For years, photo sharing on sites like Instagram has been driven by ‘likes’. Now, a social media company is experimenting with switching out those likes for cash.
“Snap. Post. Paid.” is the slogan of Belacam, the site that has coupled likes with real payments of money. The system works on a one-to-one ratio where the money that the poster receives comes from the user who liked the post. That is, when Dave likes Sally’s photo, Dave automatically gives Sally a few cents from his own account. Sally can withdraw that money or use it to like other posts later.
Will users actually pay money to like other posts? The Belacam team knows they will. They point to artists, photographers, and social media personalities that have masses of loyal followers. Many dedicated followers are open to giving a small amount of money as their way of showing appreciation for the content being produced.
Belacam is set to begin open beta testing in late March or early April. This phase will be open to anyone who wants to help test the network, although certain features may still be in development. The site is slated for a full launch in late Spring.
To accomplish all of this, Belacam is making use of a form of internet currency called Belacoin. Belacoin is a lighter version of Bitcoin, although it is much less widely known. Belacoin users are hoping that Belacam is their big break.
With Belacoin, the Belacam team is able to make what they call the easiest, most fluid exchange of money in the world. At the click of a button or the tap of a finger, one user is able to transfer money from his account to another. In a simulation of the site, one user was able to pay 14 individuals separately in just 10 seconds.
The creators hope that this technology is the start of building a new form of social media economy. If Belacam’s experiment succeeds, other platforms may adapt to it. But for now, let’s just watch and see.