Web Monetization Community

Cover image for Donation Stream — Grant Report #2(final report)
Mike Huggins for Donation Stream

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Donation Stream — Grant Report #2(final report)

number of commits to repo

Final Report

It has felt like an incredibly quick 6 months since we were lucky enough to win a grant to make Donation Stream a reality, as you can see from the number of commits in the image it has been a busy time!

We will continue to issue updates through this forum and our social media channels but this will be our final grant report document.

We set off with a dream to try and connect the physical world with the virtual world (more on that later...).

It has been a steep but enjoyable learning curve, from where we started as developers (in terms of web monetisation and streaming payments), to where we have ended up. This is something we are very proud of.

We’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience and would certainly recommend any future grant applicants who are interested in web monetisation, ILP or the internet 2.0, to put forward a strong proposal. We would be happy to offer any advice we can and hope that you will get the opportunity to build something yourself which could make a real difference.

What is Donation Stream?

Donation Stream leverages web monetisation and the XRP ledger to allow donors to use cryptocurrency in the real world. Examples include, donating to a cultural location as you spend time on their site or streaming to a local musician as you listen to their music. The possibilities for connecting the physical with the virtual are endless.

You can find out more about us here: Donation Stream

Progress on objectives

Provide charities, free museums, art galleries another revenue stream in an increasingly cashless society - we have a charity partner who is receiving streaming payments from beta donors. We are working with their team to develop understanding of cryptocurrency and its various processes. The relationship is at an early stage but they are delighted to be onboard.

Link the physical with the virtual in order to increase the reach of web monetisation - We have achieved this with the use of QR codes. Users can scan the QR code of a donee and send them payments. The intention being that you arrive on site, scan the code and continue your day from there. Best explained here:

Increase the amount of content available to people who support streaming payments in all their forms - by having a real world partner who payments can be streamed to this opens up a whole new use case for web monetisation/ILP. Why should monetisation be confined to the virtual world? The content of the real world can now be accessed too.

We originally highlighted that success on our 6 month project was that we should have a minimum viable product to be able to take to possible partners and provide the opportunity for them to achieve additional revenue streams(particularly via web monetisation and originally via interledger). We did limit ourselves geographically to the Manchester, UK area to start with.

With regards to donors/donees, our aim was to save transaction fees whilst also turning donations into something more international and experience rich.

Key activities

  • Front end GUI for donors/donees to interact with(auth, news, on-site partners, notification of streaming events, streaming partners) - This has all been achieved. The feedback received confirms that this service feels slick and polished.
  • Integrations with existing XRP payment service providers(Xumm, Coil, Uphold etc) - We have integrated everything in our initial plan(aside from Interledger of which we only have a prototype). Donors can utilise Coil to stream payments to donee's payment pointers(usually generated by Uphold). In addition donors can also settle invoices via Xumm.
  • Back-end services (databases for recording usage - privacy compliant, delivering payments to on-site partners, login auth) - This has all been achieved.
  • Integration with on-site partner/partners - We currently have one integrated partner.

Views from the website

It is much easier to understand what we have been working on if you take a look around the site, we would love to see you there. Here are a few images to whet your appetite. Feel free to ask any questions.

Profile Page - donors/donees can assign their own payment pointers to this page:

Profile page for Mike

A quote from the landing page and Coil counter in operation:

Quote and coil counter

Statistics for a donor/donee's streams:

statistics for streams

A view of account settings that can be changed/updated:

Account settings

Xumm token expiry information

xumm expiry

The donation page a donor is taken to when scanning a QR code:

Donation Page

Dark mode on the main donor dashboard page:

dashboard dark mode

Oauth signup and login options:

Oauth options

A payment stream in operation:

Streaming

A stream in operation from the dashboard view:

dashboard stream

Communications and marketing

We have stepped up our marketing activity in the last month, opting to spend our communication budget on an animated video, logos and banners, social media images and a Hootsuite account to schedule our communication and plan ahead. We have also taken careful consideration of target groups and timings.

All of the marketing elements are completely new to us so we are learning as we go. It is certainly much more involved and time consuming than we initially thought, which has proved a challenge in our small team of two. We’ve found it has drawn us away from development so have had to budget our time carefully.

We have been able to release coil blogs, blogs on this web monetisation site and also create our own blog space on the website to try and retain traffic and add more value. Our plan is to expand this functionality to our donors/donees.

We are particularly proud of our animated video and think it captures the essence of our product well.

We appreciate that building a brand is a slow process and we are keen to learn and adapt. We hope our efforts so far will continue to gain traction and we have also kept some powder dry to reach out to further partners in the future.

What’s next?

Our timeline was for a 6 month project and our intention is to continue to talk to potential partners with the aim of testing at on-site cultural locations.

The webapp is designed to be used in a physical location and we want to conduct those experiments. We're hoping that venues will begin to open in the next few months as lockdown restrictions begin to lift.

We are keen on implementing Interledger in more areas of the application rather than just around payment pointers on users profile pages. We currently use Xumm as a means of transferring streaming payments as we felt it would allow us to achieve a slick MVP more quickly. Setting up Interledger here would be a great next step for us.

We already have a means of adding blogs to our site (in an mdx format), so could consider giving donors/donees the ability to add blogs about events and web monetization. We also want to consider more features to increase time on site and thereby increase revenues to our donors/donees.

Having built a strong knowledge around streaming payments and web monetisation, we are keen to explore other user cases and possible areas of expansion (eg. music gigs etc).

Lessons identified

Donation Stream is a virtual to on-site payment stream service. To allow the service to reach its full potential, we need physical locations to be open to the public.

Although venues are really interested in our digital proposal, many of the museums we have been in touch with are currently closed or suffering financially (or in terms of staffing) in order to be able to support nascent technology.

We maintain good links and hope to be able to re-approach them in the near future once their immediate crises are over. We have been able to onboard one partner in order for beta users to practice streaming payments to.

For Interledger Protocol our initial intent was to implement this as a method of payment (inclusive of storing wallet secrets of our donors), however we did find the landscape and documentation a bit confusing and contradictory. A lot of the gateway tutorials and general documentation didn't seem to work and it was difficult to tell which best practices did apply.

However, we did eventually manage to breakthrough and setup an interledger payment flow. After some deliberation, we felt it was over complex for our MVP and the time we would need to invest in terms of setup would be better spent creating a slick flow within the bounds of Xumm and web monetisation via payment pointers.

As mentioned above we are not ruling out revisiting this idea in the future as we are still excited by the technology and it could really complement the service we provide. In addition, we would like to add in stream receipts as a trust-based verification of our service and users.

What community support would benefit your project?

We will always needs business partners to enable Donation Stream at their sites and we will always need donors/donees to fuel those donations. The more the merrier! If you have any questions for us then get in touch and we can talk further about how you can get involved.

You can find out more about us here: Donation Stream Beta

Discussion (2)

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erikad profile image
Erika

Great report! Love this experimentation with streaming in physical locations. Congrats on completing your MVP - I look forward to hearing more when public venues start to re-open and there are more places to test this out.

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ericahargreave profile image
Erica Hargreave

Very cool idea, re: finding a way to utilize Web Monetization in the real world.

I wonder if nature parks may also be interested in incorporating this, as a way of contributing to their parks programs, interpretive signage, and upkeep. This would be something that could be experimented with even while indoor spaces are closed.

Also I'd love to interview you for the Sustainable Funding Series, if you are game.