Mozilla is running an article today on the Mozilla Hacks blog on Web Payments with PaySwarm. It is the first article in a 3 part series on PaySwarm. This article explores the Web Keys identity solution that PaySwarm uses. A number of code examples are provided in the article to help translate the theory on Web Keys into practice. It is primarily intended for Web developers that want to integrate PaySwarm into their own websites.
Web Payments Community Group
The purpose of the Web Payments Community Group is to discuss, research,
prototype, and create working systems that enable Universal Payment for
the Web. 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
No reports yet published. The Chair is responsible for publishing reports. More about publishing…
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.
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.
An open source Python implementation of a PaySwarm client is now available on github. The client is capable of registering with a PaySwarm Authority, generating public/private keys, digitally signing and registering assets for sale, registering listings, establishing Payment Sessions and performing purchases.
There are two purchase examples included in the source code. The first is just a regular asset purchase, the second is a time-based purchase of radio spectrum (for Smart Radio use).
The WordPress Recipes Demo uses a standard installation of WordPress to demonstrate what a for-profit recipe blog might look like in practice using the PaySwarm standard. 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 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 and/or banking 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.
The beta for the W3C’s Web Payments Community Group launched today and we’re pretty excited to get this work started! The first several weeks will focus on gathering people from around the web that are related to Web Payments. This includes people from the Future of Money project, Bitcoin, Ven, RipplePay, Agile Banking, Open Transact, and a variety of other groups centered around making payments easier on the Web. The end goal is to make rewarding people via the Internet as easy as sending an Instant Message or an E-mail. We want to make payment a core part of the Web’s architecture and in order to do that, we need great technologists, designers and writers to get the message out.
Please bear with us as we work out the kinks in the community group software. Feel free to join the group and contribute to the mailing list. The public launch is in a few weeks. We’ll be very busy getting the preliminary set of documents explaining what we’re trying to accomplish here up and on the Web: http://payswarm.com/