Millions of users rely on social media platforms like Twitter to connect with friends, get news about what’s happening in the world, and share their opinions with all who will listen. Some new changes happening with Twitter’s interface will allow users to do even more, for better or for worse.
Thanks to the new Strike API integration announced earlier this month, Twitter users now have the option to offer monetary tips to participating users from right within the app. This unlocks a new channel of compensation for influencers with thousands of followers, and they’re sure to be thankful for this extra revenue stream.
What exactly is the Strike App? How is it being used on Twitter? Is the integration of this new feature a positive change, or are certain individuals right to be suspicious? Read on below for the full story.
What is the Strike API?
The Strike API platform is an interface that allows users to conduct person-to-person monetary transactions using a decentralized payment processor. Essentially, it lets people send each other money online and well as to buy, sell, and HODL Bitcoin. This can be used for transactions between friends; however, it is more commonly applied as a means for content creators to receive monetary compensation from their fans.
While the platform integration will make this feature available to all Twitter users who sign up for Strike and enable “tipping” on their Twitter profile settings, the people who are likely to get the most use out of it are influencers with thousands of followers receiving tips from their fans, as well as people in other countries with less access to services like Western Union.
What is Decentralized Payment Processing?
Strike uses a decentralized payment processing system to handle these online transactions. What that means is that the processing system uses a blockchain data structure rather than a traditional centralized model. This is better for financial security and helps mitigate persistent issues like fraud, identity theft, cybercrime, and other common setbacks.
The use of this innovative data structure is becoming more and more popular with applications intended for executing financial transactions, and for good reason. This often puts users’ minds at ease that this system securely protects their financial information and that the interface is safe to use. Middlemen and gatekeepers, so prevalent in traditional 3rd party payment services like bank wires, are non-existent in this environment – and so are their fees.
How is Strike Changing Social Media Sites like Twitter?
Strike has partnered with Twitter in order to offer peer-to-peer payments using Twitter’s rails, instead of building a separate, closed-system network from scratch. Twitter gets to be first to the party in what is likely to catch on everywhere else soon. Eligible users will be able to add an icon to their profile that others can click on to send them tips.
While this is certainly a useful source of extra income for influencers with large followings, it is a further sign of the increasing commodification of social media.
What Does This Mean for Social Media Influencers?
Of course, there is nothing but upside for popular influencers with audiences. Experts expect these will have the most to gain from the Strike API platform integration. Through fostering parasocial relationships with thousands of strangers on the Internet, these influencers put themselves in a position to fund their projects, podcasts, etc. via tips from well-meaning fans.
This feature isn’t expected to be very popular for average person-to-person transactions due to the presence of other payment applications already available on the market. But the fact that it’s free, and that anyone in world with a Twitter account can use it, means people in countries with unstable financial systems are likely to take to Strike immediately.
Is This Better Than Other Platforms like Patreon?
Strike is far from the first application that allows fans to offer financial gifts and monetary compensation to their favorite content creators and influencers. Other platforms like Patreon have been offering this service for years. So how is Strike different?
Well, for one thing, Strike uses Bitcoin rather than traditional currency. But here’s the kicker, users can send and receive money on Strike in the currency of their choosing, Strike just converts it to Bitcoin during the transaction. If John in New York wants to send money to Jane in Tokyo, he can send USD from his account, it’s immediately converted to BTC, and Jane can take her payment in Yen, BTC, USD, or any other supported currency.
However, they will still need to make a Strike account and download the Strike app to use this feature.
How Do Twitter Users Feel About the Change?
The opinions expressed by Twitter users about the new program integration range from enthusiastic to skeptical, largely based on their own understanding of how it works. Influencers tend to view the change positively as it offers them additional income, while regular users don’t have much use for it yet.
Are There Any Security Risks Associated with Strike API?
Any security concerns are offset by the fact that Strike uses a secure decentralized payment processor. It is true that all APIs are potentially at risk for malicious activity. Hacking and other forms of cybercrime have been persistent issues for many programs like this, and it is a situation that still requires an effective solution.
What Are the Implications for the Future of Social Media?
For those with enough rabid fans to make some extra cash, this feature seems like a positive step in the right direction. However, others are concerned that as social media platforms become more and more commodified, there’s a possibility that they won’t remain free to use forever. While Twitter has not expressed any plans to make this change, the new tipping feature and the addition of pay-to-view content are not reassuring to those holding this reservation.
Where Does This Leave Us?
The new Strike API integration on Twitter is a great resource for influencers and underserved communities. However, many users are wary of security concerns associated with APIs, and plenty of people have reservations about the future existence of free resources like social media platforms. One thing seems certain however: the move to decentralization of monolithic legacy systems is happening before our eyes. The future is open source!