S12 E15: Chris (OB_HODL) on Bumbee

Content monetization is one of the most delicate issues on the internet – and Bumbee proposes a bold alternative to platforms such as Patreon and OnlyFans.

Anyone can agree that content creators deserve to get paid for their work. There are millions of people worldwide who consume educational and entertaining content on the internet, and there’s also a fraction of them who are willing to financially support the creators.

However, the devil is in the details: these content creators only receive a fraction of the money donated by their backers and may become subject to financial censorship and confiscation. Platforms such as Patreon, YouTube, and OnlyFans are basically layer 4 solutions that sit on top of PayPal (a layer 3) and send money to banks (layer 2). In between receiving funds and cashing them out at an ATM, creators must pay every intermediary who moves the money and converts it between various fiat currencies at different rates. Usually, 30 to 40 percent of the money goes to these third parties.

Of course, there’s a price to be paid for convenience. Since anyone around the world can create internet content and try to generate income from it, most of the times it’s useful that these intermediaries exist to make it easy for everyone to not bother with opening multiple bank accounts for every national currency. But the issue isn’t only financial: since there are so many companies in the middle, censorship can quickly become an issue. Of course, there are certain types of content which steal other people’s work or else present despicable acts that any decent human being would resent.

Yet in recent years, deplatforming and financial censorship have also occurred as a response to political speech. Take for example the Canadian truckers who protested against the increasingly authoritarian government in early 2022: they had their bank accounts frozen and could not receive any kind of government money from their supporters. In the US, PayPal also decided to deplatform the conservative organization Moms for Liberty… before deciding to reverse the decision after receiving political pressure from the Florida state governor.

Financial censorship and politically-driven denial of service in banking are no longer an issue associated with 3rd world countries and authoritarian regimes. Some of the most free and developed nations in the world are actively engaging in controlling who can and who cannot become part of the economy. Banks and governments can no longer be trusted that they’ll allow you to make a living as a regime critic, dissident, or rebel. Agreeing to disagree and allowing the opposition to exist in the name of free speech are mere chimeras of the past, as all sides of the political spectrum weaponize their ability to control in order to limit the individual’s ability to thrive without complying with a set of ever-changing rules and regulations.

But before the debate gets too gloomy and we explore the imminent threat of CBDCs, let’s talk about Bumbee. At its core, it’s a Bitcoin-only version of Patreon or OnlyFans. Content creators post their work, while subscribers must pay to access it. It’s a way to create paywalls to ask the rest of the world to pay a price in order to reveal the video, photo, or written content.

So far, it sounds just like every other platform. But what Bumbee does differently is to use only Bitcoin for payments and cut down the fees to only 10%. Using Bitcoin comes with multiple benefits: creators can receive payments directly to their non-custodial wallets (thus making financial censorship a lot more difficult) and the KYC requirements are almost non-existent (only creators who publish explicit NSFW content will have to submit a form of identification to prove that they’re older than 18).

Basically, Bumbee is a great replacement for Patreon and OnlyFans, which doesn’t make you deal with third parties like PayPal and completely bypasses the need to use banks. You can take that BTC to an ATM, do an in-person trade with someone from LocalBitcoins or HodlHodl, and benefit from the freedom of never having to worry about financial censorship. In its current iteration, Bumbee is not as polished as other social network and fundraising platforms. But it’s still usable for those who need it.

In S12 E15 of the Bitcoin Takeover podcast, I’ve had the pleasure to interview Chris (OB_HODL on Twitter) to learn more about Bumbee. Our conversation inspired me to make a conscious effort to get rid of Patreon and replace it with a BTC-only platform that charges lower fees and will never persecute me for creating Bitcoin content (if you remember the 2018 bear market when big tech was suppressing anything related to Bitcoin, you know what I mean).

So if you decide to sign up to Bumbee, make sure you follow the Bitcoin Takeover account. You’ll find some free content, as well as stuff you can unlock with a BTC microtransaction.

Listen to OB_HODL talk about Bumbee on Apple Podcasts, Spotify & YouTube!

In the true spirit of maximizing your sovereignty and avoiding big tech deplatforming, you probably shouldn’t use any of these services. Which is why I’m offering this free player that doesn’t track you, works with the Tor browser, and offers the same audio quality as everywhere else. Not only that, but you can download the audio track to an offline device so you can listen to it on your iPod Nano during the morning jog or commute.

But if you prefer convenience over privacy, then you’ll find the recording across all big tech platforms. And if you opt to listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts or YouTube, then please subscribe and leave feedback. It may seem like these elements are nothing but vanity metrics, but they help the algorithms prioritize content so others will find the episode with greater ease. It only takes a few seconds of your time, but makes a huge difference. Thanks in advance!

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Vlad Costea

I'm here for the freedom, censorship-resistance, and unconfiscatability. What about you?

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