Mash, a payment platform that uses the Lightning Network to allow creators, builders and developers to make money from the content they publish online, has raised $6 million in seed funding.
Castle Island Ventures and Whitecap Venture Partners co-led the funding round. Other notable investors included Maple VC, Strategic Cyber Ventures, Aquanow, Spacecadet Ventures and several angel investors, including Amjad Masad, Balaji Srinivasan, Austin Hill, John Pfeffer and Dean Skurka, according to a press release.
Mash said it will use the funds to build out its payment platform, forge ties with digital experience creators and add staff to its engineering, marketing, sales and business development teams. The platform allows creators to offer low-commitment, “pay-as-you-enjoy” pricing options for online courses, games, interactive apps and other digital creations. It hopes to galvanize creators to spend more time developing high-quality content by increasing the revenue they make directly from consumers and reducing their reliance on ad revenue.
“Our goal is to enable all these awesome experiences to be built out, monetized appropriately and fairly so [developers and content creators] can go full time and build even more,” Mash CEO Jared Nusinoff told CoinDesk. “We want to enable a new era of the internet that's not based on attention and hijacking time, but [that’s] based, rather, on quality.”
Mash, which was founded in March 2021, released a free beta version of its product about a month or two ago, according to Nusinoff. And although he says it’s “too early” to pull out data or metrics on how the project is going, interest in the project has exceeded expectations so far.
Even though the product is still in its early stages, investors believe it has significant growth potential to connect consumers with developers, creators and builders from all over the world.
“With tens of millions of developers globally, and hundreds of thousands of new apps launching each year, the potential for Mash is significant,” Russell Samuels, a partner at Whitecap Venture Partners, said in the press release.
The Lightning Network
The product’s ability to engage creators and consumers worldwide is largely thanks to its use of bitcoin’s Lightning Network. The Lightning Network is "layer 2" software built on top of the Bitcoin blockchain that speeds up transaction processing times by enabling off-chain transactions.
By taking transactions off chain, transactions are nearly instantaneous, as well as virtually free. It's that fast, cheap feature that makes them good for microtransactions.
Although other platforms like Fountain and Alby are also using the Lightning Network to help creators monetize their work, Nusinoff believes his team’s product is unique. With Mash, payments are facilitated using a native digital wallet that doesn't need to be downloaded, are interoperable across the internet and can be loaded directly with a credit card or bitcoin.
Mash hopes to provide more freedom to consumers of digital content across the web by allowing them to engage with and pay for only the content they consume. That means consumers can steer clear of large upfront purchases and pricey subscription models.
“Say you're watching a documentary and the first 10 minutes are free,” Nusinoff told CoinDesk. “The whole thing costs three bucks, [but with Mash] you're only paying for the time that you’ve watched it. So, if you've watched the next 10 minutes of the two-hour documentary, you don't like it and you turn it off, you only paid 20 cents. There's no commitment.”
The company is also creating widget components for creators' sites and building a self-serve signup experience to streamline creators’ on-boarding processes.
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