Bitcoin tipping service ChangeTip has reported increasing user activity, claiming that it has signed up 34,000 users since it was founded last December.
The company told CoinDesk that it completed 10,000 transactions in one day last week. This represented one-sixth of its total transaction volume, ChangeTip's founder Nick Sullivan said.
Although usage has increased "across the board" on metrics Sullivan monitors, he wasn't able to identify the reason for the growth spurt. He did emphasise that the company has increased its resources devoted to community management, however.
"We've definitely had a really big set of days over the last few weeks ... We've ramped up our community management efforts and made sure our top tippers are getting all the love and attention they deserve."
The statistics presented by Sullivan can't easily be corroborated independently.
According to Currly, a website that monitors traffic on subreddits, ChangeTip's subreddit saw a surge in subscribers that peaked on 6th November, meaning some 1,730 people are currently subscribed.
Sullivan said there was strong demand for a tool that displayed ChangeTip metrics publicly, and that his firm would release this offering in the first quarter of 2015.
Emphasizing community management
ChangeTip allows users to send tiny amounts of bitcoin to others over seven social networks including Twitter, Reddit and GitHub.
To manage activity across these platforms, the company has hired a dedicated staffer to oversee engagement with users, Bitcoin Magazine and CoinDesk contributor Victoria Van Eyk, and recruited power users to spread the gospel – and send tips – through its social networks.
Two power users have been recruited so far, Sullivan said. One promoter is now an employee, while the other is a volunteer.
"The most zealous community members, who love what we're doing, will help us pull others into the fold. It's very similar to when I worked at Wikia ... turning the most avid users into employees," he said.
ChangeTip said more than half its users have tipped others using two or more social media accounts and claimed that 47,000 social media accounts are connected to its platform.
According to Sullivan, the vast majority of ChangeTip users are passive, sitting back and collecting tips.
He said 9% of users were more active, depositing funds to ChangeTip accounts, while 2% are power users who are intent on "spreading the goodwill of bitcoin" using his service.
Reaching celebrity users
One way zealous ChangeTip users promote the service, and bitcoin, is by tipping celebrities. So far, actors William Shatner and Will Wheaton, musician Snoop Dogg (aka Snoop Lion) and President Barack Obama have received tips.
Sullivan said Shatner, Snoop Dogg and Wheaton have become ChangeTip users and claimed their tips, although President Obama hasn't done so yet.
— ChangeTip (@ChangeTip) September 6, 2014
Sullivan described a vision for ChangeTip to operate as a kind of 'like' button for the Internet, allowing all users to show their approval of certain types of digital content by sending a tip instantly.
He gave the example of Reddit users sending a tip to someone as a type of "super upvote" for a post they especially enjoyed. On YouTube, he said users tip creators of videos that they appreciate.
ChangeTip users treat the service slightly differently across platforms, he said. Sullivan said about half of its transactions occur on Reddit and about one-third on Twitter. The other platforms hosted the remaining 20% of transactions.
"There is no specific standout [source of tips] ... The core emotion being captured is reward and appreciation," he said.
Sullivan added that his company would delay a plan to charge a 1% fee for withdrawals from ChangeTip that was due to take effect on 15th January. Fees will not now be imposed until June.
Tipping heats up
Tipping as a service has become an increasingly attractive niche in the bitcoin world.
Bitcoin services provider Coinbase launched its own tipping service today, allowing users to send micropayments to celebrities like Adam Carolla and noted figures in technology like venture capitalist Fred Wilson, who is an investor in the startup.
Coinbase co-founder Brian Armstrong has touted tipping as the sort of activity that could drive bitcoin adoption and develop a new "micropayments economy".
ChangeTip has raised $750,000 in two rounds from investors including Cryptocurrency Partners and Boldstart Ventures, according to Crunchbase. It also lists 500 Startups' Sean Percival, RRE Ventures' James Robinson and StockTwits co-founder Howard Lindzon, among others, as investors on AngelList.
Images via ChangeTip; Shutterstock