Who wants to buy a readme?

tl;dr: Agora is a program that lets you sell files in exchange for Lightning Network payments.

We've been busy these past few months building an MVP of Agora. The basic idea of Agora is very simple: It allows you to host files on a website and charge users to download them. It uses the Lightning Network for payments.

The current version is still lacking a lot of functionality. But we're proud to announce that -- as of August 2021 -- an initial prototypical version of Agora is running at agora.download. It gives you a simple file listing, including Agora's README.md, which you can purchase on the site for the low low price of 1,000 satoshis. Payments can be made with any Lightning Network wallet. Some mobile Lightning Network wallets are Wallet of Satoshi, which is hosted, and Muun, which offers self-custody.

On agora.download there's also two other folders, blog and trophies. They both contain the blog post you're reading. It's free to read in blog, but -- as you might've guessed -- can be purchased for the low low price of 1,000 satoshis in trophies.

The Lightning Network is a layer on top of Bitcoin that tries to solve the so-called Scalability Problem. Bitcoin payments are slow to settle and have high fees, making them unsuitable for small, quick payments. The Lightning Network is designed to overcome these problems, and enables microtransactions: Small payments with very low fees that settle instantly. We think that makes it a very good fit for paying for files. Err, I mean, lots of files on the internet are free to download, and that's great! And we don't want to change that. We don't want things that are now available for free to suddenly be locked behind Agora paywalls. That'd be terrible! But there's lots of files on the internet that you pay for in some way, and that way is usually a bit weird. For example you pay by watching ads, or by giving services access to some of your private data. Or by paying with your credit card. (Credit cards are weird, right? RIGHT?) So we think that in some situations it'd be great to be able to use the Lightning Network to buy and sell files on the internet. And that's what Agora is for.

We hope that many people will use Agora to host files for a variety of use-cases, which is why we made Agora open-source. You can head over to github.com/agora-org/agora, download Agora and run it on a server with files that you'd like to sell. Installation instructions can be found in the README.md. (That you can also buy here, for the low low price of 1,000 satoshis.) This is a very early version, so any feedback -- feature requests, bug reports, usage reports and general comments -- are very welcome, for example in the github issue tracker.

Sönke Hahn, 7/31/2021