Back in the late 90s, I was enamored with the promise of micropayments. In fact, I still am. For me, a truly frictionless micropayment based system would allow content creators and consumers to transact directly over increasingly small units of value. Imagine if liking a Facebook post actually meant that you were transferring $0.01 to the author of the post. You were doing more than simply liking something. You were assigning value to it. And compensating the creator. In an evolving information based economy, a way to discretely monetize thought would be fundamental. It would allow us to be compensated for our ideas. Our influence. Our passions.
The promise of frictionless micropayments is a world in which everyone gets paid to do what they love. I’d like to live in that world.
Perhaps more importantly, as technology continues to make traditional jobs more and more unnecessary, we need to be thinking about how best to employ our populace. Frankly, it seems to me the high unemployment is here to stay unless the economy can successfully undergo a major transition. Additionally, the unnecessary mediation of bankers in the economy have driven up costs and placed unnecessary risks into our system. The economy shouldn’t be a casino. Shouldn’t value be earned rather than skimmed through arbitrage and fees? One might think that the most stable of economies would be, then, a frictionless exchange of value between individuals. No middle men required. And that’s where peer-to-peer currency enters the equation.
To be completely honest, I don’t know very much about bitcoin, the blockchain or cryptocurrencies. I understand the basic contours of peer-to-peer currency but I hadn’t felt the need to dive deep. That was until I read this post by Maciej Olpinski about the intersection of advertising and micropayments . In it, he explains: