After being in development for around 9 months, we are proud to announce the first release of the PaySwarm Developer Sandbox. This release includes a working implementation of the PaySwarm universal payment platform, an OAuth-based REST API, and a WordPress plugin that allows articles to be sold from any WordPress blog in a standards-compliant manner.
PaySwarm enables people that create digital content such as blog posts, music, film, episodic content, photos, virtual goods, and documents to distribute their creations through their website and receive payment directly from their fans and customers. The platform is an open web standard that enables Web browsers and Web devices to perform Universal Web Payment. PaySwarm fixes many of the problems with rewarding people on the web – it reduces and nearly eliminates transactional friction. The developer tools that have been released today are a demonstration that the technology works and is ready to be used by developers building exciting new applications based on this open, patent and royalty-free technology. The rest of this article will discuss what has been released today and the road map for the next six months.
The PaySwarm Developer Sandbox
The PaySwarm Developer Sandbox is a complete implementation of a PaySwarm Authority. In order to spend money on a PaySwarm-enabled website, one must have an account on a PaySwarm Authority. The PaySwarm Authority is responsible for collecting money and disbursing it to the people that sell digital assets. All PaySwarm authorities are capable of performing micro-accounting, which is the process of tracking very small monetary payment amounts – as small as 1/100,000th of a United States cent. In time, there will be a number of PaySwarm Authorities run by people that you trust with your credit card information. Since PaySwarm is an open standard, anyone may implement a PaySwarm Authority or client software.
The PaySwarm Developer Sandbox allows software to be developed against a functioning PaySwarm Authority, letting developers focus on the parts of the system that they care about implementing. You may visit the developer sandbox and use the site to create accounts, manage money and perform test purchases via the demo WordPress site.
The PaySwarm WordPress Demo
The PaySwarm Developer Sandbox website has a fairly limited set of functionality at the moment and isn’t really that exciting – financial management websites rarely are very exciting. What is more exciting are the applications that can be built on top of PaySwarm. One such application is for-profit blogging software based on WordPress.
The WordPress Recipes Demo uses a standard installation of WordPress to demonstrate what a for-profit recipe blog might look like in practice. The basic premise is that a blogger could depend on the recipes that they create and publish to make a modest living. The ingredients and general description of the recipe is provided, but in order to see the directions on how to make the recipe, a small fee must be paid. This creates a nice give-take balance between the chef and the reader. It allows the reader to know whether they would like to know more about the recipe by perusing some basic information, whether or not they have the ingredients on hand, and a general idea of what is involved in the recipe. This approach also allows the chef to entice the reader to purchase the recipe without giving away the entire recipe for free, thus enabling them to make a living from their craft over the Web.
If you would like to see PaySwarm in action, this is the best place to start.
The PaySwarm Developer Wiki
Finally, we have released the PaySwarm Developer Wiki. In time it will be filled with reams of information about developing for PaySwarm. At the moment, it contains an overview of how PaySwarm works, a basic PaySwarm FAQ, and an introduction page that will be growing weekly.
The most important thing to remember about PaySwarm is that it is being developed by a community of technology enthusiasts, backed by a company named Digital Bazaar. That means that anyone can participate in the development of the standard and that the standard is going to become a commercially backed system at some point in the near future. In the next six months, we will be gathering community input and hope to launch a commercial system within the year. We are currently working with a very well known standards-setting organization to increase our operational transparency and get a larger community of developers involved. There are many ways that you can participate, or just lurk and follow progress, here are just a few of them:
- IRC: #payswarm channel on FreeNode
- Follow the PaySwarm project leader on Twitter: @manusporny
- Follow the PaySwarm project on Twitter: @payswarm
- Mailing List: PaySwarm Development