Some of the top tech companies in the world have created an API for internet browsers that will soon allow people to buy various products online with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin instead of traditional payment methods.
Online shopping has been a revelation ever since businesses started expanding their reach to the internet.
It made the entire experience of buying products an extremely convenient one.
Until now, traditional payment methods such as paying through with your credit or debit card were the norm. But that standard may be changing soon.
Cryptocurrency is slowly rising throughout the world as an alternate form of making payments. Every day, more and more countries are opening themselves up to Bitcoin and other digital currencies.
Countries like Russia are initiating plans to integrate the implementation of such alternative payment modes in a variety of different businesses and institutions, from hospitality centers to restaurants.
There was a time when the world scoffed at the idea of digital currency, but that has all changed.
The creation of this API will soon make it possible for people to make online transactions with Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies.
How it All Started
The entire idea was started by W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) along with companies like Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple and Mozilla.
It all began in 2013 when W3C decided that having a payment system that would be currency-agnostic would enhance the user experience for people all over the internet.
The traditional online payment methods like using credit cards and debit cards have an inherent risk to them.
In many ways, a credit card number is like a password for your bank account and each time you do an online transaction, you are effectively sharing that password with others.
The news about this project was announced recently, and it was also revealed that it will be implemented in browsers like Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, WebKit, Firefox, the Samsung Internet Browser and even Facebook’s in-app browser.
Once it is activated, the API will allow information regarding cryptocurrency payments like Bitcoin to be saved in the browser itself.
How Does It Work?
Once the API is integrated into the browser, people will be able to access the system via a drop-down menu.
This menu will list the various payment options, like Bitcoin, that are available so you can choose the one you want.
This feature is somewhat similar to—but a more expanded version of—the current autofill feature that exists in popular browsers.
So if you’re someone who would rather buy products with Bitcoin, all you need to do is select the appropriate payment method.
This creates a very unique opportunity for developers to create blockchain-based transaction methods with which they can test the new API.
This will greatly help in tweaking the utility so that it can perform as efficiently and smoothly as possible.
Though the interface is ready, it is still in the testing phase.
Apple’s WebKit browser recently changed the work status from being “under consideration” to “in development.”
Ian Jacobs, the head of W3C’s payments department, announced that the project has moved from its draft state to a stable one.
So right now they know exactly what it can do, and with proper testing, they can further improve its possibilities and make sure that it’s as secure as possible.
The collaboration between W3C and top tech companies is somewhat interesting, as the former had a notorious reputation for its standardization efforts.
Usually, the process takes years as work moves from community groups to working ones.
However, at the same time, it’s also important to know that what is being done is not a simple task by any stretch of the imagination.
There are a lot of intricate complications that come with such a feature.
While the customers can easily get the new interface integrated into their browser, the merchant also needs to acknowledge the new transaction methods.
Moreover, W3C is working on building a way to allow people to share payment apps that support their favorite cryptocurrency transaction methods.
W3C will be having a demo session in October to showcase how different browsers are utilizing the interface currently.
Developers plan to officially release it by next year.