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Cover image for Matters β€” Grant Report #1
Guo Liu for Matters

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Matters β€” Grant Report #1

What is Matters?

Matters is a socially connected publication platform that gives ownership back to creators by utilizing Web3 technologies and services. It is a space where creators meeting their audiences and each other through sincere discussions, and where authors freely express their experiences and opinions without worrying about censorship and surveillance.

At Matters, we explore how the creation and consumption of content, as well as the emergence of civil discourses and communities, can be decentralized and self-sustained. For example, we use IPFS to distributed censorship-resilient content, integrate Like button to bring revenue to creators, and experimented with user organizations to self-govern and self-regulate.

Although Matters supports English, it is currently mainly serving Chinese speakers and most of the content are in Chinese. However if your browser setting is in English, there is a translation button on every article that can translate the content to English.

How is Matters integrating Web Monetization?

Web Monetization and the support from Grant for Web allows us to overcome existing problems and bring the decentralization to a new level. Financial transaction between reader and author has been a pain in the past. Readers and authors locate in different counties, and most of them not tech-savvy. Fiat currency is limited by political boundaries, and cryptocurrencies are not yet user friendly and intuitive enough. We integrated payment services for both fiat currency and LikeCoin, but both have their limitations, and none of them could be integrated into decentralized storage such as IPFS easily.

With Web Monetization, we are now able to give the power to define the accepted currency back to the users. Interledger protocol enables freedom on both paying and receiving end, and open doors to various optimizations on user interaction. For the past 4 months, we studied how Web Monetization can be integrated into our product, interviewed with users to find a way to merge it seamlessly into their workflow, designed the suitable user interaction and user interface, and implemented Web Monetization for all users. We also started encouraging users with Web Monetization experiences to write about their experiences and understanding to create discussions and anticipations. The final feature is currently enabled in test environment, and will be enabled on production environment in mid-March.

With this feature, an user can enter a payment pointer in her or his account setting, which will be included in all her or his work to accept donations. The content an user created is not locked on a single platform, and this means that the payment pointer is accessible wherever their content is been read. This includes website, Liker Land app, IPFS public gateways and other form of clients that support IPFS. Currently the only major payment provider for Web Monetization is Coil, so the donation is limited to Coil extension or Puma Browser. However with the growth of Web Monetization ecosystem, content on Matters will be ready for payment.

A short explanation of Web Monetization and Interledger Protocol: β€œIn order to increase the source of income for creators, Matters introduces Interledger Protocol, which enables the payer and the payee to conduct transactions in different currencies. You can configure the wallet address through Uphold, GateHub and other services to get income from Coil, which can be used on both the Matters website and the IPFS network.”

What is the next step?

At the moment we included a short description on our product about what payment pointer is and how to set it up. When enabling it in our production environment, we will also publish a longer article that offers explanation in depth.

This initial step is important, since Matters is mostly serving Chinese speaking communities, and unfortunately Web Monetization is not well known yet in Chinese speaking communities. But mere explanation is not enough to drive usage and adaption. Without readers using Web Monetization for donation, it will be unrealistic to convince authors the usability of payment pointers.

Therefore the next step will be a campaign to showcase the power of Web Monetization. On the one hand, we will partner with other Grant for the Web grantees to write about Web Monetization on Matters and other social medias to increase understanding of this technology. On the other hand, we will allocate a significant part of the grant as rewards, to reward authors on Matters through Web Monetization in form of prizes. We will focus on rewarding contents that are about Web Monetization or other decentralization-friendly content, which will further raise awareness of the benefits of these new technologies. This will drive the adoption of Web Monetization among authors.

Please stay tuned for our campaigns, come earn your price, and stay for the community!

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