Are Micropayments a Viable Business Model?
Cointelegraph speaks to experts from Safe Cash Payment Technologies, Inc, Bitfortip.com, SatoshiPay.io, PopChest.com and Fuzo to learn their views on micropayments.
Nicholas Negroponte, head of the MIT Media Laboratory, predicted in 1998 that we were going to see, within the next year, an extraordinary movement in the web of systems for micropayments. Nowadays, Andreas Antonopoulos is still trying to raise awareness among people about the possibilities offered by the micropayment system.
Walter Isaacson, CEO at Aspen Institute, writes:
“A flourishing digital economy based on easy payments might also encourage the invention of new forms of media: collaboratively created role-playing games, interactive online plays and novels, and new ways to combine art and music and narrative.”
Chris Kitze, CEO at Safe Cash Payment Technologies, Inc, thinks that micropayments may be a viable business model as consumer behavior has changed. The existing credit card rails can only be used for funding a stored value account that is debited in tiny amounts, while the blockchain can do this quite easily.
Micropayment offers possibilities for content producers
According to Panagiotis Pollis, founder of Bitfortip.com, micropayments were first conceived in discussions in the mid 90's. Several companies were very interested on the idea, and they even began to develop platforms for them. But back then, the suspensory factor was the cost of handling such transactions as they were too low, and that wasn't profitable for the financial institutions.
Pollis continues by saying that there is also an old Stanford paper that says that after research regarding the safety of the transactions, complications with a variety of different software (download, authenticating users etc.) and the concern of user anonymity being tracked even more with their spending, they deemed micropayments not as beneficial as initially thought to be. Then Bitcoin came into the picture, and everyone was backing the idea more than ever before.
Panagiotis Pollis explains to Cointelegraph:
“We see micropayments being used online. Publishers have come to a clever solution to engage a wider audience allowing the sale of just one article. People are not interested in purchasing an entire subscription. Another way that they use is providing an ad free content in exchange for a small fee.”
Mobile game developers have also taken advantage of micropayments by providing freemium games. In the end, they are not only using ads, but also generating more revenue with this business model. Music artists also benefit from micropayments by not forcing anyone to buy their entire latest album, but simply just one track. So the number of their potential customers is increasing.
“My website bitfortip.com also takes advantage of micropayments by giving the incentive for people to search something online in exchange for a bitcoin tip. Eventually, it is certain that micropayments will catch on and they will prove to be a viable business model.”
Investors are excited about micropayments
Meinhard Benn, founder of SatoshiPay.io, explains that it is too early on to say if micropayments are viable or not. It certainly is a topic that every web user can relate to, and that investors are excited about, because of the high growth potential a micro or nanopayment company has.
Benn says to Cointelegraph:
“We have plans to offer payment tools for images, file/media downloads and streams. More services will appear that use Bitcoin in the background, without the user even realizing. We recently received a total €360K to make this happen.”
Micropayments allow a smooth video-on-demand experience with no signups
Valerian Bennett, founder of PopChest.com, says that PopChest is a blockchain-based media distribution platform that allows content creators to get paid directly, in real-time, for every video view.
“With micropayments, you can charge as little as $0.10 per view. It gives an engaged audience the smoothest possible video-on-demand experience with no signups, no subscriptions, and no commitment. PopChest covers 33 countries of a total 750 videos from 355 publishers.”
The critical issue is identity
Leon-Gerard Vandenberg, co-founder and CTO at Fuzo, admits that the industry is very broad, and Fuzo focuses on mobile devices.
Smart meters could be put in any device, and the entire web could be refactored to work on nano and micropayments. NFC for transport ticketing and web API applications inside content portals are typical models. Bitcoin and blockchain can cover the entire value chain with a new model of competition like 21.co 's Marketplace, or Lighting Network's Payment Channels.
Vandenberg says to Cointelegraph:
“We hope to receive a piece of value via nano- or micropayments. The critical issue is still identity. Will the anonymous transactions lead to the strengthening of black markets? We think that Fused Mobile Identity has an important role to play!"