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Sharon for Akita

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Akita โ€” Grant Report #1

Hi Web Monetization community! @elliot and @sharon here :)

Project Update

We're four months into our six month Grant for the Web project, Akita. So far we've:

  • created "A Web Monetization Story" for helping creators on the web engage with and understand Web Monetization;
  • improved the Akita browser extension and released it on the Chrome Web Store (stay tuned for a post asking for feedback!); and
  • participated in: Creative Commons Global Summit 2020, Future of Micropayments Conference 2020 and hackathon communities to talk about Web Monetization!

We've been enjoying coding, designing, writing and chatting as part of the Web Monetization community. Some of our big wins have been placing 2nd๐Ÿฅˆ in the BetaHack "Fix the Internet" hackathon with "A Web Monetization Story", having our projects and presentations featured on and receiving our first issue reported by a community member on Akita. Our main struggle has been balancing development of the Akita extension, along with community outreach and development of our website "A Web Monetization Story".

Progress on objectives

Our three key objectives were: creation of a website, building the Akita extension and outreach initiatives. In this section, we'll outline and summarize each of these objectives. In the Key Activities section, weโ€™ll go into more detail and provide links for each objective.


A Web Monetization Story Screenshot

In August, we had the opportunity to participate in BetaHack, a hackathon to "Fix the Internet", where we built our website "A Web Monetization Story". We originally planned to participate in BetaHack as an outreach initiative, but our work for the hackathon evolved into the website in our grant proposal.

In our original grant timeline, we planned to develop our website's MVP (Minimum Viable Product) in September, but we instead decided to go all-in during the hackathon building, open-sourcing and collecting feedback on "A Web Monetization Story" in August.

See the following website milestone statuses or look at the Key Activities section for links and details.

  • [โœ… Done] Designed and built a website ("A Web Monetization Story").
  • [โœ… Done] Collected a first round of website feedback.
  • [๐Ÿ“‹ To do] Analyze and release website feedback.
  • [๐Ÿ“‹ To do] Add a collection of our Web Monetization content to the website.
  • [โœ…โ†ช๏ธ Changed] Help users of the web understand and engage with Web Monetization โ€” we saw an opportunity to instead specifically help creators with "A Web Monetization Story".
  • [โœ…โ†ช๏ธ Changed] Add a Web Monetized site discovery feature to the website โ€” because "A Web Monetization Story" is aimed towards creators, we decided to include a curated set of resources on Web Monetization rather than a Web Monetized site discovery feature as we had originally proposed.


Akita Screenshot

We originally built and open-sourced the Akita browser extension for the Grant for the Web x DEV Community hackathon from late May to mid June of 2020. In our proposal, we planned to release the Akita extension on browser extension stores in July 2020, but were rejected from the Google Chrome Web Store and had to push back the release.

Over the past four months we've fallen behind on Akita extension development while we prioritized building "A Web Monetization Story", spent time learning about open-source and business, jumped on outreach initiative opportunities and faced personal obligations (such as Elliot finishing university and finding a full time job).

  • [โœ… Done] Released the Akita extension on the Google Chrome Web Store.
  • [๐Ÿ—๏ธ In Progress] Post about the Akita public beta release with request for feedback.
  • [๐Ÿ“‹ To do] Analyze and release extension feedback.
  • [๐Ÿ“‹ To do] Release the Akita extension on the Microsoft Edge Add-ons Store.
  • [๐Ÿ“‹ To do] Release the Akita extension on the Firefox Add-ons Store
  • [๐Ÿ“‹ To do] Add a Web Monetized site discovery feature to the extension.
  • [๐Ÿง˜ Stretch Goal] Release the Akita extension on the Mac App Store for Safari
  • [โŒโ†ช๏ธ Removed] Add a historical data visualization feature โ€” We donโ€™t plan to add this feature because we don't think it provides value in helping users understand Web Monetization better โ€” it is more of an accounting tool.

Outreach Initiatives

Over the past six months, we've spoken at two conferences, posted two major articles and engaged with the community on a bunch of platforms ๐Ÿ™‚. We're always on the lookout for more opportunities to grow the Web Monetization community!

  • [โœ… Done] Elliot presented a lightning talk at the Future of Micropayments conference. Elliot Future of Micropayments
  • [โœ… Done] Sharon was a panelist at the CC Global Summit "Can Web Monetization support digital creators?" roundtable. Sharon CC Summit
  • [โœ… Done] Sharon published "Doing My Bit To Help Build the Web Monetization Community" on HackerNoon.
  • [โœ… Done] Posted about our process building "A Web Monetization Story" for BetaHack.
  • [๐Ÿ“‹ To do] Plan outreach for February and March.
  • [๐Ÿ“‹ To do] Post two more blog posts.
  • [๐Ÿ“‹ To do] Publish website and extension feedback.

Key Activities

This section is a collection of links for the specific items that were carried out for each objective, and provides some more detail on key activities.

Website: โ€œA Web Monetization Storyโ€ (AWMS)

Extension: Akita

Outreach Initiative

  • Blog Posts
  • Conferences
    • Sharon was a panelist for the Creative Commons Summit 2020 discussion on: Can Web Monetization Support Digital Creators? in October 2020
      • No replay video, but Sharon makes a 2 second cameo in the very beginning of the Summit wrap-up video
    • Elliot was a speaker for the Future of Micropayments conference in November 2020
      • Elliot and Sharon prepared a presentation on: Cultivating awareness and understanding around Web Monetization, highlighting our efforts in the Web Monetization space with Akita and A Web Monetization Story
      • Elliotโ€™s talk replay video
  • Personal Discussions with Friends, Family, Coworkers
    • Explained our efforts behind the Akita project, what Web Monetization is and the goals of Grant for the Web
    • Took note of feedback, suggestions and questions about Web Monetization
    • Encouraged them to explore the technology, get involved in the open source efforts and check out our work :)
  • Other Mentions
    • Sharon received 3rd Place for Best Web Monetization Innovator Award in the 2020 Noonies
    • Coil Developers Blog Resources
      • Cultivating awareness and understanding around Web Monetization Video
      • Doing My Bit To Help Build the Web Monetization Community

Communications and marketing

We wonโ€™t go into too much detail here, since specific blog posts/links were included in the Key Activities section above.

In general, weโ€™ve been posting to our personal Twitter accounts (Elliotโ€™s Twitter, Sharonโ€™s Twitter) on any news related to our grant project efforts. Weโ€™ve recently created a Twitter account for esse-dev, an unofficial โ€œorganizationโ€ which represents our dev work as a duo. We plan to make development updates related to Akita and "A Web Monetization Story" (such as releases) on the @esse-dev Twitter account, so that information can be seen in a central spot.

Much of our discussion as it relates to development can be found in our open source repos for Akita and "A Web Monetization Story". We make use of GitHub issues to log bugs, enhancements, general feature development and facilitate any further discussion on implementation. Akita on the Chrome Web Store We have also created an issue to explore setting up GitHub Discussions in our Akita repo.

Weโ€™ve had a couple opportunities to participate in online conferences related to Web Monetization (Creative Commons Web Monetization Panel; Future of Micropayments Conference), which weโ€™ve really enjoyed! We are keeping an eye out for more opportunities to get involved in this format, as we find the engagement with audience members to be especially helpful and enjoyable.

Lastly, we have made use of DEV Community, Hacker Noon and the Grant for the Web Forum to post and discuss our efforts with the broader community. DEV Community and Hacker Noon have a primarily software development-centric audience, which helps us reach developers who may be interested in exploring Web Monetization. Going forward, we plan to share our major updates on both the Web Monetization Forem and DEV Community, i.e. create a duplicate post on DEV Community.

Links to Our Socials

Whatโ€™s next?

Here are our To-Dos for the remainder of our grant period:

  • Website
    • [๐Ÿ“‹ To do] Analyze and release website feedback.
    • [๐Ÿ“‹ To do] Add a collection of our Web Monetization content to the website.
  • Extension
    • [๐Ÿ—๏ธ In Progress] Post about the Akita public beta release with request for feedback.
    • [๐Ÿ“‹ To do] Analyze and release extension feedback.
    • [๐Ÿ“‹ To do] Release the Akita extension on the Microsoft Edge Add-ons Store.
    • [๐Ÿ“‹ To do] Release the Akita extension on the Firefox Add-ons Store
    • [๐Ÿ“‹ To do] Add a Web Monetized site discovery feature to the extension.
  • Outreach
    • [๐Ÿ“‹ To do] Plan outreach for February and March.
    • [๐Ÿ“‹ To do] Post two more blog posts.
  • General
    • [๐Ÿ“‹ To do] Identify KPIs and set milestones based off feedback
    • [๐Ÿ“‹ To do] Continue learning about: the tech around Web Monetization (Interledger, blockchain), running a business, licensing, etc.

What community support would benefit your project?

Our goal with the Akita project is to create content and resources that help our users better understand and engage with Web Monetization. So, the most helpful community support we can receive is you trying out our stuff and sending us your feedback! We want to know how (and if) our projects are helping you.

If you have some spare time, check out "A Web Monetization Story" and fill out the survey at the end to let us know your thoughts! (If youโ€™ve already checked out the website, but missed the survey, you can fill it out here: "A Web Monetization Story" survey).

A Web Monetization Story Survey Screenshot

Coming soon: weโ€™ll be posting an update on the Akita extension on this forem, with download links and a feedback form.

Weโ€™re continuously looking out for opportunities to speak at conferences, engage in community calls and participate in Web Monetization advocacy efforts, so feel free to reach out to us if thereโ€™s an opportunity that we can get involved in!

Finally, weโ€™ve created a Twitter account for us to communicate updates on our progress going forward โ€” weโ€™d appreciate it if you gave us a follow: @esse_dev. Not much going on there yet, but stay tuned! :)

Additional comments

Over the course of the project we've learned about open content and open source licensing, incorporation in Canada, privacy policies and browser extension development, among other things. Elliot gave his first conference talk and Sharon published her first browser extension: Akita!

Shout out to the Web Monetization community! We've appreciated all the support we've received since we started on Akita nine months ago. It's been awesome to speak at conferences, receive feedback from the community and meet so many cool people.


the esse-dev team (Sharon and Elliot)

Top comments (3)

chrislarry profile image
Chris Lawrence

Great report! We would love to hear how we can start to use the web site better in our outreach and education materials. Any thoughts there on how we can helpful?

elliot profile image

Thanks Chris ๐Ÿ™‚. We've been thinking about this a little bit and here are some of our thoughts and questions for you:

  • We like the idea of hosting some events that are easy to join and participate in, that could expose people to WM. Maybe something like a video call or a live stream where we talk a bit (and walk through the aWMS tutorial) and people can ask questions.
  • What outreach and education materials does the Grant currently use and promote? (We're familiar with,,,... but we're wondering if there's any materials directed at people outside the WM community)
  • What is the Grant's vision for how those materials will evolve over time?

we'd love to have a video call and chat in real time at some point so we can throw some ideas around.

chrislarry profile image
Chris Lawrence

We will schedule some time to discuss soon!