Former Reddit Cryptocurrency Engineer, Ryan X. Charles, is currently working on a new, bitcoin-powered social network, but he isn’t focused on creating something that will only be used by the Bitcoin community. In a recent interview on Epicenter Bitcoin, Charles noted that creating an app used by a mainstream audience would have much more value than simply creating /r/Bitcoin with micropayments.
Charles’s new platform is called Yours and the main goal is to create a way for content creators to get paid for their digital content directly from their audiences. Although he used to work at Reddit, Charles has noted that Yours is not simply a decentralized version of that social media platform.
Finding a First Non-Bitcoin Community for Yours
During the interview, Charles made it clear that Yours is currently searching for the first key community or demographic that the platform should try to attract. “I’m sort of vague about this now, but who are our core users?” he questioned. “What is community number one here?”
The reason Charles is somewhat vague on this point is because Yours has not yet identified the community that they should target first. Although many people within the Bitcoin community have heard of Yours, this is very much an unknown project among the general public and even among the general tech community.
Some think it would make sense to first focus on the Bitcoin community as a core batch of users, but Charles was quick to dismiss this idea. “If we made Reddit but with Bitcoin, I bet Bitcoin users would use it; however, I don’t think it’s in anybody’s interest that we do this first.” said Charles. “Bitcoin users would probably most benefit from it if we create something mainstream.”
“Everybody in the Bitcoin space wins if we start servicing people outside the Bitcoin community,” Charles added.
Charles’s argument is essentially that they’ll learn much more about what they’re building if they go after a community that is unrelated to Bitcoin. This way, Yours will be better able to understand whether they’re solving a real world problem or just creating another Bitcoin community forum. By going this route, Yours will also be able to ensure that their platform is not so complex that it can only be used by bitcoiners.
“I think it’s really important that we identify one community to be our core audience [who] are not already Bitcoin users,” concluded Charles.
The Manga Example
Manga was the one area of interest that Charles brought up as an example of a community that may be interested in using Yours. “I’m not a big manga fan, but there are a lot of reasons why we think that audience might be good for us,” he said. “They’re really sort of young, sophisticated people that create manga, which are Japanese comics, and there are huge communities of these people . . . They’re creating content. They’re not really able to monetize this in any way, but if they had a way to monetize it, they would love to do this full time.”
Charles went on to explain that Yours could target the manga community by telling them they can earn real money by creating and discovering new, quality manga. He added that Yours could make sure that their product gave the manga community all of the tools they need to easily post and earn money from their art.
“I don’t want to say that manga would necessarily be the first user, but something like that,” added Charles. “It’s a niche community. It’s outside of Bitcoin. Not everyone likes manga, but the people that do like it really like it.”
Onboarding New Bitcoin Users via Yours
One last point on the mainstream adoption of Bitcoin and Yours that was discussed on this episode of Epicenter Bitcoin was the issues involved with onboarding new users to this decentralized payment system. “It’s still kind of difficult to get [bitcoin],” said Charles. “Wallets have improved a lot over the years, but they’re still kind of technically sophisticated.”
In the past, traditional online payment options have also had to deal with this onboarding issue. In the case of PayPal, they handled it by literally paying new users to join their platform. “That is not out of the question for us,” Charles said, regarding PayPal’s strategy. “If we raised a bunch of money, we could do that . . . I don’t think we necessarily have to do that though.”
It should be noted that those who wish to create or view content do not need to have any bitcoin to use Yours. The use of bitcoin is only required when a user wishes to support someone else’s content via a payment.
Charles also mentioned the Coinbase Buy Widget as another easy way to onboard new Bitcoin users. The widget allows users to instantly purchase up to $5 worth of bitcoin per day with limited Know Your Customer restrictions.
“You just have to make it fluid for the users to get on and off,” said Charles.
Kyle Torpey is a freelance writer and researcher who has been following Bitcoin since 2011. His work has been featured on VICE Motherboard, Business Insider, NASDAQ, RT’s Keiser Report, and many other media outlets. You can follow @kyletorpey on Twitter.