What are you building?
Podcrypt, https://podcrypt.app, is a podcast application that allows listeners to setup one recurring donation that is automatically split amongst verified podcasts based on time listened. For example, as a listener you might want to donate $10 per month to your favorite podcasts. So, you fund your Podrypt wallet with some ETH, set the donation amount to $10, and set the interval to 30 days:
Then you go about your life and enjoy all of those tasty podcasts. At the end of the interval, Podcrypt will automatically distribute ETH to the verified podcasts that you have listened to, in proportion to the time that you’ve spent listening. Repeat at will.
Podcasts and their creators provide an enormous service to their listeners. I have personally benefited immensely from the many many hours of podcasts that I have listened to over the years, from travel to business to software engineering. Unfortunately, the value given out is harder to return.
Podcasts are generally free. The podcasting ecosystem is very open and decentralized. This is wonderful, but brings with it some unique challenges. It seems that in any open, decentralized, generally free-of-charge ecosystem, there is a monetary sustainability problem. Open source software is a good example of this. To overcome these limitations, creators must often rely on a third-party source of funds. In open source software, this third-party is usually a business that subsidizes the development and maintenance of the code. For podcasts, it’s advertisers.
Because podcasters have to go to a third-party to receive value in return for the value they create, the market is inherently inefficient. Podcasters have to spend resources obtaining sponsorships and airing adds, instead of focusing on the core value that they are trying to provide. It would be much better to capture value directly from listeners. But, that could destroy the open and decentralized nature of podcasting, which I believe would be a tragedy.
Donations are an obvious solution to sustainability that maintains openness and fairness. Indeed, companies like Patreon and Twitch are showing that this can be very effective. Podrypt proposes a donation model that is automatic, fair, and peer-to-peer. Users do not have to sign up to become donors of each podcast individually, but they subscribe to the entire domain of podcasts and Podcrypt takes care of the rest. I believe this unique value proposition will help podcast donations go mainstream, as it removes much of the friction of other platforms.
Who are you building for?
Podcrypt is for podcast creators and listeners.
Creators do not have to interact much with Pocdrypt if they don’t want to. All they have to do to “signup” is add an Ethereum address into their podcast description. They can then handle their donations in whatever manner they please.
Podcast listeners will be the main active users of the application. I am currently focusing on a very narrow total addressable market (TAM). Currently that is avid podcast listeners who are willing to donate and who are Ethereum enthusiasts and early tech adopters. Over time I will continue to expand the TAM to broaden it as much as possible. For example, adding stablecoins like DAI, USDC, or Libra and allowing credit card purchases directly within the app will begin to broaden the TAM from Ethereum enthusiasts to average people who transact online. As Podcrypt progresses from alpha to beta to full release, the early adopter requirement should get dropped. I will work to drop other requirements as far as possible.
How does it advance UX, usability or experiment with a new use case?
Podcrypt is experimenting with an entirely new use case for cryptocurrency. As far as I know there is no other podcast application remotely similar. Essentially, Podcrypt is doing something very similar to Brave with its attention-based ecosystem, but Podcrypt is a podcast browser and not a general web browser.
As for UX, Podcrypt is attempting to onboard as many avid podcast listeners as possible. This will only be achieved by removing friction everywhere possible. Podcrypt is doing this in a few ways:
- Podcrypt eschews third-party wallets and builds a wallet directly into the app, creating and storing the private key directly in the browser. This comes with tradeoffs, but I believe they are well worth it for the great user experience
- Gas is almost entirely abstracted away. Try the app out and you’ll notice there is nearly no mention of gas
- Podcrypt plans to experiment with generating ENS names directly within the app, giving each user their own .podcrypt.eth name to send and receive funds
- Podcrypt is a Progressive Web App (PWA). I have no plans of creating specific native applications for iOS or Android. PWA capabilities are generally improving, and I believe they provide a number of benefits, including extreme speed of development for multiple platforms, easy user discovery, and censorship-resistance to the whims of the app stores
- Pushing native transactions. I believe the main Ethereum chain is good enough for this use case, and I want to push the main chain to do as much as possible and show what can be done without relying on layer 2 solutions
Why is this exciting?
In my opinion Podcrypt is a great example of a practical every-day cryptocurrency/blockchain application. It provides a real-world applied consumer financial use-case. I think it has the opportunity to do great things for podcasting sustainability, and to onboard many more people into crypto.
Also, because of the growing popularity of podcasting, and the crypto community’s seemingly inherent interest in sharing information through podcasts, perhaps Podcrypt can become one of the most widely used Ethereum apps. There are currently ~20 verified podcasts on Podcrypt.
How much funding do you need and what will it be used to do?
I am requesting $8000 in funding. My goal is to provide myself at least a 1 year runway that allows me to go full-time on Podcrypt. The funds would help me reach that goal, and would also provide capital for subsidizing metatransactions, travel for conferences, etc. I also have a co-founder who would receive some of the funds.
I currently work on Podcrypt part-time, and so far I have been able to do initial validation (talking to a few hundred people, getting an initial Telegram group membership of 100 members), build and release the pre-alpha on a test network and then the alpha on Ethereum. I hope to have the beta out by the end of July. Having a runway of 1 year would allow me to get to a 1.0 release, or if already there continue to refine Podcrypt and move to a 2.0 release. I also feel it will be necessary to do a lot of outreach to create partnerships and begin to expand outside of the crypto community.
Also, in case it isn’t apparent, Podcrypt is a for-profit business. I will also be working on product-market fit and business models and trying to reach sustainability/profitability.