Microtransactions on the Web

Feb 07, 2020

I don’t think we’re getting money out of the web. That’s a good thing (unlike politics). To quote Sayaka Kanamori from Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!, pay exists to ensure a quality standard for labor.

A still of a quote from Sayaka Kanamori off the anime Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken.

Being paid for the content we create keeps us honest. In a similar vein to how explicit types in our programs keep us honest. It’s a good thing.

The galaxy brained folks behind the web, although not having the language to describe it yet, predicted microtransaction. Microtransactions aren’t bad! What’s bad is paying $15 to NYT to read a dozen articles a month. Unfortunately, microtransactions tend to be too expensive as they’re implemented today.

HTTP 402 Payment Required.

I applaud Brave Browser’s efforts. I’ve switched to using their browser full time on mobile (not on desktop for… reasons). Content creators should be paid. Content creators should also not be shackled by Big Tech and fear losing their platform due to bad faith advertisers. The money model on the web needs a shift and (inexpensive-)microtransactions are a way forward. I’m excited to see where Brave takes us. Paying consumers with BAT to view ads empowers users to support content creators in a way that doesn’t force the consumer to consider their personal economic challenges when consuming content online. Something that if happens, user’s will take to torrent.

I've made actual USD by browsing the web since I’ve switched to Brave. This isn’t a paid advertisement for Brave. I sincerely believe this is a good effort to improve how web economics operate.

A screenshot of my phone showing my current BAT balance on the Brave Browser at the time of this writing.

Extra: I mentioned not using Brave on the desktop. This is because I use Qutebrowser (paired with an extensive hosts file/Pi-hole for privacy related reasons). I use Qutebrowser due to the built-in support for Vi styled keybindings (the Vimium Chrome extension falls short (if you are not aware, Brave supports Chrome extensions on their browser - I do not endorse using Chrome or Chromium)).