Skubit Launches Bitcoin-Based Digital Comics App

Stephen Yagielowicz

LOS ANGELES — Skubit is set to launch its Skubit Comics app this weekend, unveiling the Skubit in-app library, which allows users to anonymously purchase comics (and other digital content) online.

Founded on the principal of privacy, Skubit is an Android in-app billing system that employs Bitcoin as its currency of choice. There will be two versions of the Skubit Comics app — an explicit adult version along with a mainstream version that will launch on Google’s Play Store on March 28.

According to Skubit founder Shane Isbell, launching the app on the Play Store will push Google to decide if they will allow the selling of digital goods via Bitcoin within their Play Store.

“With their existing [terms and conditions], Google allows selling of certain digital goods (like comics and downloadable music),” Isbell told XBIZ. “Skubit could be pulled if Google deems Bitcoin an “insecure” payment system.”

“This will be interesting,” Isbell adds, “as Bitcoin is considered more secure than existing credit card merchant processors.”

Google’s decision on the mainstream app’s availability on the Play Store will not affect the adult version of the comics app, which will be available for download from the Skubit Market, and thus not affected by the search giant’s whims. A publisher of adult comics has already been lined up to provide content for the adult app’s initial launch.

Isbell says that manga apps are very popular on Mikandi’s popular Android app store, so he decided to float the idea for directly selling comics via Bitcoin among adult publishers.

“I received immediate interest, although they have some level of caution to see the idea proved,” Isbell explains, noting, however, that when he floated the same idea for selling Android apps through Bitcoin, he received no interest from developers.

Despite some developers’ lack of vision, Isbell sees the Skubit in-app Bitcoin system eventually being used by third parties to sell all sorts of adult content on mobile, as it is not restricted to selling comics — this was simply an underserved niche to start with, where Bitcoin could help.

Since Skubit places such great emphasis on privacy, Isbell integrated his BitID authenticator module into the service, using private keys to generate IDs for the user to login to websites and mobile apps.

“I consider this one of the groundbreaking features of Skubit, because it doesn’t require user names, passwords or emails,” Isbell told XBIZ. “I think users in the adult space in particular would prefer this type of authentication, which also allows the user to throw away and recreate identities easily.”

Skubit’s launch version includes an extended protocol known as tidbit, which is superior for mobile use.

“I timed the flow on this new system as four seconds from hitting the button to having a user created and logged into the mobile app,” Isbell explains. “Using Bitcoin for purchasing also doesn’t require the user to provide any personally identifiable information. So a combination of tidbit authentication and Bitcoin means the user doesn’t have to provide any information across the system.”

This fast, easy and anonymous transaction process reflects the direction that cryptocurrencies and mobile marketing are headed — although this road is paved with challenges for the adult industry.

“If the adult industry wants to tap into Bitcoin they will need to consider why many people use Bitcoin: they do not want to provide personally identifiable information every time they make a purchase,” Isbell concludes. “I know this throw-away customer identity flies against traditional practices of making money through affiliate networks and revenue shares, where knowing the customer for life is important — so it will be interesting to see how all this evolves.”

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