In my quest for Bitcoin’s killer app, I watched David Schwartz, CTO of Ripple, being interviewed by Fortune’s Jeff Roberts on YouTube. The interview was recorded on June 12th, 2019 at the Future of Fintech conference in NYC. For those interested in Bitcoin’s nuts and bolts, this was a very interesting discussion. As far as killer apps were concerned, Schwartz touches on some very promising technologies in the works that may be killer apps.
The killer app would be the application that launches Bitcoin into the stratosphere by making Bitcoin indespensible, giving anyone using it such a definitive advantage over those that don’t that Bitcoin becomes a must have, go to asset. There have been many proposed killer apps but so far none have stepped up. I’m seeking that application that makes Bitcoin impossible to live without.
If you were living in Venezuala right now you might feel Bitcoin was your only guard against the rampant, runaway inflation. By Venezuelan standards, Bitcoin’s valuation barely fluctuates. If you were a drug dealer or holding someone’s computer for ransom, Bitcoin might also be your goto application. But David Schwartz mentioned an application which I felt is worth further investigation — micro-payments.
Micro-payments are very small payments, sometimes as little as $0.0001 (one ten thousandth of a cent) or less. For some applications they are very useful but impossible to manage. For example, have you ever run up against a pay-wall when trying to read an article from a publication you don’t subscribe to and you forego reading it because the $19.95 per month or whatever the cost is wasn’t worth it for this one article. Besides, you weren’t really interested in a subscription, anyway. It would have been nice to get charged $0.99 for this one page article, and leave it at that. But in order for the publisher to charge you that $0.99 with a credit or debit card, there would be a $0.35 minimum charge plus between 2% and 6% fees from the publisher, and several forms to fill out for you, the reader, before you could read the article. Since those type of transactions take a day or so to post, there will also be enough follow up work that the small publisher would opt NOT to offer the small fee. In fact, few if any do.
If that $0.99 transaction were made using Ripple (XRP) cryptocurrency, the transaction could be accomplished totally anonymously, with a few cents in fees, in seconds. The website could be charging you per column inch read, or any other smaller scheme which would be served by micro-payments. Let’s say you read 18 column inches at a cost of $0.0016. MasterCard would charge the publisher $0.365 cents for you to pay this $0.0016. The publisher would lose money with every visitor. With cryptocurrency you would pay $0.0016 plus $0.00012 in service charges. In other words, you’re paying next to nothing for Ripple payments. It’s all done safely and securely and in a matter of seconds. If this capability is built into your browser, as it will some day be standard on all browsers, micro-payments will be nothing more than a key stroke.