Has The First Micropayments Marketplace Arrived?

Journalist:
March 16, 2016

That’s what 21.co claims.

“…We’ve built what we think of as the first micropayments marketplace: a marketplace that allows buyers and sellers to trade in digital goods using micropayments, initially specifically focused on APIs for developer use,” the company wrote on its Medium blog.

Users who own a 21 Bitcoin Computer can explore the marketplace at 21.c0/mkt. Transacting on the system at this time not only involves a 21 computer, but also a bit of coding skill. By inserting a command into the 21.co computer, a transaction can be conducted. The system is dependent on a series of APIs, and designed to use a Bitcoin address as a login. The private key functions as a password.

The marketplace also lets you rent out API access to a local computer for Bitcoin: “In short, you set up a server, chose a given pricing strategy, and published that server to the marketplace. Others can use the search functionality to discover and buy from you, and you can also buy from yourself to test out the endpoint.”

The 21 team has offered its Slack channel to link buyers and sellers. There are some limits, as the team admits. For instance, the 21 Marketplace only functions with 21 Bitcoin computers. The company says, in the near future, it will work on every device.

You can view the company’s documentation on the new service here and here.

To be sure, this website has published one writer’s doubts about the future of 21’s micropayments. In September, the company unveiled its Bitcoin Computer. The computer functions on Linux and works as a bitcoin miner, allowing customers to buy, sell and rent products in exchange for Bitcoin. The computer initially cost $400 and came equipped with a WiFi adapter, a 128 GB SD card and a factory-installed copy of the Bitcoin blockchain. 21 also had its own Bitcoin-oriented OS.

“With this pocket-sized device, if you are an entrepreneur or developer, you can now instantly buy or sell digital goods and services at the command line using Bitcoin,” contends Balaji Srinivasan, CEO of 21 in a Medium post at the time of the computer’s release. “We want to use the success of the 21 Bitcoin Computer to help make Bitcoin the next fundamental system resource, available by default on every new computer.”

The San Francisco-based firm is backed by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

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