Those who earn their income from courses, workshops or consultations currently have a problem. You could also work virtually. But how can you get paid for a video call? We show how you can use cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum to set a paywall before a video conference to ask for money for admission.
Video calls are part of everyday life in times of limited contact. You meet on the Internet, with friends, colleagues, for a consultation or for a course. In some cases, it would make sense to charge some kind of admission fee that visitors to the video call have to pay, such as at the cash register of real events.
This is relatively easy to do with cryptocurrencies and does not require any specific video software. You can use Zoom, Teamviewer, Google Hangouts, whereby.com and other tools and connect with PayWalls for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) or Bitcoin SV (BSV). I found PayWalls for these four currencies, even if they are not all fully functional.
The basic idea is always the same: visitors log into your video call by clicking on a link or entering a meeting ID. You put this link behind a PayWall, so that the participants have to pay something to be able to join the video.
Of course, the system is not waterproof. For example, visitors can share the link so that only one person has to buy it, but many people can join. Therefore, you should check who paid. Since you see crypto transactions in real time, that’s not a problem in itself.
The concept of PayWall.link is made for a video call that you call up via a link: you post a link, and when someone pays, they are forwarded to the corresponding website.
Registration is simple and straightforward: you copy the link into a field. Then you will be asked to enter an email address and a password. Then you have an account and a link. In the account you should determine the price under the details of the PayWall. It takes less than two minutes to generate your first PayWall link.
Paying with Lightning is not that easy. It is still a bit unfamiliar for many users, and a challenge especially when you address customers who have nothing to do with Bitcoin. The easiest way is with the Phoenix wallet from Acinq , which you should recommend to your customers. With larger admission fees, it could also be difficult to find a path through the Lightning network, which is why PayWall.link is particularly suitable if a video call has many participants who pay only a small fee.
To pay off your earnings, you also need a Lightning wallet. Thanks to the LNURL, this is also solved well: Instead of copying a payment request from the smartphone to the browser, you can simply scan a link to withdraw money from the account on PayWall.link to your smartphone.
To test the user experience, you can call this link from me to pay 100 Satoshi for a link.
Unlock protocol (ETH/DAI)
The unlock protocol for Ethereum is technically more demanding. Like everything at Ethereum, it’s based on a smart contract, but it doesn’t really matter. With a WordPress plugin, you can bring a PayWall to your WordPress installation. If you run your own website and have WordPress installed on it, the block is worth it.
With Unlock you can only make part of the article visible to members. If you are not yet a member, you will be asked to pay an amount of your choice in order to register. After payment, he then sees the previously hidden part of the article, such as the link to a video call. Payment is made with Ethereum wallets, such as Metamask for the browser, the online wallet Coinbase or the wallet in the Opera browser. It is practical that you can accept DAI dollars in addition to ether, which means you do not expose your earnings to the risk of volatility in cryptocurrencies.
As the demo page shows, the process runs very smoothly for the user.
The fact that unlocking the content via memberships makes things a bit hairy. Once you have paid, you will always see the content. This can be prevented by deleting the participants in the WordPress member area after the video session.
There is also a paywall site for Bitcoin Cash (BCH). At least in theory.
SatoshiWall.cash is a classic Paywall platform for payments with Bitcoin Cash (BCH). You register on the site, write a post, and put a part behind the PayWall. For example, you can describe what a video session it is, put the link or the meeting ID behind the paywall, and set a price for it.
There is no integrated wallet on the page, you have to enter your own address. So you can receive the money directly into your own wallet and you don’t have to entrust it to the website. Your participants can then pay with any Bitcoin Cash-enabled wallet. At least in theory.
Unfortunately, the certificate used by SatoshiWall for the payment codes has expired. Therefore, no wallet is able to make the payment, which is a shame, since SatoshiWall.cash makes a good impression in itself: You do not need your own WordPress installation, and you will not have problems with larger amounts.
I have asked when the certificate will be available again but have not yet received an answer.
Bit.sv is basically the same as SatoshiWall, but for Bitcoin SV (BSV): You register, enter the heading and marker and hide the link or meeting ID for the video conference behind a PayWall.
Your participants do not have to register with SatoshiWall. You can pay with ordinary BSV addresses, but also with the buttons from MoneyButton and RelayX. This makes paying at bit.sv more convenient than with any other platform.
However, bit.sv is still in a half-open beta phase. Registration is a bit cumbersome. You have to enter the email, write down a seed, and then contact someone from Bit.sv to be activated. I asked for access myself, but haven’t received it yet, and I’m asking how long it usually takes.
The agony of choice?
To be honest, this overview was thinner than expected. I had assumed that there are working PayWalls for every cryptocurrency, since this is not a deeper software challenge.
Both bit.sv and SatoshiWall make a good impression. The paywalls are simple, allow you to publish a description of your video call, and can handle any amount of the admission fee. However, SatoshiWall is currently not functional at all – maybe in the future again – and bit.sv is only semi-publicly accessible, even if you will certainly get an account there with a little preliminary work.
If the price for access to the video conference remains moderate, Paywall.link is the most recommended tool. It is easy to set up, and the fact that the visitors were forwarded directly to the link fits perfectly with the PayWall for a video conference. If you have your own WordPress site, you can also look at Unlock, which is particularly suitable for higher entrance fees and payments with a stablecoin.
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