Goals versus systems (and tipping)

I’ve tried different applications based on Bitcoin SV that add the ability to tip to something that resembles a more mainstream product. After doing so, I find myself returning to Medium and find that tipping is more of a detriment than a benefit.

Fantasy versus reality

Back before Bitcoin Cash launched, there was a naïve fantasy that people including myself shared where if we just added tipping to everything, the world would see the potential of Bitcoin. One of the use cases put forward was Twitter, and I vaguely recall someone tried this and Twitter put an end to it. On Reddit however, various tip bots appeared and achieved a small amount of usage within the niche Bitcoin Reddit bubble. Then the niche Bitcoin Cash Reddit bubble, and perhaps even the niche Bitcoin SV Reddit bubble after that.

Now we see tipping added to variations of existing popular web sites, and I am no longer sure it is really that beneficial or compelling in and of itself. Although, it might be that sometimes we might need to see these things realised by the entrepreneurs before we can really tell what difference they make. And this does not mean they can’t iterate on it and take it beyond to something new and interesting.

Goals versus systems

One way to look at tipping is in the context of goals versus systems. The goal might be to integrate tipping in order to discourage casual time-wasters, and to also reward users for posting content that is considered interesting. A system based on those goals, might be designed and constructed in order to incentive them. Just adding tipping to interaction does not guarantee those goals might be achieved.

In fact, just adding tipping to interaction might be considered analogous to dog training. You are giving them a biscuit when they perform actions that amuse or entertain you, and withholding them when they don’t. So those that value the tips more, are trained to perform the actions that seem to encourage them. In some cases, users like Unwriter, Shadders or Ryan X. Charles might be inventive enough that they forge their own path and people value it enough — but I suspect this is the exception rather than the rule.

Summing up

I personally find it to be preferable to opt out of tipping enabled systems. If I could I would turn the tipping off, or redirect it to charity. I do not expect others to agree with this, because we’re all unique and special snowflakes.

When I watch a video of Jack Liu or Craig Wright talking about how micropayments will be a ubiquitous foundation on which to build out systems, it is clearly common sense. But tipping is not a micropayment. I do believe that tipping could be a useful tool if integrated within a system, but for me personally I am not certain it is yet and it seems more like a goal achieved.

Anyway, back to hardware wallet testing! Hardware wallets might not have a future, but they can still help you secure your coins if you are willing to put in the ownership cost which is not just the price you pay in fiat currency.

Written by

ElectrumSV developer

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