Jon Bounds and Jon Hickman are to accept the online currency Bitcoin as payment, they have announced, becoming the first satirists in the world to do so.
Initially payments will be limited to their so-called ‘hyperlocal’ project Paradise Circus but they hope to roll it out to other projects including a range of spoof Twitter accounts such as one that live tweets plots lines from episodes of Hi-de-Hi! the popular 1980s sitcom.
“This is historic. Digital currency will be an important part of the future and we are excited to be the first major satirists to accept it,” said Bounds “As one who believes that it is very difficult to monetise wry commentary, this attracts me because if we can call it and be the first satirists to do this then we will get maximum PR attention to our website and maybe someone will buy one of our T-shirts or something.”
Jon Hickman added “Bitcoin is well suited to online transactions. It has no transaction fees and works well for international fans of mostly Birmingham-based satire. Providing this convenience for the cult-following Bitcoin customer is the smart thing to do. Other online humorists will have to follow suit soon, but they won’t get the first mover PR advantage we will get”
Bitcoin is an online currency and payment system which enables the international transmission of funds. It’s a bit like using your debit card really but with the added benefit of producing shallow brand buzz if you can hook your press release to it. Though thousands of merchants worldwide accept this “cryptocurrency” – so called because it uses cryptography to guarantee its security – no one has ever accepted it as part of a complicated meta-joke and art performance.
In a statement, the two bloggers advised against purchasing Bitcoin specifically to pay for their writing, because the way people like to play with the currency speculatively seems “terribly bourgeois”.
They said: “Fans of jokes (as well as the occasional more thoughtful pieces and tossed off memetic content) about the West Midlands should only use this facility if they already have Bitcoin, or can receive Bitcoin donations. There are misunderstandings about Bitcoin and this is a trial move by us, where we approach it as a learning exercise and welcome feedback. Really we’d prefer a cheque or PayPal or maybe just take us for a coffee or something. Nothing artisanal though.”
However, they did not rule out accepting other currencies in future: “Jon H has recently moved house and he’d accept some sort of barter for a new kitchen. We like the look of payments in kind.”