Comedian Louis CK has once again shown his entrepreneurial nous by becoming the first major comedian to accept bitcoin as a payment method. The news follows CK's decision to bypass ticket outlets by innovating a direct-to-consumer model, as well as his pioneering of distributing content directly to fans via his website.
No official announcement has been made about accepting bitcoin, though several of CK's shows can now be purchased with bitcoin through the payment processor BitPay. Visitors to the comedian's website can pay between $1 (£0.64) and $85 for audio-only versions of shows that include Live At Madison Square Garden, Live At Carnegie Hall and a video version of Oh My God.
"We have the price set to $5, but you can lower it to $1 or raise it to $85. That's the maximum, because beyond that, I don't want your crazy money," CK said on his website.
CK, real name Louis Székely, first experimented with new technologies to distribute his work in 2011, when he financed his own stand-up comedy special and sold it on his website in a DRM (digital rights management)-free format.
Within 12 days of the show going on sale, CK had generated $1m. Since then, other popular comedians like Aziz Ansari have adopted this model.
CK explained his decision at the time: "Look, I don't really get the whole 'torrent' thing. I don't know enough about it to judge either way. But I'd just like you to consider this: I made these files extremely easy to use against well-informed advice.
"I was told that it would be easier to torrent the way I made it, but I chose to do it this way anyway, because I want it to be easy for people to watch and enjoy this video in any way they want without 'corporate' restrictions."
The decision to accept bitcoin could be another way to cut out the inefficient and costly traditional payment platforms that incur transaction fees, such as the 7% to 10% charged by PayPal.