On April 6, 2018, Sjors Provoost, a physicist who has now turned his attention to Bitcoin, tweeted the details of an experimental crypto platform similar to Patreon. Described as “a self-hosted platform to receive recurring donations” Provoost is looking to develop a censorship-resistant market equivalent based on the Lightning Network, codenamed Matreon.
Matreon: Playing with Lightning
The experimental social platform will also be integrating features of the Lightning Network. Bitcoin’s second layer protocol is a necessary prerequisite for interested parties. By leveraging this network, Matreon will also be taking advantage of Bitcoin’s censorship-resistant qualities.
Introducing Matreon*: a self hosted platform to receive recurring** donations from supporters using the #LightningNetwork. Bring your own C-Lightning node. Built with @rubyonrails, React&Reduxhttps://t.co/YMJNyPlD0C
* = needs new name
** = using a mail cron job (on todo list)
— Sjors Provoost (@provoost) April 6, 2018
C-lightning is an implementation of the Lightning Network exclusive to Linux. It also requires both React and Redux developer tools to deploy along with a familiarity with the programming language Ruby on Rails.
The platform is also only operational with version 0.15 or above and does not accommodate pruning. Lightning Charge is “A drop-in solution for accepting lightning payments, built on top of c-lightning.”
BTCManager reached out to Provoost regarding the “extremely experimental” project to find out a bit more on the subject. As the Tweet suggests, the Dutch software developer looks to provide an alternative to centralized platforms such as Patreon:
“[Patreon’s] centralized nature makes [them] censorship inevitable. They will face pressure from other creators on the platform to take down contentious content. Their exposure to Stripe and PayPal also subjects them to their whims. Matreon is self-hosted and doesn’t rely on the fiat payment system.”
At current, Patreon members are paid for their content via PayPal, Stripe, and Payoneer. The former two methods incur a transaction fee of $0.25 or one percent of the total payout up to $20. Payoneer incurs a $3 fee per transaction. If not for the transaction fees, a switch to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin would also negate foul play between the payment processors and Patreon.
As such, Matreon comes to the aid of the content generators rather than the intermediaries who provide the platform. Plus, as Provoost points out, “They current don’t allow patrons to pay using cryptocurrency, nor creators to get paid that way.”
Upon following links to the respective GitHub page, one can view the live instance of the the Matreon page.
Another current barrier is determining best practice for automating recurring payments. This problem, however, is an existential one for the Lightning Network. Its resolution was, in fact, the founding motivation for Matreon, but the application would be highly attractive for the cryptocurrency community.
One reason I built this is because recurring payments, as well as taking payments on a potentially insecure web server, are something I’d like to find better solutions for over time. This should increase my motivation to do so. 🙂
— Sjors Provoost (@provoost) April 8, 2018
There is also the time factor; when asked about a final version and a potential timeline, Provoost told BTCManager, “No idea. It mainly depends on how much time I decide to put into it.”