The Web continues to transform the way humankind communicates and builds our world. At the heart of most of these endeavors is the exchange of value. Gifts, attention, and payments each play a role in the ecosystem that we call the economy. Until now, there has been no open and universal way of sending and receiving payments on the Web through your browser. This is why you still have to reach for your credit card or log into a payment site when purchasing something over the Web. There is a better way.
There are a number non-interoperable solutions today; PayPal, Amazon Payments, Flattr, Google Checkout, Ven, Bitcoin, BankSimple, Square, and KickStarter are a few examples of these sorts of ground-breaking technologies. The Web Payments initiative at the W3C will live at the intersection of many of these emerging technologies and movements; mobile payments, alternative currencies, crowd-sourced investing, next-generation banking, and electronic commerce.
Digital Bazaar is leading the launch of a new Community Group at the W3C to tackle Web Payments. The purpose of the Web Payments Community Group is to create working technologies that enable universal payment for the Web. We will be integrating many of the technologies that exist today, some of which are listed above. The goal is to create a safe, decentralized system and a set of open, patent and royalty-free specifications that allow people on the Web to send each other money as easily as they exchange instant messages and e-mail today. The group will focus on transforming the way we reward each other on the Web as well as how we organize financial resources to enhance our personal lives and pursue endeavors that improve upon the human condition.
If you are interested in any of these topics please join us. You can create an account and then join the community group. You can also just join the public mailing list to see how this technology develops. We will be having monthly teleconferences that are open to the public and will have most of our discussion on the mailing list.
The Web Payments work at W3C will be based on working technology – specifically PaySwarm – and will enable the following exciting new Web-based business models:
Money and the Browser
The technology supports micro-transactions as well as automated payments and could easily be integrated into the browser. Having somebody pay you through a browser should be an easy, one-step process. Similarly, performing one-click purchases on any website requires a standard, open technology. Reaching for your credit card or logging into a payments website every time you want to spend a few pennies or a few dollars is far from ideal. Technologies developed through the Web Payments group at W3C will address these issues.
Open Payments in Blogs
Enabling people to make a living by creating, writing and publishing via the Web is important. The Web was supposed to empower authors, artists and content creators. In a way it has made content distribution much easier but the collection of payments remains difficult. The Web Payments solution will enable quick and easy payments via popular blogging platforms like WordPress and Drupal. Collecting funding to create new stories, recipes, art and news will be as easy as submitting a post.
Open App Stores
Currently, creating great Web applications based on HTML5 requires Web developers to distribute their applications through a proprietary App Store or depend on website advertising to make money. Developers often don’t host their applications on their websites because an easy payment solution is non-existent. Integrating payments into a Web App is often expensive, requires a great amount of expertise, and is time consuming. Openness, security and ease of deployment is of paramount importance to the Web Payments group.
In order to make Web developers successful, payments must be universal and trivial to setup and use on any website. Since the Web Payments solution is not proprietary, developers can choose their payments provider. This ensures healthy competition in the marketplace without requiring the developer to switch payment APIs.
In-game Payments for Tablet and Mobile Games
Games are increasing in popularity, as are proprietary in-game payment solutions. One of the goals of the Web Payments work is to enable Web-based game developers to transact a wide range of payment types on mobile devices using an open platform. Subscriptions, one-time payments, and micro-payments are supported in order to provide flexibility for large and small tablet and mobile game development studios.
Crowd-funding Grass-roots Businesses and Political Movements
Creating change in the world requires consistent, focused effort on the task at hand. Often, this requires the funding to do research, travel, buy supplies, build things, and otherwise develop an idea to its conclusion. The Web Payments platform enables this sort of activity in an open way that will allow people to gather or contribute financial resources to achieve their tasks in very small or very large payment amounts.
Join and Follow the Web Payments Group
When the world uses an open standard, such as those that the Internet and the Web are built upon, the friction to interact with one another almost disappears and the effect that a single individual in a crowd can have becomes a very powerful thing. Join us by creating an account and then joining the community group. Help us make the world a better place.