The Interledger Foundation’s Grant for the Web program announces 28 recipients from our most recent call for proposals.
These projects shared a vision for practical activity to catalyze Interledger-driven business models for the web that expand financial inclusion.
Funded projects range from an exploration of gift cards for the internet driven by Web Monetization to experiments with new business models for sustainable, free trade coffee production in West Africa. Grants range from $9,800 to $100,000 USD.
Projects were submitted through a public, global call for proposals launched in July 2021. A panel of independent judges made funding recommendations on the 150 applications we received. The successful grantees in this cohort come from 12 different countries.
Read more about all Grant for the Web’s awardees in the Web Monetization community space.
TechVillage Trust, Zimbabwe
The global game development ecosystem has been rapidly evolving so as to meet the trending market demands. Central to this progression is the adoption of web monetization models which offer far greater business and revenue generating opportunities as compared to traditional game monetization models. Yet, in Zimbabwe, local currency is not accepted by Google Playstore or other international payment gateways. This severely restricts the potential paying user base, preventing aspiring and professional game developers from sustainably generating revenue.
Using a mixed method research approach, Game On will develop training workshops to equip game developers with the best practices of adopting and utilizing Web Monetization, empowering Zimbabwean developers and their users to finally be able to transact and be fully active in the global digital community. This decentralized approach ensures that their ability to transact equitably and at the lowest cost possible given that most of these will be micro-transactions. That is true democratization of economic activity, a right that most developers easily enjoy in other communities across the world, but which Zimbabwean developers ( in Zimbabwe) only dream of.
Team includes: Takunda Chingonzo, Prince Madziwa and Tatenda Mapfumo.
Flat Squirrel Productions, USA
Web Monetization for the Arts is an education and outreach project that listens to and informs arts organizations in the United States about Web Monetization so that they may develop more effective and sustainable online content practices. Our project researches and surveys classical music and performing arts groups to discover their current understanding of Web Monetization, meeting them where they are, and then writes and delivers educational materials in order to create sustainable and equitable practices and deconstruct myths around free art.
Team includes: Natalie Axton, Jacob Slattery, Matt Mankins
In a world where technological and societal change is quick, capacity for personal and professional development are more important than ever. While the web has democratized access to a plethora of educational resources, there is a relevance gap between what is offered via top down educational content providers and people who wish to learn something in the context of their daily practice. In fast-moving, innovative domains - like the Web Monetization community - technical systems and the knowledge required to contribute are often so dynamic that structured learning resources aren’t widely available.
We want to empower members in the Web Monetization community with a safe and accessible space to learn with others as we grow into a healthy, social and connected ecosystem. This project will support the community of current GftW grantees in their social learning needs, using the Gradual skill sharing process and web-based tooling.
We will integrate a skill sharing process and tool into the Grant for the Web cohort community, in order to equip grantees with a space to express any topics they’d like to learn and share while they are working on their projects. The resulting learning sessions, led by members of the grantee community, might relate directly to the Web Monetization API and its implementation, or to any broader topics.
Team includes: Philo van Kemenade, Gunnar de Jong
New Media Rights, USA
We will provide Grant for the Web grantees (and other monetization innovators) an option to get pro-bono legal support to encourage the safe and wide distribution of their content or technology projects.
Niche legal services like ours are increasingly expensive ($400-600 per hour) and in-demand. The under-served creatives and entrepreneurs who we work with genuinely want to make their projects compliant but often don’t have the funds to hire a lawyer. As a result, they may choose to “hope for the best” thereby jeopardizing the rights of their users as well as putting their own projects at risk.
We have found that when creators do not understand the extent and limitations of copyright and trademark laws, it acts as a chilling effect to creativity. Lack of information often encourages creators to distribute their work to a more limited audience for fear of exposing it to greater scrutiny and potential liability from a larger audience.
Encouraging content creators to follow the law and ethics means that they will use their grants to be part of the “solution,” as opposed to the “problem.” We want to create an ecosystem where lengthy and expensive privacy and IP-related suits are no longer necessary because the projects have attended to these issues in advance.
This project is a continuation of our previous Grant for the Web grant. There was high demand for our services from the community under the previous grant and we were able to provide over 350 hours of services to Web Monetization projects.
Team includes: Art Neil, Erika Lee
Serving as a case study and roadmap for other online small business retailers, this project seeks to use Web Monetization as a vehicle for driving the potentiality of new/existing customers of MICOPEIA.com to exclusive online content, while also opening a pathway to growing a Web Monetized online community.
MICOPEIA is an online wellness brand that relies heavily on education and community engagement in order to sell products. This project will help introduce and engage customers with Web Monetization by building an entirely new Web Monetized website using the Wordpress Coil Web Monetization plugin, to offer evergreen herbalism webinars, educational courses and exclusive content. This project will offer free trial Coil subscriptions to new users to build MICOPEIA’s unique Web Monetized community.
This project builds on work previously funded by Grant for the Web.
Team includes: Rashon Massey
Copia Institute, USA
This project is a content series exploring the concept of Web Monetization, and how very different the internet might look if Web Monetization was widely deployed. This series will be posted on Techdirt (and freely shareable, repostable anywhere), starting with a look at how there was, from early on, an intent for Web Monetization to be a part of the world wide web, as is clear from the creation of HTTP response status code 402: “Payment required.”
The content series will then explore the history of Web Monetization, what has failed in the past, what has potential today, and where there are real opportunities to create a better internet. It will include interviews and profiles of projects that are exploring Web Monetization today, along with graphics, and other shareable content.
Team includes: Michael Masnick, Gretchen Heckmann
Black Web Fest In, USA
The pandemic disproportionately impacted creators of color. According to a report by the "Americans for the Arts," Black, Indigenous, artists of color had higher rates of unemployment than white artists in 2020 and lost a larger percentage of their creative income.
Black Web Fest x Web Monetization will address these issues by teaching Black creators about the benefits and utility of Web Monetization. During the project, organizers will engage the Black Web Fest community through a film competition, a virtual marketing course, and digital publicity course. All the courses will be recorded, transcribed, and available for playback on Blackwebfest.org.
Team includes: Victoria Coker, Leiana Spooner
Online corporations making vast profits are exploiting those whose work and skills they benefit from without payment. From individuals creating online content that popularizes platforms, to community moderators helping keep their users safe, and open-source developers maintaining the infrastructure on which they depend, much of this work is going unrewarded.
The Web Monetization API and Interledger Protocol open up a future of online payment that could benefit these workers. The question is how to scale this technology in a way that realizes this potential in practice for the worse off. Answering this means exploring an array of difficult questions in turn: do creators, curators, and moderators of content agree over the future of Web Monetization? Should we monetize online work that is currently done out of goodwill? How do we ensure that technology doesn’t reproduce existing inequalities in whose content is deemed more valuable?
This project asks: what do those in the UK who engage in online work for low or no pay think is a desirable and fair future for the monetizing of online work? Specifically, for self-employed creators and those engaging in voluntary ‘digital civic labour’ (e.g. forum moderators). Through conversation with them, we can understand how a future rollout of the Interledger Protocol and Web Monetization API could reflect the needs of those who stand to gain the most from these.
Team includes: Ciaran Cummins, Alex Krasodomski, Akshaya Satheesh.
Tattle Civic Tech, India
This joint project with Monk Prayogshala aims to understand the possibility and effectiveness of web based monetization as a mechanism to promote sharing of better quality information in online spaces. This project is a collaboration between a group of psychologists and technologists who are trying to build better interventions against online misinformation.
We’ll share our learning on the effect micropayments administered through Interledger Protocol have on the quality of content people share.
As part of this project we also plan to build and share the source code of a web service that people could self host in their communities. This would enable anyone to create an online content platform that rewards its community members for sharing and engaging with their content without tracking their data.
Team includes: Denny George, Tarunima Prabhakar, Arathy Puthillam, Hansika Kapoor
Edanuso Consult, Nigeria
This project seeks to monetize the use of Completely Automated Public Turing Test to tell Humans and Computer Apart (CAPTCHA), a web authentication system, during online transactions. A CAPTCHA system developed by the team will be used to test various Web Monetization models. The team will integrate Web Monetization API into the CAPTCHA and deploy on a website. A rewarded product demonstration and survey campaign will be done to allow users interact with the monetized CAPTCHA system. Data will be collected on user’s activity such as keystrokes, response time and any related security issues. The analysis will provide insight into monetization of authentication systems such as CAPTCHA.
Team includes: Seyi Osunade, Taiwo Olanrewaju, Israel Alagbe
Stichting Waag Society, Netherlands
In our increasingly digitized society, online spaces are oftentimes owned – or exploited – by large tech companies that seem to disconnect from shared public values. We have become largely dependent on their digital services, and digital platform or content creators are bound to their terms. The standard is ‘free’ platforms built on advertisement income. In other words, the rights of users are violated by exploiting their personal data. These disruptive changes in our socio-economic landscape demand research into new financial models that are based on public values.
Research conducted for MicroDonor, a project previously funded by Grant for the Web, revealed that beneficiaries need more structural support than irregular donations. Furthermore, subscriptions have regained popularity as a means of committing audiences, but run via large, centralized parties with untransparent revenue streams such as Substack and Survey Monkey. MicroMemberships builds on this earlier work by examining whether and how MicroMemberships models contribute to a more fair, open and inclusive Internet.
Team includes: Robert Goené, Quirine van Eeden
Henry Crown Institute of Business Research at the Coller School of Management, Tel Aviv University
The project addresses the challenge of raising funds for social causes via the internet, emphasizing issues and solutions relevant to users from disenfranchised communities and minority groups. While the internet has primarily democratized the act of fundraising, most activists struggle with “converting” users from clicks to monetary support for their content and causes. In the typical situation, creators will appeal for financial aid as part of or alongside their content. However, Web Monetization saves the creators from the emotional labor in making constant direct appeals or advertisements. We propose that, as can be hypothesized based on the self-consistency theory, users (viewers) who adopt Web Monetization are becoming more loyal to social and civic causes that interest them. As a result, grassroots initiatives and activists raising funds for social change could benefit from creating socially aware content and encouraging users to become members of Web Monetization through Coil.
This project builds on work previously funded by Grant for the Web.
Team includes: Lior Zalmanson, Yotam Liel
Big Bad Con, USA
Story Synth is an open source web platform for making, playing, and sharing storytelling games. It supports a variety of game types inspired by tabletop roleplaying games. This project would add new Web Monetization features to the Story Synth game platform and grow its community engagement and user base through a microgrant program awarding $300 grants to game designers from marginalized backgrounds.
By making Web Monetized games with Story Synth, designers gain another income stream and expand their audience. Players will be able to access more games than they would if they spent an equivalent amount on existing platforms.
Team includes: Randy Lubin, Sean Nittner
Andrey Torres de Lima, Brazil
PipeWebMonetization will facilitate the insertion of Web Monetization in the development of websites by leveraging WordPress, creating the possibility of users to leverage their existing businesses and websites by adding a possible new form of income through Web Monetization. The project will be successful when WordPress users, be they power users or not, can easily implement Web Monetization in their businesses.
Team includes: Andrey Torres de Lima, Bruno Luis Panuto Silva, Gabriel Muniz Piva
Attention-based podcast monetization is being explored within the tech community but no solution has been widely adopted. Most podcasts are monetized through advertising or subscriptions through platforms like Apple and Spotify which help producers earn revenue while also taking their own cut, tying listener’s consumption to their proprietary platform. What is needed is another option for podcast monetization that is as open and standards-based as podcasting itself and that connects support from listeners to the productions themselves.
This project will implement Web Monetization for podcasting in our OSS publishing system and embeddable podcast player. We will work with several acclaimed podcasters across our portfolio to pilot WM functionality for podcasters.
Team includes: Danika Ragnhild, Andrew Kuklewicz
A* Digital, USA
Sharing content is easy, sharing paid content is hard. It's always frustrating to realize that the person you've shared a link with is blocked from viewing paywalled content. Gib is a gift card for the internet. Using the Gib payment handler, users will be able to share prepaid links to Web Monetized content, so that their friends, family, students - anyone they desire - can participate in the best experiences the Internet has to offer. Our project aims to build a technical prototype of the Gib payment handler using the Rafiki package and Interledger protocol. As part of this integration, we will test and document the features of Rafiki that Gib uses, as well as contribute bug fixes and other pull requests to the Rafiki codebase as necessary.
This project builds on work previously funded by Grant for the Web.
Team includes: Alexander Mozeak, Adelya Latifulina
Super Mega Systems, Australia
gFam.live is a platform that enables content creators to earn for their content. This is enabled through Web Monetization, each creator can provide their own payment pointer and through XRP tips via the XUMM wallet.
Building on work previously funded by Grant for the Web, this project will see gFam build further functionality for creators and consumers. It will also include content creation and marketing efforts to bring more users onto the platform and educate the public on the benefits of Web Monetization and decentralized social media.
Team includes: Adam Waring, Elspeth Chu
Traditionally, blogs and educational content in the design industry have been openly accessible for anyone on the web to learn from, no matter their background. With the cost of design education inaccessible to many, the open web enabled a thriving self-taught generation of designers and developers. Throughout 2016 to today though, there's been a rise in centralized publishing platforms optimizing for paywalled business models that create a barrier to free learning.
Prototypr is an independent online UX/UI design publication with 2k+ authors and 6k+ articles published over the last 5 years. Topics we cover include design, prototyping, coding, and future technologies such as AR/VR, AI and 3D. In a community that has knowledge sharing at its core, Web Monetization gives us the ability to reward creators, whilst keeping the web open. Prototypr contributors are industry professionals who value the reach and distribution of their articles just as much (or even more) than earning money from what they write.
This project will develop Prototypr as an inclusive Web Monetized publishing platform for designers, that rewards contributors whilst democratising design education by providing openly accessible, quality content across different cultures.
Team includes: Graeme Fulton, Sophie Clifton-Tucker, Tai Chiahu Ann, Joel Benjamin, María Espí.
Ivonne Zulema Prado Barros, Colombia
The problem we want to solve with our project is the lack of video game content using Web Monetization, an issue that exists due to the difficulty and the technical requirements involved in creating them (which makes it difficult for young people and people that live in third-world countries to start creating and monetizing games).
Although successful platforms such as Roblox and Rec Room have managed to make it easier to create games for people new to video game development, they still require a high learning curve for creators and also specific devices for certain types of content that limit access to people in countries with fewer resources, sometimes marginalizing them or indirectly neglecting them (sometimes because those platforms don't provide a safe environment).
With this project we want to set a new way to monetize in the Web Monetization landscape specifically aimed at video games and user generated content. We will create a Web Monetized platform built on Unity, that allows users to export WebGL content with Coil integration.
Team includes: Ivonne Zulema Prado Barros, José Roberto Ardila García, Tania Paola Tejada Buitrago.
Jakari Sherman, USA
Company XV is a virtual dance collective that seeks to innovate how arts patrons support the company and its artists. Patrons will be able to subscribe to content similar to streaming platforms like Hulu or Disney+. A portion of their subscription cost will cover Coil membership that we help set up. Each of five artists will moderate a fan page where patrons can support them directly by interacting and viewing content through the fan page.
Company XV Dance seeks to democratize the relationship between artists, dance companies, and patrons. This model offers artists the chance to maintain a salary, while supplementing this income through web-monetized interactions with fans. Additionally, they can leverage the power of social media to bring fans into the Web Monetization ecosystem. Collectively, we believe this will increase the overall financial capacity of fans to support artists, convert casual content consumers to arts patrons, and encourage the evolving demographics of arts patronage.
Team includes: Jakari Sherman, Alorie Clark, Bethany Gambino
Sum Assembly, Canada
Web Monetization aims to solve the problem of who gets paid, how much, and why, but remittance back to a content creator is exceptionally difficult and expensive. At present, there are a handful of options for creators to be paid, but we believe those are too cumbersome, slow, and riddled with fees and delays.
We believe that content creators will want to value their content, and realize that value in their own currency (assetCode). As the number of people across the planet using Web Monetization increases, the profile of a potential user also changes. Currently, users of Web Monetization are “tech-savvy,” and/or willing to put in effort to make payment work for them. In the near future, we expect that profile to shift toward users who expect services that “just work,” and toward users who are unbanked. We aim to tailor payout solutions that are direct, intuitive, and localized, in order to usher forth a more inclusive future of Web Monetization that empowers more people from more backgrounds.
Team includes: David Benoit, Tim Beck, Christina Kinney (Advisor)
Elementari is an educational K-12 online platform to read, write, code, collaborate, publish, and remix interactive stories using professional illustrations and sounds. When stories are published, all contributing artists are automatically credited and notified.
Elementari Web Monetization enables us to develop and scale Web Monetization on the website elementari.com. We will implement the Web Monetization flow for artists to monetize their artwork. When a story is published, we will calculate the distribution between all artists for the book. Then when the published story is viewed, there will be Probabilistic Revenue Sharing.
Next, we will expand Web Monetization to our educator contributors. Educators can create or assign a lesson plan for their students. We will develop a lesson plan library so any educator can contribute a lesson plan for the community to use and be able to monetize their work whenever a lesson plan is used.
Finally, we aim to develop something similar to Cinnamon Boost where we can distribute our profit shared revenue from sales of Elementari licenses to contributing artists and educators.
Team includes: Nicole Li, David Li
The Brick House Cooperative, USA
This project will allow the Brick House Cooperative to develop more partnerships for Briet, a WordPress plugin that will enable any publisher to create an ownable digital artifact compliant with digital library lending programs. We are working with the Open Library and the Internet Archive on this initiative. The result of this work will be vastly more digital publishers who can (a) control the rights and archiving of their media, (b) develop a new revenue stream from libraries acquiring their digital works to archive and lend, and (c) an unlocked value proposition for reader-supported projects, in that their donations can help publishers to produce new works, and libraries to acquire them permanently.
Web Monetization will help us offer these benefits to readers, publishers and libraries in a flexible and forward-looking way.
Team includes: Maria Bustillos, David Moore, Jacob Ford
Knowledge commons are incredibly important tools for academics, researchers, activists, and social change builders, but it is difficult to find a way to financially sustain these projects, and the traditional advertising model common on the web isn't compatible with the goals of these thought leaders. Most academic research and knowledge is locked away behind various academic journals or paywalls, which inhibits the sharing of ideas across channels, and many grassroots organizations publish their research in support of movement building but later find their work used by larger NGOs, with no proper attribution (or funding) flowing back to them.
Mysilio will build a prototype for an open-source platform for managing a shared knowledge commons that is financially sustained through passive Web Monetization. Readers, research groups, grantmakers, etc can pay a subscription to access a community's social knowledge graph, and the subscription fees will be split and attributed to the individual creators whose content is being consumed through the platform.
This project builds on work previously funded by Grant for the Web.
Team includes: Tani Olhanoski, Travis Vachon, Ian Davis, Dr. Antara Haldar
The ITADI Digital Sustainable Farming Initiative will design and pilot the first direct to consumer farm that leverages the power of Web Monetization to prototype solutions addressing issues of transparency, sustainability, and equitable market access that plague coffee and other cash crop farmers around the world. This project will utilize a three part strategy that includes dynamic storytelling, limited-edition creative collaborations, and technologically upscaling a remote farm to become digitally enabled. In addition, the project will utilize Interledger Protocol to establish a digital marketplace where our consumer base and global community of supporters can purchase ITADI coffee directly from our farm through Web Monetized transactions enabled by ILP. This farm-to-table curated coffee platform will develop unique Web Monetization integrations into www.itadicoffee.com & www.itadibody.com, whose established user bases can benefit from the enhanced utility that Web Monetization can offer. By creating a multifaceted digital platform with multiple points of entry that offers rich storytelling / content, commercial / retail access, and artistic engagement directly from ITADI coffee producers and the creatives that support them, this project will establish a unique ecosystem that can serve as a new fair trade model for connecting conscious consumers with sustainable coffee farms and communities.
Team includes: Tabi Bonney, Andrea Gagne
Soul in the Horn Enterprise, USA
In the technology and music spaces, Women, Black, Brown, Asian, Indigenous, and LGBTQ communities have been underrepresented and under-served with far less access to equal resources and salaries than their white male cis counterparts. We want to give our community the opportunity to use cutting edge resources and technology to further advance their careers and artist profiles. In addition, we want to see our community receive the financial dues they deserve.
www.soulinthehorn.com is home to hundreds of DJs and artists from around the world. We will test Web Monetization and Interledger Protocol on a chosen few DJs and musicians, well-known and emerging, that have a growing audience of fans and followers.
We will create artist profiles on our website, so that when a fan clicks directly on that artist’s profile micropayments immediately begin to transfer from fan account to artist account. We want to test whether we can direct micropayments to user specific accounts within the same web domain or if we need to create separate websites for each artist.
Team includes: Eleni Maltas, Derick Prosper
Tribe of Noise, Netherlands
To monetize music on the web you need to own the music or receive the written consent from rights holders to monetize their content. Today, only a small number of people and businesses dictate how music is (traditionally) monetized online and who gets paid. The unfairness of the current system is well documented by reliable sources. So if we want to research and unleash a resilient payment infrastructure and promote inclusive and sustainable monetization models for musicians and the music sector we have to start with artists, 100% in control and willing to experiment with new business models. We have access to many of them.
In our initial GftW funded project, we did extensive research amongst thousands of stakeholders. For this project, we will select interoperable tools, content, relevant user groups from both our global music communities and co-develop a fair, economic monetization framework. Obviously this will include today’s Web Monetization models. On top of that, new payment products for tipping, paying contributors and subscription models (mandates) will be welcome too. With the millions of visitors and contributors on Free Music Archive we have a good chance to accelerate the adoption of Web Monetization.
Team includes: Hessel van Oorschot, Meghan Lacle, Mischa Berger, Marko Oliveira Roca
After the pandemic and with a large number of immigrants arriving in other countries, the problem occurs that these people need to send money to their families in the countries of origin, but the remittance market is currently very expensive, and the problem of using 100 % cryptocurrencies is that many countries of destination of the money there are few exchanges to be able to convert it to a currency to be used.
In the same way, there are small businesses that are not accepted in payment platforms because they do not have adequate information or are not incorporated as a company, which reduces the possibility of accepting electronic payments (except for direct bank transfers) or as they are produced in Latin America, the payment gateway market in a monopoly in certain countries (such as Chile).
PeerPay will be a Web payment gateway dedicated to transactions between people or from people to small businesses without the possibility of integrating other payment methods in their platforms due to not being banked.
Using Interledger, PeerPay will be a platform that through API allows small businesses to integrate payments on their websites and accept their own currencies, regardless of the currency with which their customers pay. In the same way, it will allow transactions between people, reducing transaction costs between them.
This project builds on work previously funded by Grant for the Web.
Team includes: Néstor Campos, Marcela Leiva