With New Blockchain-Powered Podcasts, Listeners Pay for Content They Want

Written by Ann Brown

Blockchain continues to disrupt various industries. While some experts think the next blockchain takeover will happen in social media, it has already influenced the podcast arena.

There’s a new blockchain-powered podcast that allows listeners to pay for the content they want. ZigZag was launched by Manoush Zomorodi and Jen Poyant and actually focuses on their journey starting their own media company, Stable Genius. So far the first episodes of the program have touched on how Stable Genius got started, entrepreneurship, technology, the 411 on blockchain, and even motherhood. Using blockchain might forever change the way and why people podcast.

Zomorodi and Poyant are not newcomers to digital media. They helped shape a tech program unlike any other with “Note to Self” at the New York Public Radio station WNYC, AdWeek reported. Zomorodi is a former BBC reporter and producer, and Poyant is the producer behind the news show “The Takeaway” and pop culture and comedy hits “2 Dope Queens,” “Sooo Many White Guys.”

“Note to Self” became extremely popular. Since its 2012 premiere (its original name was “New Tech City”) it developed into an often-interactive program on how emerging technology was changing people lives in a real way. The show really seemed to connect with listeners. So people were surprised when Zomorodi and Poyant decided to step away from “Note to Self” and WNYC.

In late 2017, they started a media company called Stable Genius Productions. The name is a reference to a January tweet from President Donald Trump, “and winks at the people who figured Zomorodi and Poyant were out of their minds for giving up their stable jobs for the uncertainty of entrepreneurship,” AdWeek reported.

The first project out of Stable Genius is the ZigZag podcast. “‘ZigZag’ is also the first podcast to launch on Civil, which is already supporting almost a dozen news organizations in its effort to establish an alternative business model for journalism. Civil uses blockchain technology, in which encrypted, secure information (like articles, for instance) are archived across a vast decentralized network of users’ devices to deliver independent news that isn’t beholden to the whims of publishers or to advertising dollars,” AdWeek reported.

Civil plans to debut its own blockchain-based cryptocurrency. Users can pay small amounts to media they want to consume. This means Civil won’t be dependent on advertising. Right now, however, “ZigZag” does run ads. But Zomorodi said they will only run ads from companies that align with the show’s ethics.


“For us, it’s about sustainability—companies who are keeping the long-term in mind for their customers, the planet, their businesses,” Zomorodi told AdWeek.

“Launching something new is scary, but it’s also fun,” Zomorodi said. “And we know that so much of the hard work is yet to come.”


About Ann Brown

Ann Brown has been a freelance writer for more than two decades. Her work has appeared in CocoaFab, Black Enterprise, Essence, MadameNoire.com, New York Trend, Upscale, Moguldom, AFKInsider, The Network Journal, Playboy, Africa Strictly Business, For Harriet, Pathfinders, Black Meetings & Tourism, Frequent Flier, Girl, Honey, Source Sports, The Source, Black Radio Exclusive, and Launch. She studied journalism at New York University and has her B.A. Born in New York, Ann lived in Praia, Cabo Verde, for nearly a decade. She created “An American In Cabo Verde,” a Facebook community.