World Wide Web Creator Tim Berners-Lee Leads W3C to Establish Online Payment Standards Including Bitcoin

Bitcoin Magazine
World Wide Web Creator Tim Berners-Lee Leads W3C to Establish Online Payment Standards Including Bitcoin

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) started review of a draft Web Payments Working Group Charter. The Web Payments Working Group will launch by the end of September after the end of the review on September 15, start working on an overall Web payments architecture, and prepare key topics for discussion at the next Technical Plenary/Advisory Committee meeting (TPAC 2015) in October.

The W3C, led by World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, is an international body that develops open standards to ensure the long-term growth of the Web. The Web Payments Interest Group acts as the overall coordinator at W3C of a vision for Web Payments.

“The Web Payments Working Group is not creating any new digital payment schemes, but rather integrating existing and emerging schemes more efficiently and securely into Web applications,” states the W3C announcement. “A standardized message flow should make it easier to automate payments, which will improve the overall security and user experience of making payments on the Web.”

The Web Payments Interest Group recently updated its Web Payments Use Cases 1.0 working draft. The Group also published a FAQ with more information about the anticipated benefits of the future standards, a diagram illustrating the high-level message flow, and some examples of different Web payment approaches.

The W3C Web Payments documentation makes only sparse references to bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, which are only mentioned as possible options alongside other online payment means such as Google Wallet, Apple Pay, PayPal and iDEAL, a payment method that enables consumers to pay online through their own banks. The Use Cases draft includes a short section dedicated to cryptocurrency payments with bitcoin and ripple, with a scenario that outlines an ideal payment experience using bitcoin, or a bitcoin-like cryptocurrency.

Internet pioneers such as Ted Nelson, Marc Andreessen and Berners-Lee himself thought that the Internet should have a built-in framework for micropayments. Berners-Lee tried to include micropayments in Web protocols, but the idea hasn’t been implemented so far.

“In the late 1990s Berners-Lee tried to develop a micropayments system for the Web through the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C),” reported Walter Isaacson in his 2014 book “The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution.” The idea was to devise a way to embed in a Web page the information needed to handle a small payment, which would allow different electronic wallet services to be created by banks or entrepreneurs. “It was never implemented, partly because of the changing complexity of banking regulations,” noted Isaacson.

The preparatory work of the Web Payments Interest Group and the forthcoming work of the Web Payments Working Group can be seen as gradual steps to implement Berners-Lee’s vision. However, it’s surprising that the official W3C documents produced to date make only incidental mentions of bitcoin, which is the only form of Internet money and “Internet native” payment system that exists, works, effectively implements one-click Internet payments, and is rapidly gaining recognition and partial acceptance from the financial system.

Isaacson reports that Andreessen mentioned bitcoin as a good model for standard Internet payment systems. “If I had a time machine and could go back to 1993, one thing I’d do for sure would be to build in bitcoin or some similar form of cryptocurrency,” Andreessen said.

A possible explanation for the more timid approach of the W3C is that the organization prefers to distance itself from the more controversial aspects of bitcoin, including the possibility of private and semi-anonymous transactions, and wait for “sanitized” versions of bitcoin.

Photo Southbank Centre / Flickr (CC)

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Glidera Launches the First White Label Bitcoin Buying Service for Wallets and Merchants

The bitcoin space just got a bit more user-friendly as Glidera, a Chicago-based exchange and wallet provider launches the first service to allow web-based businesses to carry an API that will allow users to buy and sell bitcoin directly from their site.

By simply clicking on a button, users on sites such as Overstock or Expedia will be able to buy and sell bitcoin from their wallets without going through an exchange or other third-party provider if those sites integrate Glidera’s new service.

“Much of our motivation in developing this new service was to further promote a decentralized bitcoin ecosystem – giving users increased control over their bitcoin and more independence from third-party institutions,” Glidera CEO David Ripley said in an interview with Bitcoin Magazine.

Unlike existing buy/sell services, Glidera never takes custody of a customer’s funds, but merely enables the transaction, ensures that it is “legal” and meets any regulatory requirements, and is 100 percent secure, the company says.

Glidera prides itself on its world-class security system that ensures users funds remain safe at all times.

“We see many fantastic wallets, applications, and developer tools in the bitcoin ecosystem, but nearly all do not enable users to buy and sell bitcoin,” Ripley noted. “Glidera lets any wallet developer offer the ease of use of an integrated conversion service.”

At launch on Friday, Glidera’s service will offer U.S. dollar/bitcoin for both buying and selling. The company has plans to expand to other digital currencies and is seriously looking to carry Ethereum’s currency, ether.

“We serve as the bridge between the traditional financial system and the bitcoin ecosystem, allowing developers to focus on what they do best: building great applications with a great user experience,” added Ripley.

“Glidera also provides a revenue-sharing program for wallet providers and application developers, providing a continual stream of revenue instead of a one-time sign-up bonus from other services.”

Glidera recently won best startup at the Inside Bitcoins convention in Chicago and was selected by Techstars Chicago, as one of the world’s premier startup accelerators.

Bitcoin developers can now begin using the Glidera development kit to build integrations into their applications.


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