Bitcoin and Global Standards to Realize Web’s Full Potential
The W3C is working with Apple, Google, Facebook and other e-commerce giants to radically improve online payment processes.
These improvements recognize the amazing opportunities blockchain brings to online payments for buyers (payers) and merchants (payees).
According to W3C and its strategic partners, “Fragmentation of the payment landscape is limiting the full potential of the web, including lack of standards in areas such as:
- the high-level flow of a web payment;
- the programming interfaces between the various parties (e.g., between user agent and web application);
- the messages exchanged between these parties over the web.”
Secure, One-Click Payments
To address these limitations, the W3C is designing a global standard that will allow users to enter their credit cards and other sensitive data into any web browser just once. Afterward, the browser can automatically use this information for all subsequent transactions.
Enhancing security is also one of the standard’s primary goals. Specifically, to protect sensitive information, the standard will make use of tokenization. The web browser must generate a one-time payment token to avoid sending credit card, shipping address, and other payment details. This way, sensitive data is not visible to any third-party.
Moreover, the new standard will require that the data fields in online payment forms be filled invisibly, allowing one-click payments everywhere.
In this regard, the W3C and its Web Payments Working Group are developing a “Web API to allow merchants (i.e., websites selling physical or digital goods) to easily accept payments from different payment methods with minimal integration. User agents (e.g., browsers) will facilitate the payment flow between merchant and user.”
Bitcoin and the Payment Request API
These payment methods will include bitcoin. As shown in the Payment Request API, W3C Editor’s Draft dated September 20, 2016: “The methodData sequence contains PaymentMethodData dictionaries containing the payment method identifiers for the payment methods that the website accepts and any associated payment method specific data.”
In this connection, the draft explicitly mentions Bitcoin.
Google, among the standard’s architects, has already introduced the utility in its newest version of the Chrome browser.
Chrome 53 for Android Payment Request API makes the checkout process easier and faster, said developers. According to Google, the Payment Request API “Provides standardized imperative APIs for developers to obtain users’ payment preferences in a consistent format.”
This Payment Request API securely saves relevant user data, and stores it in the browser. One there, it is ready to be used automatically every time the buyer interacts with an e-commerce checkout page.
Bitcoin Removes Intermediaries Completely
Unfortunately, even with the new W3C standard, intermediaries will continue to dominate the online payment process, increasing payment transaction costs.
On the other hand, bitcoin users can remove intermediaries altogether, significantly reducing transaction fees. Indeed, by paying with bitcoin, online one-click shoppers can avoid most fees card issuers and banks charge.
It’s encouraging that the W3C and most influential e-commerce players are considering the role of Bitcoin in transforming the web and the new economy.
It is imperative that the internet of the future and the new economic order be based on a decentralized, secure, and borderless digital currency, such as Bitcoin. Including Bitcoin allows the execution of frictionless, transparent, pseudo-anonymous and secure payments.
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