During the last six months, we at ITG have made a broad dive into the somewhat bizarre world of cryptocurrency, a field where – behind hype and speculation – there’s an incredible rate of innovation. The question of the feasibility of digital cash might finally be resolved, along with trending issues of online identity, security and decentralization.
With some of our geniuses coming from a background in the media industry we recognize that the invention of truly digital goods might indeed be a solution to the decade-old problem of paid content, also known as ”trading analog dollars into digital pennies”.
While a lot of work remains to be don in areas of consumer-friendliness and adoption, there’s an incredible rate of development into functionality that might become critical for the media industry, innovations like true seamless micropayments (down to fractions of pennies), digital property, as well as completely novel business models designed from the start for the internet economy.
We believe these innovations will solve the root causes of paid content not taking off – transactional friction and price . It will also return the media company to it’s old strategic market position as the owner of the consumer relationship – unlike today when the relationship is often owned by tech giants like Apple, Google or the telecom operator that control payments.
At ITG we’re following with excitement some early-stage experiments being done by worldwide media companies in this space;
* Il Giornale (IT) – http://newsbtc.com/2014/06/26/major-italian-newspaper-il-giornale-accepting-bitcoin-digital-subscriptions/
* Chicago Sun Times (US) – http://www.coindesk.com/chicago-sun-times-gets-11-new-subscriptions-bitcoin/
* NRC Handelsblad (NL) – http://www.nrc.nl/nrclab/2014/01/02/losse-artikelen-lezen-en-betalen/
* Reddit (US) – http://www.redditblog.com/2013/02/new-gold-payment-options-bitcoin-and.html
ITG has amassed a unique competence in the crypto space, as well as industry connections to all the large actors, as well as the leading development consultancy firms, so we have a great capacity both to do research work but also prototyping and actual development.
The time for experimentation is now, and we’re actively looking for partners in the media industry to dive into the cryptocurrency space, and make sure that when the biggest wave of technological innovation since the web hits the shores, this time the media industry will not (cannot afford to) stand on the sidelines..
Sergej Kotliar (founder of bitrefill.com)