Coil, a new company founded by Ripple’s former chief technology officer Stefan Thomas, has launched a closed beta.
The project – which aims to allow web content creators to better monetize their work – was announced in May, when Thomas departed Ripple. In an interview, Thomas detailed the closed beta, describing the initiative as a way to level the playing field for content creators.
“If you’re big you can have a subscription service like Netflix or Spotify. If you’re big you can collect enough data about people to make a lot of money with ads like Facebook or Google,” he said, going on to add:
“If you’re small it’s actually very hard right now to make money on the web.”
Coil has not announced the beta publicly, Thomas said, though it has begun inviting certain select parties (those interested can sign up here).
Thus far, few websites have joined the platform, he continued, noting that “we did some passive integrations with some sites like Wikipedia, Youtube, Twitch.”
While at Ripple, Thomas co-created Interledger, an interoperability protocol that facilitates payments across different networks. This technology, which is open source, is now being used as the basis of Coil.
Thomas also helped to create Codius, a smart contract platform that Ripple developed- in-house but ultimately shelved in 2015 due to technological challenges and a lack of compelling use cases. In June, however, Thomas revealed that Codius would be incorporated into Coil.
Coil allows readers, watchers and listeners to compensate content creators through micropayments. It’s a model that has been tried multiple times in the industry, including the browser-focused startup Brave, which raised $35 million in an ICO last year. Thomas also cited Patreon and Flattr, but highlighted an important aspect that distinguishes Coil.
With Coil, he said, “you’re getting paid in real time,” allowing content creators to explore new business models.
“You can now make a service where maybe you need to rent a server for every user that comes by,” he explained, adding that other possibilities include downloading or uploading a file, sending an SMS, or streaming music that triggers a licensing fee.
“The website gets the money instantly as you’re on the website, so they can actually react to it and provide extra services,” Thomas said, concluding:
“That’s never been possible before, so we’re excited to see what people build with that.”
Coil image by Guillaume de Germain via Unsplash