W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-webpayments-ig@w3.org > March 2015

[Value Web] Kicking off the web settlement discussion

From: Evan Schwartz <evan@ripple.com>
Date: Thu, 12 Mar 2015 16:30:59 -0700
Message-ID: <CAONA2jWHa2naKjSVtKO_S1YYKBERKCC3LAtvZ4criEm6fvxoXg@mail.gmail.com>
To: Web Payments IG <public-webpayments-ig@w3.org>
The payment systems of today are far from interoperable and they all have
vastly different approaches to authentication, authorization, and actually
moving money.

One option for this group interested in improving the payer and payee
experience is to build an abstraction layer on top of the existing payment
systems to cover up their differences as best as possible. This abstraction
layer could help payer and payee discover the intersection of their sets of
payment instruments and start whatever protocol is required by the chosen
instrument. We would have to accept that the protocol would be very
different depending on the instrument, including its speed, security
properties, and information required for authentication, payment
authorization, and compliance. This approach would require changes from
users (or their agents such as the browser) and merchants but it would not
require any changes to be made by the actual payment systems.

The other option (which can be worked on in parallel) would require changes
from the payment systems to make them interoperable. The web payments
experience we would be aiming for here would be that payers and payees
never again have to wonder whether they have a particular payment
instrument in common, but can simply send money from one to the other via
the Web. "I have Visa but you only accept digital gold (or MasterCard,
PayPal, Bitcoin, cell phone minutes, or fractions of some company's
shares)? No problem! Done."

People store value in many different places and instruments, what would it
take to enable different systems to connect those stores of value together,
to move money between them? What is the minimum amount of standardization
we would need to make *that* happen?

The IG might not have the stakeholders necessary yet to make this possible
but considering how much the Web changed and improved upon the early
computerized documentation systems and internet service providers, I think
we can rally a group together who is motivated to do the same for money
today.

I think that Web principles and technologies could be directly applied to
making payments, clearing, and settlement faster, cheaper and more secure.

Before we start talking about what specific standards would be needed to
enable this, I am curious whether others agree or disagree with this
premise. There are some interbank standards that exist today, but there are
no standards or "web rails" that are simple, open, and expressive enough to
link banks, card networks, PayPal, Alipay, airline miles, cryptocurrencies,
etc.

Do you think this is a great idea, or totally unreasonable?

-- 
Evan Schwartz | Software Engineer | Ripple Labs
[image: ripple.com] <http://ripple.com>
Received on Thursday, 12 March 2015 23:31:46 UTC

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