Getting paid for providing content online isn’t simple, and as the ad-based economy continues to collapse, pretty much everyone is looking for alternatives. One problem: While the web is great at moving images and audio and files around, it has a real problem with money. Coil, Mozilla and Creative Commons hope to change that with a native web payments standard and $100 million to get it off the ground.
“Web monetization” is the name of the game here, not just generally but also the specific new web protocol being proposed. It’s meant to be an open, interoperable standard that will let anyone send money to anyone else on the web.
That doesn’t mean it sprang fully formed out of nowhere, though. It’s based on a protocol called Interledger pursued by former Ripple CTO Stefan Thomas in his new company Coil.
“We were basically applying the concept of internet protocol to payments — routing little packets of money,” Thomas told TechCrunch, though he was quick to add that it’s not blockchain-powered. Those systems, he said, are useful in their place, but end up bogged down in upkeep and administration. And services like Flattr are great, he said, but limited by the fact that they’re essentially run by a single company.
Interledger, he explained, is a protocol for securely and universally connecting existing payment systems in a totally agnostic way. “It supports any underlying payment structure, bitcoin or a bank ledger or whatever, and any connection you use, satellite or Wi-Fi, it doesn’t care. We were working on it for a long time, since like 2015, and last year were like, well, how do we get this out into the real world?”