How to ‘Throw Change at People on the Internet’
WHEN JOSH MOHLAND (‘06, Religious Studies) graduated, he knew exactly what he wanted to do with his degree: nothing. Luckily, his lifelong computer obsession and a network of like-minded people provided plenty of job opportunities. “Religious Studies wasn’t a career-based pursuit, it was just really interesting—a few introductory classes and I was hooked,” recalls Mohland. “It’s a great framework for discussing the human experience, and the faculty and students were some of the most passionate, interesting folks I’ve worked with.”
In 2013, Mohland founded the Arcata-based tech company Wow Such Business and created dogetipbot, a service that allows users to “tip” with the digital currency Dogecoin. It’s the online equivalent of dropping a few coins into a street performer’s hat on the Arcata Plaza. Popular entertainment and social networking sites like Reddit and Twitch soon integrated dogetipbot. Suddenly users had a new way to show appreciation and support for the content they enjoyed. “People really liked the idea of being able to throw change at people on the Internet,” says Mohland.
In addition to tossing tips around, dogetipbot has enabled the Dogecoin community to do some eclectic fundraising. The list includes sending the Jamaican bobsled team to the Sochi Olympics (yes…really), subsidizing water wells in Kenya, working with 4 Paws for Ability to provide service animals, and funding an unsponsored NASCAR driver. “We like to be generous, we like to have fun. If we can do something good, that’s awesome,” Mohland says.
Mohland also led an online drive through Reddit and Dogecoin that helped raise over $7,000 for victims’ families and survivors of the 2014 bus crash involving high school students traveling to HSU’s Spring Preview.
Wow Such Business has moved into real money transfers with its latest startup, HoneyLedger. This new payment platform is designed specifically for digital content creators (online artists, musicians, performers, and personalities) and their fans. “Paypal is great if you’re just trying to sell goods,” says Mohland, “but HoneyLedger specializes in voluntary payments like tips and donations. We want to make it easier for fans to get money into the hands of the content creators.”