October 15, 2021
Micropayments may be something of a trending topic in the world of finance lately, but the idea of being able to facilitate small transactions online isn’t entirely new. However, with advancements in fintech and the growing popularity of cryptocurrency, we’re finally on the cusp of developing a feasible micropayment platform.
Before going mainstream, we should acquaint ourselves with the best uses for this emerging technology.
The news should always be available and easily accessible, but the switch to online newsstands has locked many newspapers and magazines behind incessant ads and paywalls.
With micropayments, media outlets would be able to charge pennies per article, giving readers the option to forego costly subscriptions, read what they want and skip the rest.
For every Damien Hirst there’s a number of masterful artists whose work may never find such mainstream success. With a low-cost, reliable micropayment system, consumers could support their favourite artists and works of art, or easily pay for usage rights.
Artists would also be able to engage with patrons directly, rather than losing a percentage of revenue to a third-party site, further securing their financial futures.
When you’re busy saving the world in Call of Duty or League of Legends, the right equipment can be mission-critical. Unfortunately, that equipment is often bundled into unnecessary loot boxes and character packs, disenfranchising gamers who can’t shell out several pounds for every item pack.
With micropayments, developers can generate more regular sales by offering individual items, costumes, or even full upgrades to games, allowing players to avoid expensive expansion packs and pay only for what they need – encouraging them to keep playing.
Several crowdfunding websites have become household names, but there’s another way to fund social projects.
A micropayment system could be used to fund community works more directly and effectively than with existing channels, and without websites taking a substantial cut. People would be able to contribute what they can to the projects they value most.
The life of a travelling blogger is quite romantic, but for every digital vagabond, there’s a surplus of bloggers reliant on sporadic work or ad-based hosting services. With a micropayment system, bloggers could fully unleash their creativity and write about what they really want on platforms that work for them.
Readers would have an easy way to pay for articles and directly support their preferred writers, giving all parties a better and fairer solution.
From TED Talks to online courses, there are a staggering number of ways to educate yourself online – but what if you just need to know how to add a layer to a photo or need one class out of a semester’s worth of content?
Photoshop courses are roughly $50 and a nanodegree from Udacity will cost you $200 a month, but online classes could be segmented with micropayments, allowing people to only pay for what they need.
Micropayments could also greatly improve charitable donations outside of crowdfunding platforms. With such a system, non-profits like Wikipedia would not have to rely on yearly donation drives as their main source of funds, and users could donate more effectively.
Additionally, charities and NGOs could solicit donations more directly, and with lower transaction costs, more money could get to where it is needed most.
Our grandparents may cringe at the thought of paying their offspring for good behaviour, but times have changed. Many parents might really appreciate an easy way to give their children a few pence for pocket money or rewards for helping around the house, building a system that teaches children to save digitally.
Most of us have Netflix and Disney+, but somehow, we still end up relying on Prime Video for the movies the rest are missing. This means paying high prices for a few days’ worth of access.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could pay about a pound to watch the latest blockbuster, or a few cents to get that final track for your ultimate playlist? With micropayments, this system would be more economical for both businesses and consumers.
While this list is a good start, it is by no means exhaustive – and as we inch nearer to micropayments becoming a mainstream reality, the list is sure to grow. How would micropayments make your life easier?
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