Bitcoin startup 21 Inc has launched the 21 Micropayments Marketplace, a new offering that enables the creation of apps that allow buyers and sellers to trade digital goods for bitcoin.
Initially, the 21.co Micropayments Marketplace will focus on allowing developers to buy and sell API calls using digital currency due to what it called existing developer pain points in the process today that inhibit a global market for such creations.
At launch, the offering is available only to users of the 21 Bitcoin Computer, the company’s bitcoin mining and micro-transaction device, though it indicated that this would expand with the launch of the 21 Bitcoin Library, a forthcoming command line interface and software package.
In a post on Medium 21 Inc envisions how its marketplace could allow users to rent out their computers as servers and to buy or sell queries to a zip code database in exchange for bitcoin, though these are just a few examples of what could be built on the platform.
As part of an effort to showcase how the marketplace could be used, 21.co released six apps on the service, a launch that included URL Tagger, Social Sentiment Analysis and Twitter Influence Ranking tools. 21 also released an overview of how apps could be published to the marketplace, with documentation on a four-step process for developers.
In statements, 21 described the offering as an attempt to simplify the process of signing up for APIs, which now requires users to provide information and credit card details, among other steps. Further, it contends that, with its platform, such economic activity can now take place without the need for users to have bank accounts or to trade and manage government-backed currencies during sales.
The startup wrote:
"With a micropayments marketplace, we can essentially eliminate the fixed cost of sign up for any listed API. Just use your bitcoin wallet to do a one-shot purchase of a listed API, or set up a micropayment channel to do many purchases."
Overall, the release is the latest showcase of how 21 is prioritizing the creation of bitcoin-based platforms that enable developers to unlock new use cases for the technology.
"Even with these limitations, we think the 21 micropayments marketplace is an important step towards making digital currency useful for developers," the company wrote.
Notably, 21 Bitcoin Computer users are already using the hardware device for the creation of similar apps that allow for the monetization of social data and Wi-Fi connections, among other use cases.
Micropayments image via Shutterstock