A technology in two parts
Web Monetization, in its current form, is a technology in two parts.
The first is Interledger, a protocol that enables the transfer of money over the internet. The second is Web Monetization itself, an Interledger-powered API that enables users to stream tiny payments to participating websites as they browse the web. Those who have been involved in the web community for a while may be tempted to exclaim that micropayments are old news. They’ve been repeatedly tried and (outside parts of Asia) have never amounted to much. Why should this time be any different?
One answer to this has a great deal to do with the unique properties of Interledger, a payment technology modelled after the internet and therefore uniquely suited to not only live natively within it—but work alongside the browser to enable streaming payments. In this section, we introduce these technologies, explain how they currently work, and what may be just around the corner.
If you’re already familiar with these technologies, feel free to skip to the next chapter, which peers into the future using fiction to reveal three speculative scenarios that explore a different web monetization business model and its impact on the future of the web, and it's users.