When I first started my quest to find censorship free platforms one of the first sites I came across was Lightning.Video. I had never used a decentralized clip site before and while there was a bit of a learning curve, the ability to not only post but write whatever I want was a mind fuck. I had not realized how deeply ingrained the censorship from the credit card companies had become. I could type words I had given up on years ago and post videos that are *banned* by discriminatory banking. The learning curve was worth it and to my surprise clients will do whatever it takes to see content they can't find anywhere else.
Lightning.Video is still a very basic platform, the FAQ and terms are a link on the front page.. I will save you the trouble and link it here. Instead of taking fees per sale lightning.video operates on paying a one time fee at the time you post your video. This is done by scanning a QR code with a lightning wallet, the fee is so minimal it is shocking, it is usually only a few fiat dollars. This is exorbitantly less than paying a 20-60% fee to the clip sites we have grown so used to being exploited by. The level of exploitation between the clip sites and CC companies really hit home as I started posting videos paying only a few dollars total.
Their terms of service also state that they are mostly open source and they do not practice KYC. This is important for SWers because the moment any platforms connect to a bank account we are subject once again to discrimination due to the requirements of a site to be able to take fiat or CC. Bitcoin does not adhere to these rules and neither does lightning.video. I think the most fascinating part of this for me was really thinking about the legality of censorship vs. it just being straight up banking discrimination. Lighting.video does not support illegal content, however you will find illegal mostly means "non-consenting or not of age" opposed to the mile long list of often benign things we get from the fiat platforms we are used to.
Once you sign up for an account you can access your ability to upload content via the drop down menu on the right side of the screen. There you can fill out the title, description and tags. Keep in mind you can use whatever words you want! Bitcoin does not police it's users (within reason, obviously underage or extremely illegal content does not apply here). When determining how much to sell your content for it will ask you how many "sats" or increments of bitcoin would you like to sell your content for. This would be a good time to pull up a conversion calculator so you can price out your content. One concern of selling content in BTC is that the price is variable. This is something I have just come to accept so I tend to price my content here slightly higher than usual despite getting a 100% payout. It is banned content so who cares if it's a little pricey. You can even set a price people have to pay if they want to leave a comment and change the price if BTC fluctuates substantially.
Once you upload your files and click publish it will bring up a QR code. This is where it is important to be able to differentiate between what a standard transaction and a lightning transaction is. I go over this in my e-book that you can download for free here. In order to check out you need to be using a lightning compatible wallet. Lightning allows the transaction to happen instantly instead of waiting for confirmation. You will need a lightning wallet to publish and get your pay outs. Some common lightning wallets are: Cash App, Strike, MUUN, and Bluewallet. Clients will also require a lightning wallet in order to buy your content.
After your invoice is paid your content will be live. They require you to upload 10 pieces of content to be able to create a store front. This allows you the ability to have a custom lightning URL. Clients scan the QR code and the video plays in browser. I personally like this feature as I don't like that clients can download our content files however I have had a few complaints because in order to view it again they have to bookmark the clip page and revisit it to watch it in browser.
My over all thoughts on lightning.video is that it is very simple, straight forward and basic solution to our banned content problems. Clients don't have to sign up for anything other than a lightning wallet that is totally ambiguous to what they are purchasing. It is not only censorship free but it is also anonymous for you and whoever is purchasing your content. There is no documentation, no verifying of ID, no scanning your face in to facial recognition software. Stumbling across lightning.video at the start of my quest opened the door for me to truly grasp how decentralized platforms can transform our industry and grant us the freedom of creativity consenting adults deserve to have. The ease of use is alright, although for people completely new to Bitcoin it may be difficult to navigate and involve signing up for a lighting specific wallet as well as figuring out how to do a lightning invoice. Either way, content being labeled *banned content* is on it's way out.
*All reviews will be periodically updated as platforms change. This review is not sponsored.