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Chicago Sun-Times and BitWall to Trial Bitcoin Paywall

(@danielcawrey) | Published on January 14, 2014 at 18:00 GMT

Bitcoin paywall provider BitWall is partnering with the Chicago Sun-Times to conduct a 24-hour bitcoin paywall test. The experiment, the first of its kind for a major US publication, will happen on the Sun-Times website on 1st February.

Readers accessing articles during this time will see an overlay “wall” before accessing an article. They will be given the option to pay to see the article with bitcoin, or to tweet the story for access.

"We continue to experiment and test new technologies that we believe engage our readers and look forward to being the first major USA newspaper to test a bitcoin-based paywall," said Jim Kirk, chief editor for the Sun-Times.

Major US newspaper

The Sun-Times is the ninth-largest newspaper in the United States. Its parent company, Wrapports, owns a number of other news outlets, including seven Chicago suburban papers and 30 other media properties. Nic Meliones, the CEO of San Francisco-based BitWall, said in a statement:

“The Chicago Sun-Times is showing its technological leadership by being the first major newspaper to adopt a social paywall and bitcoin-powered monetization strategy. Bitcoin is an innovative technology well suited to online monetization.”

BitWall is backed by Adam Draper’s Boost Bitcoin Fund. That fund has an incubator called Boost VC that is run in San Mateo, CA. Boost helps startups with incorporation, capital and business advice. The program leans heavily towards bitcoin-based startups, and BitWall spent time in the accelerator last year.

Bitcoin-based paywalls could prove to be popular in the publishing industry. That’s because bitcoin's fees are often smaller than other forms of electronic payment.

This makes small transactions like bitcoin micropayments a win-win scenario for both publishers and bitcoin enthusiasts.

On one hand, publishers can produce revenue from articles by utilizing bitcoin. On the other, bitcoin payments make the distributed currency more than just a speculative store of value.

A good cause

The proceeds from the Sun-Times test will be donated to charitable organization the Taproot Foundation. The Taproot Foundation provides technical professionals for pro bono work at non-profits. This includes design, IT and HR services, among others.

“Taproot is thrilled to be the recipient of an innovative collaboration between BitWall and the Chicago Sun-Times. The Sun-Times is a longstanding partner in Taproot’s work to build pro bono in the corporate sector, which strengthens and grows nonprofit infrastructure,” said Elizabeth Schwan-Rosenwald, Taproot’s executive director.

BTC Coin image via Shutterstock

BitWallChicago Sun-Timesmicropayments

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