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Web Monetization - The Ecosystem

dfoderick profile image Dave Foderick ・3 min read

Web Monetization for the Streaming Dev (2 Part Series)

1) Web Monetization - The Ecosystem 2) Web Monetization - What it is, What it ain't

Greetings, everyone. This post begins a series on Web Monetization and serves to document my learning process.

Background: I have been involved in crypto currencies for a couple years and I am a developer. I have always been interested in paid content using micro-transactions but have not looked at the efforts of the W3C until recently.

First, the motivation for Web Monetization is important. We know the advertising model is broken and how web tracking affects our privacy. We can do better with a paid model instead of a so-called "free" model. "If you're not paying for the product, you are the product", said someone. If you think about it for a moment, you realize that if you pay for a subscription then you own the subscription. We can use web monetization technology and cryptographic principles to work in our favor instead of against our interests.

So lets get right to it by listing a few things you will need to know. The following assumes you are a developer who wants to learn how to experience web monetization for yourself.

Caveat: I am still learning about the ecosystem so please correct me if I am wrong about any of these details.

Web Monetization is "A JavaScript browser API which allows the creation of a payment stream from the user agent to the website". Yes, that means you pay for things over the web. You need a web wallet that holds your funds to pay the web site for content. Many business models are possible but simplistically you pay for stuff instead of getting tracked and having ads thrown at you. Since it is not yet a standard you will also need to download an extension for your browser (called Coil).

Summary: You will need a wallet with funds in it to pay the web site and you will need to visit a web site that has implemented the Web Monetization API in order to spend your funds. Details at bottom of this post.

Interledger is the group that seems to be backing everything in this endeavor. It is a payment system that facilitates the transfer of funds and conversion between denominations. It likes the XRP token but will apparently do atomic swaps between crypto tokens and fiat. Not to be confused with an exchange.

Summary: When you want to get sophisticated then go read up on the Interledger documentation to build back end payment systems. Depending on what you are doing, you may be able to do everything you need with just the Web Monetization API and not have to deal with Interledger.

Coil.com is a friendly consumer facing site that makes it easy to get started experiencing web monetization. It will guide you through the steps of creating and funding a wallet and finding sites that are monetization enabled.

Before developing you should probably experience things from a user perspective so I leave you with these short steps to get started.

1) Create an account at coil.com and become a member.
2) Enter your credit card info and start a monthly subscription for $5 per month. There are things called a faucet that will probably give you some free XRP tokens but I have not used any XRP faucets yet so I cannot recommend any. Faucets could be a topic for another post.
3) Make sure to install the Coil extension.
4) Explore! There are some web sites available for you to spend the funds from your wallet. Blogs, Videos and Games. As you visit the sites and you authorize their use, the site will become Apps in your Coil Settings.

That's it for now. Later.

Web Monetization for the Streaming Dev (2 Part Series)

1) Web Monetization - The Ecosystem 2) Web Monetization - What it is, What it ain't

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Discussion

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Great start, @dfoderick .

Note: to start you as the creator don't need to have a Coil membership (although that would be nice in-order to give back when visiting the content of other creators who are also adopting the Web Monetization service.

You could also simulate testing via the test-web-monetization site.

Enjoy the rest of learning adventure. And the hackathon.