PaySwarm has the potential to fundamentally change the way payments are made online. But why is this one different from the umpteen other funky web based payment innovations? Firstly, it is free. Open source, patent free and royalty free. Second, it
is a web standard that is being adopted by the World Wide Web Consortium payments group, a forum backed by players such as Google and Apple (but no banks, interestingly). Thirdly, this is the model that led to the adoption of HTTP for web browsing, SMTP for
Manu Sporny chairs the W3C group and he pitched today at the Innotribe session at Sibos. Despite the obvious disadvantage of being introduced to a roomful of bankers as a bloke who goes skydiving in a hand-stitched monkey suit (honest), he very quickly
grabbed the attention of everyone in the room.
It is being adopted early by FireFox and offers one-click payment embedded in a web browser. The early adopters will be based on micropayments, and for them the benefits are obvious – frictionless in-browser payment of a few pennies for online content,
and very low risk on both sides of the transaction.
The challenges for them will be twofold. Firstly, it relies on decentralised, portable KYC identity. This is absolutely fine for micropayments but will quickly attract a lot of challenge once values start to rise. Manu suggested that governments and large
corporates may be willing to validate that identity but my experience tells me that this is much harder to achieve than he thinks.
The second challenge is around clearing, where a lot of these ideas stumble. At the moment they are clearing through crypto currencies like Bitcoin and Ripple. This is not a viable long-term solution, but if you get a large global bank involved, and a
few large ACHs, then it could really take off.
Watch this space. I’m very impressed and I think this one has legs.