Accepting Donations

Curious if there might be interest in setting up a way for writers to accept donations using a solution such as BitPay and offering it as a Pro feature.

So far I’ve mostly been interested in letting writers charge subscription fees, and potentially tying it into perks like getting updates via email (a la Substack). There are a few reasons for this:

  • Anecdotally, I think subscriptions could provide more reliable income for writers than one-time donations. For donations / tips to work well, there needs to be social pressure to do so, and that’s difficult to do online.
  • Larger publications might find it useful (like the ones Medium booted last year)
  • It’s unique and fits our niche – like “Patreon for writers”

Still, one-time donations and BitPay integration aren’t off the table. I’d love to hear what everyone else thinks about this, as well.


Makes sense. That would be great!

There have been a bunch of Patreon alternatives popping up over the past couple of years that came into momentary prominence due to the Sargon deplatforming and subsequent exodus of creators who value freedom of speech including Harris, Rubin, and Peterson.

There are several that are only facilitating crypto payments, which, of course, scares off the normies. I think SubscribeStar has a good balance. They accept both fiat and crypto. After being dropped by PayPal (and possibly Stripe?) they use a payment processor that (I’m guessing) usually works with porn sites.

Gab, another highly censored site, went with a processor dealing with firearms sales:
And, one of the crypto processors for bitcoin.

So, if you are open to accepting controversial writers, and want to be censorship-proof, you’d have to go with either a porn or firearms payment processor for fiat. And, hook up a crypto payments as an additional option.

Perhaps also consider accepting Monero so people can subscribe privately and nobody can trace it.

We’ll likely use Stripe, since they make it easy for us to accept payments on behalf of others, do payouts, etc., and we’re already using them. That’ll mean the best experience for readers, which is my primary concern.

For the crypto side, we’ll see what demand is like and how easy we can make it. Recurring subscriptions will be tougher to do, and as you mention, it’s not usable for most people – so if anything it’ll happen further down the line.

Otherwise, payment processors cutting writers off isn’t something I’m concerned with today, as the writers this feature will be aimed at aren’t publishing controversial enough things to worry about that. Focusing on that particular threat vector would put us in another business entirely, which I’m not really interested in getting into.


Controversial writers are likely to make their way onto sooner or later and want to use the subscriptions feature whether you aim it at them or not.

Perhaps having the writers abide by the Read Community Guidelines as a condition of using this subscription feature would help protect your company and platform from being banned by Stripe for being perceived as a Brand Risk.

Whereas, if you only subject its use to the Platform Guidelines, you might be giving writers enough leeway to cross the line in the eyes of Stripe and their financial partners.

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Didn’t consider integrating donation with but that could be awesome.

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Now that Letters has been released, do you guys have any further thoughts on a Substack kind of paid membership subscription or donations functionality?

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