ProTip founder and self-described ‘possibilitarian & micropreneur’ Chris Ellis gave a short explanation via a Coinscrum Youtube video on the concept behind ProTip and what it meant for bitcoin users who were involved. To begin, ProTip is a distributed tipping app for the Internet. In essence, it monitors the websites that you visit and the time you spend on them (or at least the ones with bitcoin addresses) and displays the top 10 each week, allowing you to split your designated tipping allowance between them.
Currently in the Chrome browser as a lightweight wallet, when you visit a website, the app will automatically search for a bitcoin wallet address and monitor the time spent on the page and keep a running record of the top 10 bitcoin-wallet-displaying websites for you to view each week. In addition to this functionality, there is the option for users to ‘favourite’ websites, which will add them to the list for the end-of-the-week tipping.
The idea behind this form of payment, Ellis said, was an effort to use bitcoin in a similar way to direct debit, or rolling subscriptions, rather than the ‘push payment’ it is more commonly employed as. However, in contrast to the usual direct debit system (whereby you set up a regular payment and then forget about it), Ellis described wanting a different focus and so ProTip has a built in option to allow users to ignore specified addresses, URLs or domain names.
Commenting on the ease of use for the ‘artists’ that stand to benefit if their content is enjoyed, Ellis explained that it could hardly be simpler. All a person has to do to receive bitcoin via ProTip is to simply have their bitcoin wallet address somewhere on their page – no signing up or form filling is required. This also means that the app can be used to tip content creators on just about every website. Whilst each tip can be tiny in amount, it has the potential to add up if enough people contributed. Therefore, Ellis noted, the main thing that artists might want to do is to spread the word of bitcoin and the ProTip app.
For users of Protip, the app, which is in beta, allows you to set a weekly budget and then it’s up to the user to favourite or ignore pages, set amounts to give to each website or to divide tips based on the time spent on the site. The method appears to be popular with beta testers so far; Ellis noted it is working, functional and there were no issues with missing coins!
ProTip does not distribute any data from users and is not looking for venture capitalists to invest or selling shares. The model that ProTip is going to live by is the one it touts itself – via micropayments from the ProTip app. ProTip is, as Ellis very aptly commented, ‘Putting its money where its mouth is’. The full open source code can be found at https://github.com/Leo-ajc/ProTip