The World Wide Web Consortium, better known as W3C, is developing the so-called Payment Request API, libraries that could revolutionize payment systems through the browser to open the door to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
This proposal still has a long way to go, but the support of Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple or Mozilla demonstrates the interest that big technology have in implementing a universal payment platform for browsers to pay with euros, dollars, bitcoin or ether would be transparent to the user.
Online payment methods open to cryptocurrencies
The idea was conceived in 2013, but now that API for payments begins to become an increasingly polished and powerful platform because it has gone from the “Low Consideration” to the “In Development” status, something that confirms that in the W3C they are betting strongly on this new approach to economic transactions through a browser.
This API is already being implemented in Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox as well as other “minor” browsers such as the browser included in Samsung phones or the internal browser of the Facebook mobile application. Consumers will be able, thanks to that API, to choose from a drop-down list of payment methods the one that best suits them at all times.
This option, however, could take years to arrive: the W3C standards are famous for taking a long time to develop, be approved and put into operation.
The system could arrive, but it could also not
As explained by Adrian Hope-Bailie, one of those responsible for this development, the platform makes it necessary for currencies and cryptocurrencies to meet certain requirements. Specifically the ISO 4217 with which to validate the entry of users.
The symbols for each cryptocurrency have become a problem for the standardization of a universal payment platform. In fact some like DASH or MIOTA use more letters of the three allowed to identify them.
This ISO standard establishes, for example, the type of three-letter code for each currency, and here only 3 of the 10 most important cryptocurrencies follow those rules, of which the first two are used to identify the country. The USD is the code of the United States dollar, but if we follow that BTC regulation it would be a Bhutan currency.
As he himself explained in his article on Medium, “allowing a website to request payments in a dark currency, such as in airline miles or a cryptocurrency, is a challenge at the level of the security user interface with many questions and not many answers without detailed use cases of the developer communities affected by that scenario. ”
In addition here is necessary the participation of all kinds of businesses, which should implement this solution in their e-commerce services and, logically, choose which currencies (virtual or legal tender) accept as a payment method.
It is expected that next November, Airbnb, Google and Mastercard will demonstrate how this API can be used for payments, and now it remains to be seen if that option becomes standard among our desktop and mobile browsers soon.
Also published on Medium.