Case Study Coil
Empowering – and Paying – Creators, Worldwide
Coil is an emerging content platform using the Interledger Protocol to build streaming browser payments to your favorite artists, publishers and gamers. No ads, no paywalls, and no trackers.
The Money Transfer Challenge
Coil was founded in 2018 by Stefan Thomas with a vision to create a better business model for the Web. As a Web Monetization provider, Coil facilitates the monetization of content by sending micropayments to each web-monetized website while browsing. The goal is to ensure that content creators all over the world can be fairly and easily compensated for their work.
Open Web Monetization stands in contrast to the existing advertising and subscription platform monetization models that strongly favor large advertising networks and content platforms. It is simply not cost effective using traditional payment methods to send a fraction of a penny for a single article, image, song or video on an independent website. And even when the amounts are large enough, high fees for international transactions, and incompatible wallets in different countries, create friction for both creators and their fans. These hurdles are difficult for many, but they hit unbanked and financially underserved populations around the world the hardest, often excluding them from being paid for their work or being forced to accept painful fees, delays, and risks.
The Web Monetization Model
Coil is dedicated to providing better ways to access and compensate content creators, publishers and small- to medium-sized platforms, without relying on advertising or subscription models. The company achieves this with an open standard called Web Monetization. Coil builds on open standards to encourage competition and ensure compatibility with any payment service and currency.
The idea is relatively simple: users sign up for a $5 Coil membership using a debit or credit card and can then browse the web with a micropayments-enabled browser (such as Puma), or by using a Coil browser extension. As they visit web-monetized sites, micropayments are streamed from Coil to the website for every second Coil members read, watch and listen.
On the other side of the equation are the creators, those who want to monetize their sites. Creators start by creating a digital wallet through a service like Uphold or GateHub, and then monetize their site by adding an HTML tag that points to their wallet. Payments then stream into their wallet as visitors consume their content.
So how are these payments made possible? That’s where Interledger comes in.
The Interledger Protocol enables Web Monetization by facilitating the seamless transfer of funds. Funds can be sent instantly to Interledger-enabled wallets with near-zero cost, regardless of the currencies used. Without the Interledger protocol providing interoperable and scalable payment rails, Web Monetization would be impossible to implement. Coil would need to integrate with every wallet individually, which is impossible on a global scale.
The Monetized Web of the Future
Looking forward, the future for Coil and Interledger is bright. Web Monetization is easy to use, and adoption is growing. Interledger was purposely built to accommodate this growth. The Interledger packet header includes only four key elements – the address to send the money to, the amount of money being sent, a condition to ensure payments are received securely and an expiration date. Keeping the standard minimal helps ensure Interledger won't become outdated as payments technology evolves.
“Streaming micropayments is only the beginning,” said Thomas. “We see Web Monetization as a beachhead for Interledger which will transform the payments industry in ways we cannot even imagine yet. We've seen the power of packet switching infrastructure in the success of the internet and this same revolution simply hasn't happened yet for payments. I believe that using Interledger, it will become possible for millions of developers to easily create efficient, inclusive, easy-to-use payment applications that move money globally just like the internet did for communication applications.”
Using Interledger, Coil has the potential to improve the experience for both creators and consumers. Ultimately, this will change the way consumers access content and compensate content creators.
Learn More about Coil