Interview

Making web payments and monetisation everyone's opportunity

Tuesday 20 April 2021 08:33 CET | Editor: Alin Popa | Interview

The Paypers interviewed Briana Marbury, Executive Director of the Interledger Foundation, to learn about the Interledger Protocol, and how advancing open payments and Web Monetisation standards will enable more equitable and creative web opportunities

What can you tell us about the Interledger Foundation? How does your experience relate to your appointment as the Executive Director?

The idea for the Interledger protocol was born in 2015 when its co-creators Stefan Thomas and Evan Schwartz realised how difficult it is to make online payments. Stefan tells a story about an Airbnb host, who by the time they received their payment, it had gone through numerous third parties and been subject to a variety of fees, leaving the host with almost nothing. He saw the system as being very flawed, inefficient and clunky. I’ve had the same experience when trying to pay people who were not in the same country as myself.

Thinking about the possibilities of the Interledger within the online payments ecosystem, there is a huge potential to help bring financial access to the 1.7 billion of the world’s unbanked. From my own experience growing up in Detroit and witnessing how many people still struggle with trying to open a bank account and end up going to a corner store that charges high fees just to cash their weekly paychecks. It’s expensive to be poor. The Interledger Foundation brings technology that could help those that have been historically financially excluded into the digital economy, worldwide. 

The Foundation enables us to put the humanitarian aspect of this technology as one of our top priorities. One of the needs of the informal economy is to send money to other countries or platforms without fees or customer lock-in requirements. Interledger-enables payments have the ability to be sent across borders in any currency you choose, so in this way, we’ll help to advance financial inclusion by integrating people within digital payment systems they didn’t have access to previously.

The way the Interledger moves currency so seamlessly is because it’s built on the same principles that the internet uses to move information. Without going into too much technical detail, just as the internet routes small packets of data across the web, Interledger routes small packets of currency. Just as the internet code was, and is, open for anyone who has the interest to build on it, the Interledger is open and available for all. Plus, it is currency agnostic and not tied to a single company or platform, offering anyone utilising it even more flexibility. 

I’ve spent the majority of my career in the nonprofit space because uplifting others and being a conduit of change has always been a driving force to keep me excited and inspired in any role I’ve held. I’ve seen firsthand the challenges and struggles of people that are excluded from participating in financial systems and economies through no fault of their own, but simply as a function of where they were born. The Foundation is working to help bring equity on a mass scale to a system that was constructed from its inception to be exclusionary to all but a select few so that anyone can participate in the digital economy if they so choose. It is an undoubtedly ambitious goal we’re working towards but I truly believe the Interledger can bring this vision to fruition. And for me, that is beyond inspiring.

What is the vision of the Interledger Foundation? 

Our vision is to have a more equitable and creative global society in which anyone can seamlessly earn, share, buy, sell, and trade with anyone else in the world. With support from our founding members, Coil and Ripple, and with our Grant for the Web program, the organisation will steward and advocate for Interledger to broaden global financial inclusion opportunities. 

By encouraging interoperability and monetisation, the web has the power to break down formerly insurmountable barriers and to substantially advance financial inclusion, uplifting the lives of billions in the process – especially for developing economies around the world. 

Can you discuss the importance of web monetisation to content creators?

Current payment structures on the web are broken, antiquated, and unfair. 70% of digital ad spending goes to two of the internet’s highest traffic platforms, which leaves out a large population of developers and content creators looking to make meaningful profit from their work. 

By enabling a web browser to stream small amounts of money known as micropayments, the Interledger has helped pave the way for Web Monetization, a proposed W3C standard

Aided by our Grant for the Web program, innovations in Web Monetization are opening up an entire financial ecosystem for everyone from the app and game developers, to artists, musicians, and podcasters, to journalists and freelancers. Creators, like Grant for the Web Media artist and Director Annie Berman, are using the web monetised video platform Cinnamon to stage films worldwide, while getting paid in terms of hours watched. Puma is the first browser to natively support the Web Monetization standard using Interledger, which enables direct value transfer between content and game creators and their fans.

How do open payments help bring the unbanked into the formal economy?

Today, traditional and mobile payment networks operate independently from each other, making. The process of receiving funds is slow, expensive, or even impossible if the sender and recipient are on different networks, as would be the case with those looking to transact across borders. If you live on USD 2.00 a day, you may not be able to afford to send and receive money if your bank, school, merchant and family members all use different payment networks. This disconnect is why despite mobile money services emerging in nearly 100 countries, 1.7 billion people still lack access to digital payments according to the World Bank Global Findex.

One of the most compelling use cases of the Interledger has been Mojaloop open source software, which lowers the cost and complexity for governments, central banks, and digital financial providers to design financial tools that meet the needs of the unbanked. The Bank of Tanzania is in the process of implementing Mojaloop to serve Tanzanian citizens. Mowali, a joint venture between mobile network operators Orange and MTN, is an implementation of Mojaloop that has recently gone live with services that are being phased in across Africa.

About Briana Marbury

Briana Marbury serves as Executive Director of the Interledger Foundation. She brings 15 years of non-profit experience and leadership to the role, as well as a passion for promoting financial inclusion for all. In her role, Briana strives to educate and bring awareness around the Interledger Protocol and is dedicated to expanding the public’s understanding of the innovative technology’s immense potential to improve lives.

 

About the Interledger Foundation 

The Interledger Foundation’s vision is a world where anyone can seamlessly earn, share, buy, sell and trade with anyone else on the web. Any bank, provider, government office, and other entity can freely use Interledger when designing inclusive payment systems. Any creator, developer, or organisation can apply to the Foundation’s Grant for the Web program to fund their web monetisation initiatives. Visit the Interledger Foundation at https://interledger.org/, or connect with us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Slack.


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Keywords: Interledger Foundation, online payments, unbanked, digital payments, financial inclusion
Categories: Banking & Fintech | Payments General
Countries: World
This article is part of category

Banking & Fintech