Build on Bitcoin, become your own boss
Software developers contribute some of the most creative and valuable inputs to the digital economy, yet it’s notoriously difficult to monetise code autonomously. It’s no wonder many developers dream of turning their software and applications into business ventures, allowing them to directly reap the benefits of their ingenuity.
Entrepreneurship is a difficult journey in any industry, but within the realm of Bitcoin development it’s definitely more than a pipe dream.
To illustrate the point, and encourage you to invest in realising your dream of turning your Bitcoin application into a business, we look at four Bitcoin ventures that have afforded their founders the chance to become business owners.
Since both Andrew and Shashank are developers, they had used APIs and understood that it was difficult to monetise an API you had built. They wanted to address this problem, so they built an API marketplace utilising micropayments. Via the platform, developers can use an API and pay the code’s developers for usage in microtransactions.
Codugh’s words of advice for developers looking to start a business:
‘The biggest obstacle for participants is when they take a tech-first approach. Approach your project from a business-first approach, and then apply your technical knowledge afterwards. Think about a problem, a real problem that real users have. Think of a business idea that fixes that problem and then build an interesting technical solution that addresses your business problem.’
Dutch-Belgian venture Kyrt placed third in the third BSV Hackathon of October 2020. Kyrt was created to provide any type of business or developer with pre-packaged API services, tailored SDKs and ready-made infrastructure that allows them to build applications on the BSV blockchain without needing to interact directly with Bitcoin Script and opcodes.
In 2021, Kyrt is still going strong, rebranded as mintBlue with CEO Niels van den Bergh disclosing a recent commercial partnership with a major client that services a large consortium of companies. The partnership has allowed the start-up to broaden its focus from enthusiasts and SMEs to include enterprise clients. Its initial offering of microtransaction-based API services has also been expanded to include a range of services, from digital certificates to non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
mintBlue’s words of advice for developers looking to start a business:
Van den Bergh recommends thinking about the business model behind each of your projects, and validating your idea as you develop it.
While TonicPow is a household name for many BSV’ers, the project started from scratch during the inaugural BSV Hackathon in May 2019. The team of three, led by Bitcoin Association Ambassador for Panama Atilla Aros alongside Luke Rohenaz and Austin Rappaport, set out to directly monetise referral advertising. Since then, TonicPow’s offering has expanded significantly.
In its first iteraton, TonicPow was a little widget that you could put on your website to let out advertising space. While they still offer display widgets, TonicPow has grown into a promotion marketplace where brands can create a campaign and find relevant promoters for their offering. ‘Brands remunerate promoters utilising micropayments. Every time a promoter meets the campaign’s goal by sharing a post, generating a click or a conversion, they receive a small amount of money from the campaign’s budget funded by the brand.’
TonicPow’s words of advice for developers looking to create a Bitcoin project:
‘Get familiar with the Bitcoin development tools that are out there, then use them to your advantage! Perhaps it’s not really polished at this point, but it could be a powerful building block that you can leverage. Play around with them and try to build some little demos. You’ll learn a lot in the process.’
The concept of TrueReviews was about building some element of monetary value into online reviews. The platform also uses Bitcoin blockchain to introduce rewards so businesses can take ownership of their online reviews: ‘How this would work is that you’d go into a shop and purchase a product, and your proof of purchase would be linked to an online review platform via the blockchain. This way, businesses can validate that people who review them have actually purchased their products. A business could also offer their customers a reward in exchange for leaving a review. By using smart contracts, the platform will automatically unlock a reward, whether they leave a positive or a negative review.’
Before participating in the BSV Hackathon, Connor was working for a medical record software company, but thanks to TrueReviews (presently rebranded as Britevue) he is able to work for himself and hire other people to work on the platform.
Britevue’s words of advice for developers looking to create a Bitcoin project:
‘Be forward-thinking when designing your business. We have been held back for over 10 years in the way we think about building a business on Bitcoin, and it is important to identify opportunities where you can push Bitcoin forward.
There is an unbounded amount of opportunity in building needed infrastructure for Bitcoin businesses, and even if you are focused on application development you will need that infrastructure anyways. Don't wait for other people to solve your problems - solve them yourself and then sell the solution to other businesses in the space.’
Next success story: yours?
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