Bitcoin needs a killer app

Bitcoin Fair

Now that the initial peak of inflated expectations over Bitcoin is well behind us and we’ve begun to emerge out of the proverbial trough of disillusionment, thousands of people around the world are working on Bitcoin apps and doing really interesting things. But as of yet, no one has created that one killer app which gives regular people a compelling reason to use Bitcoin.

At Fluence, we think one potential app that could have mass appeal is a decentralized, peer to peer advertising network. The system would allow anyone to target other users directly and pay them to look at any URL and provide constructive feedback or promotional help. You could also earn for your own time and attention helping others.

We’ve already built a centrally managed version of this app at, but in this post we’ll discuss the steps we could take to decentralize the system and possibly refactor ourselves out of jobs.


One of the important roles we play at Fluence is to look at each review that takes place and ensure that it meets our community guidelines. We also validate the information people put on their profiles and estimate their external reach. This important information helps drive our targeting algorithm, but these activities make us the bottleneck and require users to trust that we’ll act with their best interests at heart. Even though we ALWAYS DO have their best interests at heart — it would be better if the system could scale all by itself and didn’t require any leap of faith.

A decentralized version of Fluence would address these issues by providing radical transparency and pushing these moderation and verification tasks onto our users themselves. This self organizing system could incentive productive, honest behavior and would be fully auditable and democratic.

Our transition to a decentralized model will require the following steps:

Change the payment infrastructure

We adopt a cryptocurrency such as bitcoin for all transactions within the system. This lowers transaction fees and reduces the friction involved in managing credit card charges and refunds for all of our users around the world. The money saved by avoiding these banking fees pays users who perform moderation and community management tasks.

Start sharing encrypted, anonymized activity data

All relevant app activity is saved to a shared public ledger of user interactions on the system. This Fluence blockchain is the shared database that users will use to moderate and manage the system.

Refactor the management

The new decentralized autonomous organization will handle tasks previously performed by the Fluence team. Reviews, recommendations and vetting will be performed by the users with consensus emerging from a similar voting mechanism that Bitcoin uses to verify transactions.

These moderation and management tasks can be performed by real humans or automated applications and both will be able to earn funds and accrue bitcoin in their account for participating and helping to make the system work for everyone.

Deployment in the real world

A critical success factor for us is to provide a seamless glidepath for our existing users to the decentralized autonomous version. Not everyone will be ready to retain their earnings in BTC, but they can still benefit from the network and its new capabilities. Over time, we imagine that people will see the value of bitcoin and may come to think of using Fluence as a safe and easy way to start saving bitcoin for their future. Who knows, perhaps one day they’ll be worth millions?

Fluence embraces the Internet of Money and now accepts payments in bitcoin

We’re happy to announce that we now accept payments in bitcoin at


What is bitcoin?

Born out of the near collapse of the world economy in 2008, bitcoin allows you to pay for stuff without going through those pesky banks. This is world-changing stuff as the current banking system is incredibly unfair. Banks borrow money from the government for virtually nothing (< 0.25%) and then rent it out to the rest of us for more than 50 times that much. Merchants who want to accept credit card payments are forced to handover almost 3% of the transaction + $0.30 on top. We’ve come to accept this as a necessary cost of doing business — there needs to be some centralized authority responsible for evaluating who can be trusted and settling the accounts right? Well — with the invention of bitcoin and its ever increasing adoption around the world, things no longer have to work this way.

Why is Fluence using it?

At Fluence, we’re excited about Bitcoin not just because of lower transaction fees, but because we see it as a kindred spirit to our own fledgling marketing technology. Fluence levels the playing field by allowing anyone to promote their work directly to the people who can help the most; those with an existing audience and demand for their attention who would otherwise probably ignore email sent to their overflowing inbox. These “oversubscribed” people set a price for their time and attention to review media submissions and provide helpful feedback and advice, as well as share on Twitter or Facebook when they come across stuff they genuinely enjoy. Fluence provides complete transparency about what happens when each user engages with your media. This is radically different from traditional PR or an advertising agency which charges much higher fees and often provides little insight into exactly what you’re getting for your money.

How do I pay for promotions using bitcoin?

You’ll need a Coinbase account to use bitcoin on Fluence. When you submit a media URL to Fluence (we currently support YouTube, Soundcloud, Vimeo, Kickstarter and Bandcamp links and will roll out support for any URL in the near future), you can choose who you’d like to send it to. You’ll be prompted to connect your Coinbase account when you go to pay for your order. Your account will be charged the latest BTC to USD conversion rate and if any of your targeted reviewers do not actually review your media within two weeks, you will be refunded in USD which will be converted into BTC and deposited back into your Coinbase account.

What’s next?

Today we’re allowing you to use your bitcoin wallet at Coinbase to fund your Fluence account but we still actually operate in USD. This is not ideal for many reasons. We run a global attention marketplace and having to exchange currencies between buyers and sellers in different countries can incur excessive transaction costs. Everyone would save money if we operated entirely in bitcoin within Fluence and just let people add or remove funds in their home currency if they felt the need to. One concern is that users would be subject to currency risk due to the fluctuating value of bitcoin, but it’s not just BTC that’s depreciated significantly in the past year. The recent volatility in global currency markets only reminds us more of the benefits we could reap by transacting purely in the bitcoin realm, incurring virtually zero transaction costs along the way.

In an upcoming blog post, we’ll outline a roadmap for how we get there and identify other steps we could take to refactor Fluence into a decentralized autonomous organization. If this sounds like fun to you — then please join us and let’s work together on it.

Where do I sign up?

Sign up now to receive a $5 credit (~0.02 BTC) and get started promoting your media today.

Get started on Fluence with $5 free credit