How to stream magic internet money

Streaming money on mainnet, using a stablecoin, completely bankless, & available as a money lego
Dec 17, 20197 min read

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Dear Crypto Natives,

Why not get your salary paid by the minute?

I remember watching Andreas Antonopoulos talk about streaming money using cryptocurrency a couple years back. Cash is a flow, he said. Imagine if we could stream it the way we stream music and video.

The reason we don’t stream money today? The limitations of our banking system. Transaction are lumped together because each requires a fee. You’re paid twice-a-month not twice a second because legacy bank networks don’t support real-time money flows.

But how would things change if we had money in its natural state, as a series of continuous flows that can be aggregated together or split into streams?

“What will that do to human payments, corporate payments, border payments, what will that do to the nation state?” Andreas asked at the end of his talk. He hinted at the possibility that money streaming was on the horizon with the advent of Lightning on Bitcoin.

Fast forward to today.

He was right. It was on the horizon. Just not so much with Bitcoin

We now have a streaming money protocol in production, on mainnet, using a stablecoin, completely bankless and available as a money lego to anyone building in the Ethereum economy. No permission required.

The crypto vision—a peer-to-peer cash, a stable source of value, a streaming money—this vision of a magic internet money system is literally coming alive before our eyes and mainstream still only cares about daily price swings and digital gold memes.

Not us. We know what’s going on. We see the future is bankless.

We’re going to level up on streaming money.

They’ll catch up eventually.



Tactic #16:
How to stream magic internet money

Money streaming means moving funds from user A to user B in real time. Imagine your employer paying you $0.01 every second. Imagine charging subscribers for your software product by the minute. Sablier is a project that makes money streaming possible on Ethereum using magical internet money like Dai. No bank required.

And more than a single project this is the implementation of a new economic primitive. It’s an open ERC standard that could do for digital money streaming what ERC20 tokens did for digital assets.

Today we’ll learn how to create a money stream and withdraw from it.

  • Goal: Create a money stream, send it to a friend, and withdraw
  • Skill: Beginner
  • Effort: 15 minutes
  • ROI: Learn how to stream money for use in a future project

Internet native money streaming

I love the idea of streaming money using crypto. It feels so…internet native. This is more than replicating bank functionality—it’s something banks can’t do at all.

Streaming is an internet native concept.

You can stream video on Netflix.

You can stream music on Spotify.


You can stream money on Ethereum.

ERC1671—the money streaming standard

ERC standards are open specifications for smart-contracts on Ethereum. Some of these standards have become powerful money legos already. ERC20 for example, has become the industry standard for digital tokens—DAI is an ERC20, so is USDC, so is everything else traded on Uniswap.

Anyone can propose an ERC standard.

At the end of 2018 a software engineer by the name of Paul Razvan Berg proposed an ERC standard for money streaming—ERC1671. Thanks to blockchains, money doesn’t need to be sent in lumps. Money can be streamed a function of time by using block timestamps as a clock.

What can we do with money streaming?

Most money is earned as a flow, but in traditional finance it’s paid in lump sums. But what if it was earned in its natural state—as a flow?

We could setup a money stream for:

  • Salaries
  • Subscriptions
  • Rent
  • Parking
  • Lending
  • Utilities

We could setup streams to rent storage by the second in a decentralized file system. We could earn by the minute by renting out our autonomous vehicles. We could invest in a new token project through a 12-month money spigot instead of a large upfront sum—perhaps such a mechanism would have helped tamed some of the ICO excesses.

Maybe streaming money could be combined with other money protocols like lending and borrowing—for instance, perhaps the presence of verifiable cash flows (like a salary) onchain be used to back uncollateralized loans?

🔥Streaming money for uncollateralized loans

To test his project Paul is streaming himself a portion of his salary for the next 90 days.

He’s paying himself in cDAI—so he’s earning interest on his DAI as he’s being paid (cDAI is like a tokenized savings account). But second, and this is awesome—he’s using this money stream to take out the first uncollateralized loan that’s backed by an onchain streaming cash flow. In 2010 someone used Bitcoin to pay for pizza for the first time—something about this reminds me of that.

We could lose less of our opportunity cost to banks and employers by getting paid the minute we earn the funds. We could tokenize the money streams themselves and turn them into fixed income products.

I suspect one of the primary ways streaming money will first manifest is inside other crypto native applications. A crypto accounting solution like Gilded could use to stream payroll and billing. A grant funding solution like Gitcoin could use it to stream monthly donations to open source projects. For profit DAOs like MetaCartel Ventures could use it to stream funds to new investments in time-based increments.

And I’m not even scratching the surface here.

Predicting all the ways a money streaming protocol can be used in the Ethereum economy is impossible. The best applications will be a complete surprise.

Ok, want to try it for yourself?

Setup a money stream

I was blown away when I first saw this protocol at work in the money streaming application Sablier a few weeks ago. Sablier was developed by Paul to showcase ERC1671. It’s an interface that allows you to create, send, and manage a money stream on Ethereum. Not a demo—this is on mainnet.

I watched as Paul opened a money stream that would send me 5 DAI over the course of the next 5 days. It took him just couple clicks.

No bank needed. No fiat needed.

Completely crypto native. Unstoppable.

Paul could pause the stream at anytime. I could withdraw the money as it accrued.


I want you to try it.

Creating a money stream

Requirements: MetaMask, DAI, ETH for Gas

  1. Go to pay.sablier.finance
  2. Log in with MetaMask
  3. Tap the “Stream Money” button
  4. Select “DAI” from the list
  5. Type the amount of DAI you wish to send
  6. Type an ENS domain or Ethereum address as the recipient
    (send to another address you own for a test)
  7. Select “5 days” from the dropdown
  8. Submit the transaction on the blockchain
  9. Congrats! You’ve created a money stream.

Here’s what it looks like:

Creating a money stream on Sablier

Withdrawing from a money stream

  1. Go to app.sablier.finance/stream/YOUR_ID_HERE
    (the id you got after creating the stream)
  2. Tap the “Withdraw” button
  3. Type an amount lower or equal to the maximum amount you can withdraw
  4. Submit the transaction on the blockchain
  5. Enjoy your money!

Here’s what it looks like:

A recipient can withdraw the money as it’s accrued

🔨CHALLENGE: Tell us the coolest things you’re doing with a money stream

Tell the Bankless community the coolest thing you did with a money stream. Here’s mine—over the next 90 days I’m going to stream my kids their allowance in Dai.

👉Tell us the coolest things you’re doing with a money stream

Final Thoughts

Mark this as a first: you just streamed magic internet money without a bank. Because you used Dai on Ethereum the transaction was completely backed by crypto and settled on a crypto network—fully bankless.

This streaming money standard is now available as a money lego on Ethereum. That means other money protocols and applications can use it as a component of their products. I expect to see novel and unexpected streaming money applications in the near future—we’ve just unlocked a powerful new primitive.

Today Sablier is a wrapper for this streaming money standard. You can use it to setup basic money streams for friends, contractors, employees, donations, or even to pay allowance to your kids. Soon I expect you’ll see it as a supported feature of wallets, money protocols, and the Ethereum apps you love.



BONUS: Watch EthHub Ethereum Panel Discussion (special guest Vitalik)
I celebrated the 100th episode of EthHub with my friends Eric and Anthony yesterday. We chatted all things Ethereum on a panel that included Vitalik Buterin, Danny Ryan, and Bankless members DCInvestor and David Hoffman.

Subscribe to the Bankless program. $12 per mo. Includes Inner Circle & Deal Sheet.

Filling out the skill cube

We learned how to use a new protocol on Ethereum for streaming money—that’s part of the money and the protocols layers of the skill cube. This stuff’s amazing, right?

👉Send us a tip for today’s issue (rsa.eth)

Not financial or tax advice. This newsletter is strictly educational and is not investment advice or a solicitation to buy or sell any assets or to make any financial decisions. This newsletter is not tax advice. Talk to your accountant. Do your own research.

Disclosure. From time-to-time I may add links in this newsletter to products I use. I may receive commission if you make a purchase through one of these links. I’ll always disclose when this is the case.

Not financial or tax advice. This newsletter is strictly educational and is not investment advice or a solicitation to buy or sell any assets or to make any financial decisions. This newsletter is not tax advice. Talk to your accountant. Do your own research.

Disclosure. From time-to-time I may add links in this newsletter to products I use. I may receive commission if you make a purchase through one of these links. Additionally, the Bankless writers hold crypto assets. See our investment disclosures here.

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