I was listening to Adam Curry criticize the Fountain guys for turning the boostagram function into their comments section on his latest podcasting 2.0 ep. He said something like “nobody has fully embraced value for value yet.”

Here is my question - why would anyone send a podcaster 100% of the subjective value that they received in listening to an episode? By definition, when I spend sats, I’m only doing it if I think Im getting a bargain. For example, I may subjectively value “The Bitcoin Standard” at millions of dollars, but I would never spend that amount on a book. I see the $20 investment as something that will produce a multiple of return. In addition, the set price for the book makes the decision much easier, as opposed to the mental gymnastics of trying to decide what the appropriate amount is to pay in a “send us whatever you think” arrangement.

All this makes me wonder if Curry misunderstands the importance of prices and if value for value (as he defines it), is sort of a flawed concept.


Yes. There is no such thing as quantifiable value to begin with, there is only "I want this more than that other thing so we can trade".

No one can ever send the full value in sats to a podcaster because they cannot know how much that value is -- if there is really such a thing as "value received".

Podcasting2.0 has this big philosophy behind it but it is really just "keysend donations", which is fine, donations are ok (although the keysend part is not a very well-thought protocol in my opinion).

But donations are not a solved issue. They are hard to compute. I think this is related to a point I tried to make some time ago: https://twitter.com/fiatjaf/status/1317581487563309059

That is a great thread. Looking forward to reading that Bob Murphy article too.

Value-for-value is an oversimplification of the way SN is structured. There is no such thing as "always get the full value" for whatever it is that you are being paid for. If you insisted on receiving 'full value' from everyone that is benefiting from what you offer, they would refrain from ever consuming your material. This is because transactions only happen when the person selling values something less than the person buying that thing. If you delude yourself that everyone in the world will pay you the full amount that you believe they are capable of paying, not only would you instantly be the richest man in the world, but you would also not be living in reality. If there's anything I learned about product development, its that everyone has an idea, and (almost) nobody with an idea has the money, devotion or motivation to bring that idea to its full potential.

Here's a slightly less conflated categorization of types of value transfer:

  1. Only allow access to your material after a very high price is paid
  2. Only allow access to your material after a moderate price is paid
  3. Only allow access to your material after a low price is paid
  4. Allow access to your material for free, but restrict access to other materials after a fee is paid (bait-and-switch-ware)
  5. Allow access to your material for free, but license it such that the consumer must pay if they receive value from it (shareware, this idea killed Phil Katz)
  6. Allow access to your material for free, but constantly ask the consumer to donate to you (moochware)
  7. Allow access to your material for free and provide a means for people to donate to you for the value you have provided.
  8. Allow access to your material for free and provide a means for people to contact you to ask you if they can compensate you somehow
  9. Allow access to your material for free and refuse any attempt to compensate you in any way for the value you have provided.

Stacker News is a platform for category (7)

I think people overestimate the value of “value for value”. I don’t think it will outperform adverts for the broader community.

It will work like Wikipedia I think. After a while you have to beg for donations.

IMO The part of v4v that is broken is the donation aspect. Donations suffer from a bystander effect - "I could donate but I don't need to because someone else will." Bitcoin makes it easier to donate proportional to value received, e.g. I only pay you while I'm actually streaming your podcast, but it's still a donation albeit a more efficient one.

If you expand v4v to mean making it easier to pay content creators for what you consume, then I think there's definitely a there there. There's a lot of content locked up behind inefficient payment methods - I have to pay HBO Max a monthly subscription even if I don't watch anything that month. If instead I could steam content and stream payments back at a reasonable price, I would prefer that.

The only existing v4v model right now is streaming donations and that's why I think it feels tentatively worthwhile.

Do you think podcasts would work if they sold their episodes instead of taking donations? For what price?

The problem with that is that some people were willing to donate 3x will now just pay x and be done with it -- while others would donate 0.5x but won't pay anything now and won't listen.

On the other hand many people who would have paid nothing will now pay x.

I think so. Many podcasts are on Patreon that make $10k+/ mo by releasing half the episodes for free, and the other half on Patreon. If they made half the podcasts mandatory v4v at maybe 100 sats/minute it'd probably yield comparable revenue.

comparable revenue

... If all listeners adopt Bitcoin that is. They'd most certainly lose money in the short term, especially if their podcast wasn't a Bitcoin podcast.

Part of the value for value model involves giving the content away for free. This may in part come from the networking affect allowed by free content dissemination.

When putting a price on the episode you know keep anyone only willing to pay x-y sats for the content out of your audience, or push them to "pirate" your content.

Yes charging money does incentivize pirating but it’s been a long time since I’ve pirated because it became easy to pay for digital content. Even with the threat of piracy looming many podcasts do well financially behind a fiat paywall.

Most people in this thread are missing the main point of the V4V model Adam and John pioneered over the last 14 years -- which is to eliminate the censorship that always comes with the advertising revenue model.

V4V + uncensorable money is the ultimate free speech toolkit for the "little" guy podcaster.

The subscription model has reach and copyright hurdles. Adam claims subscription models will make less money overall thann his voluntary payment model. His main podcast NoAgenda is good proof that he might be right.

Thank you for pointing this out.

We also rely on what we know others are paying as part of our explanation of why something has value. My guess is that "value for value" will take off when a creators set, or coordinate around, non-optional streaming prices. That's the whole point of free markets. Making people pay what they want may be fun for awhile in a nascent industry, but it stops being fun fast.

I don't think that value for value is a flawed concept. I just think that we haven't found optimal implementations of it yet. Explicit prices could very well be an important part of this model.

Take the Humble Indie Bundle for example. It has "send us whatever you think" model. However there are set price tiers. Depending on the tier you choose, you get a certain amount of content.

To make it more compatible with the value for value idea, content creators could simply have a floor price that the audience must give if they so choose. For example, I write an article and at the end I have an invoice for a minimum of 100 sats. The audience is free to ignore the ask and consume the content for free. Those that want more content in the future can pay 100 sats or more to sponsor the creator. 100 sats is effectively the price. The content creator can play with the amount to optimize the amount of sats he or she receives for each piece of content.

I agree with this but I don't think it is how Adam Curry conceives of Value for Value.

What exactly is Adam complaining about Fountain? Ie. how does it currently work vs how should it work?

the issue stems from a distinction between tlv record "lightning comments" which are very limited and hacky direct messages to podcasts (like youtube superchats) and the general comment system based on activity pub (mastadon-like). fountain is moving forward with lightning based comments while other platforms are looking for a more general commenting system separate from lightning payments.

it is all the usual "cordial" fighting that occurs with any protocol development while trying to solve a real problem of decentralized commenting and paid messages.

The general activity-based comment system afaict is stuck at the familiar impasse of "it'd be great to have this idealized thing" and "this is so complicated we'll never actually get it done." Fountain's attempt is decentralized enough and works today.

If lightning comments are hack, so are keysends, and the whole v4v streaming thing crumbles anyway.

Adam has an aspiration for cross-platform comments that serve as their own meta-content to a show that goes with the show regardless of which app the listener uses. He also opposes a payment requirement to create comments. Separately from this, in Podcasting 2.0 and Moe Factz w/ Adam Curry, boostagrams serve as a parallel payments methodology to fiat money, as a means of the audience sending in comments and letters to actually be read by the host, sometimes on the show. On No Agenda they read the names of anyone donating over $50, and read the letter of anyone donating over...maybe it's $200, I can't remember. They'll read dozens of names and sometimes a dozen letters. Right now with the boostagrams, on the aforementions shows, they read the boostagrams at rather paltry amounts.


Adam didn't want boostagrams made public

value 4 value is simply a way of describing voluntary exchange where there is no defined price. it does not imply equality of exchange. it just describes that there is an exchange representing the value each chooses to be appropriate at that time.

The podcast may have more content that could have been presented and the listener could have had more money they could have sent but the point is that each had a choice and participated voluntarily

price is what you pay and value is what you get

There will always be an 80/20 distribution for creators from their listeners. Or, as has been pointed out often, more likely 95/5.

I find "Value 4 value" a tough label. Overall, the concept reminds of me of "Buy local". It's an easy-to-understand term that describes a simple action. Yet, it comes loaded with meaning (support your local economy, pride in your community, higher-quality & uniqueness of products due to craft aspect, etc). And people might be OK paying slightly more, because they care about the values behind the action.

To me, the focus on the term "value" reduces the idea to a rational economic exchange. Maybe this needs to be re-framed for a broader appeal?

I was thinking this through just last night. Unfortunately, I think it is flawed, but perhaps not fatally. I won't drag you through my whole train of thought, but generally speaking, the V4V model, in my mind, is a direct substitute for commercial advertisements.

People don't really like commercial ads, and some go so far as to pay a premium for a service to avoid them. The problem lies in cost of getting someone to switch to V4V from the traditional model. Right now, there are just too many steps.

Very, VERY few people have Lightning wallets and funded channels ready to go to make the switch. In order to get the masses to adopt, it has to be quick and painless. I just simply don't see the value of not needing to hit the "skip" button after 3 seconds on a video or listen to a short add before their music plays.

Some day, once we become hyperbitcoinized, we might be there. We are just really really really early for this model to really take off.

I'm not a hater. I love this platform, I love the concept, and I love Lightning. I'm just being real.

I thought that the reason he was criticizing Oscar and Nick was because he didn't like the idea of making people pay for comments, and that he felt like all three of them and the rest of the community had agreed on that.

These types of paradigm shifts are messy. This particular shift, namely the move from advertisement-based models that sap your attention to a model that offers the value out front and then asks the listener to calculate that value and send it in return, is literally a portal to another dimension.

That being said, a product like Mash (getmash.com) that allows you to choose how your audience will stream you sats, is another couple steps in the right direction. They'll be one to watch.

A final thought–V4V as a free speech protocol (Podcasting 2.0 namespace on top of BTC + ⚡️) is something that I'm not sure anyone can foresee the impact of.

It works. But only if you ask.

The man himself lurking in a thread about his life's work, ITM podfather.

Inventing a way to sustain media content without the need of advertising money is brilliant achievement.

Every time I see an ad on TV my skin crawls a little bit. I've been looking for V4V my whole life and you actually did it.. the son of a bitch actually did it! :-)

In relation to the content of the original post, I don't consider the flaws of value for value fatal. Value for value, a media content business model he developed on his No Agenda podcast, requires not just refusal of advertiser money, and asking the audience for money, but also dedicating a portion of the show to thanking the "producers" for their contribution.

I don't have much to say regarding the tech behind all this. I understand why Adam would want paid messages to stay private, and to differentiate paid messages from cross platform commenting.

On another hand, I recognize the difficulty of relying on the audience for income, but many people have done so for a while now quite successfully and can serve as potential archetypes of how to do it. The patreon model approximates value for value, but in setting a price for the audience the content creator may potentially artifically limit their income.

Full disclosure, I listen to various Adam Curry podcasts, including Podcasting 2.0.

I do see the V4V model as flawed consumers by in large are used to enjoying content for free and would much rather sell their eye balls to sponsors. The issue is the podcasters deals are done 1-1 so they are easily corrupted by certain sponsors.

If the platform for example, had an open auction where advertisers can pick categories they want to bid on and then the amount of listening minutes is matched with the amount of capital bidding for those listens.

So creators can get capital and who knows, they could even split some of that value with their listeners too.

Not saying the donation model should go away, I think its part of the ecosystem but it encourages creators to keep going and try to keep listeners as long as possible. In addition

I think @dergigi helps clarify this for me when he makes the comparison to street performers and “busking:”


Can anyone recommend a general intro into the concept?


Value mightn't be flawed without the 'evaluator' being flawed too. Yet a flawed value might be exploitable for other parties; so for in whatever exchange that at first glance seems to be a pure p2p exchange(private), the value of the object that persons A and B are trying to evaluate each for themselves, are at the same time subjects to the perceptual value of their respective counterpart (making it a public value).

At essence, a transaction might be an exercise of both delimitation and comparison; and I'd argue that amounts of self reflection are necessary as well as objective ways of valuate value...

If there is a fatal flaw, it is with the hard supply cap of bitcoin to begin with.

You’d have to be kinda insane to spend bitcoin on anything, let alone on something as silly as a podcast.

I think this is only true if you're on zero fiat right now. Otherwise you can always spend and replace, which is the same net result as spending fiat

Yep. For all we know, Bitcoin Pizza Guy spent 10,000 bitcoins on pizzas but bought 100,000 bitcoins in the same day.

Didn't posting this comment cost you bitcoin?

It did indeed. But all of the sats I got here, I got for just posting. So it doesn’t really feel “real”.

Maybe during the next bullrun i’ll take my money and go back to reddit 😂

You need to spend money every day in order to live.

You also need to make money somehow, whether by working a job or having some business.

And ideally, you make more than you spend.

It's as simple as that. Bitcoin is just a way of storing value.

When there is no competing currency, things do become more simple.

When there is an inflationary currency (usd) and a deflationary currency (btc) both, you are incentivized to only hodl the deflationary currency. but if everyone only hodls, then the deflationary currency isn’t worth as much. so you need to con some suckers into spending more of their deflationary currency to increase it’s value.

What if you occasionally spending it makes the whole network more valuable? It may be worth spending sats occasionally, since then your buying power will grown on the rest of your sats...

You hit on a major problem i have with the “circular economy” shilling.

The rich people just hodl. The poors are responsible for keeping the economy moving with every day purchases (which makes the rich hodling more valuable).

It goes back to my first point about being crazy to actually spend it.