when it’s done.Track on Etherscan
If you have any questions at all, please let us know!
All set?Home to Popula, please!
We know this cryptocurrency stuff is new and weird. We’re here to help you understand. Ask us email@example.com
ETH is Ether, a popular cryptocurrency generated on the Ethereum blockchain.
You’ll need some Ethereum cryptocurrency (ETH) in a MetaMask wallet in order to tip an author. Currently it’s not possible to tip in other cryptocurrencies, or in dollars or other fiat currencies.
For a comprehensive FAQ to help get you started, please visit our help page, “How to Tip Your Favorite Authors with Cryptocurrency on Popula!”
If you have any questions at all, please let us know!