El Reg to try out crypto micropayments for ad-free web pages

The Register will accept crypto payments in exchange for ad-free access to articles in a trail of SatoshiPay.

UK-based must-read IT news site, The Register, will soon become the first major web publisher to embrace an ad-free revenue generation model, using SatoshiPay to collect cryptocurrency micropayments in Lumens (XLM).

In a pilot of the scheme, such payments will become one of the ways its readers can access the new digital edition of its Geeks Guide To Britain travel series, a 26-part run of articles that visits UK attractions and sights of importance in technology and engineering history. Online readers will be able to access individual chapters, or buy the book as a whole.

While the idea of micropayments in the web publishing sector is nothing new, employing blockchain tech and cryptocurrency to overcome some of the cost constraints that have held back their wider adoption certainly is. SatoshiPay, The Register’s publishers believe, will offer its visitors a quick and easy route to ad-free content, and additional revenue to the site.

The SatoshiPay system certainly compares favourably against existing systems in terms of costs: credit cards charge up yo 1.5% of the transaction value, while PayPal comes in at around 1.9% and 3.4% with a 20p charge per transaction. Using SatoshiPay, which is powered by the Stellar network and its Lumen (XLM) currency, incurs almost no cost – meaning even tiny micropayments and now a viable option.

In its press release, The Register‘s managing editor, Gavin Clarke said: “The publishing industry is locked in a battle between readers who don’t want invasive ads and publishers who want to monetise their content.  Recent advances in blockchain and crypto currencies offer the chance to break that deadlock. The Geek’s Guide to Britain ebook micropayments pilot provides the opportunity to assess these developments, letting readers invest in the kind of quality writing they’ve come to expect from The Register while providing additional income for our business.”

Jed McCaleb, co-founder of the Stellar Development Foundation, the non-profit organisation behind the Stellar network, said: “This is an exciting moment for Stellar and the cryptocurrency community as a whole, as it represents one of the first mainstream uses of blockchain payments in reaching millions of consumers. We’re proud to be powering SatoshiPay, helping make micropayments faster and cheaper than ever and thereby bolstering the publishing industry in its quest to unlock additional revenue streams in the new digital age.”