Visa has a launched a new programmable API. Announced via its Visa Developer platform, is a Microtransactions (MTX) API with which developers can “enable virtual currency” for desktop and mobile applications. The project will also allow branded reward points systems, coupons, and campaigns for virtual transactions.
MTX provides access to in-app microtransactions on top of a highly-scalable hosted environment for application developers to offload the heavy transaction burden.
— Visa Developers Website
Visa has been a fan of blockchain technology for some time now and has been doing research on the subject since last year. Speaking at the Wired Money event in London Jonathan Vaux, Executive Director of Digital Payments, Europe confirmed to that Bitcoin was being studied. “The one thing I often get asked about is Bitcoin,” Vaux said. “I do see a separation between the currency and the technology that sits under it. From the point of view from the currency, I think that’s interesting. As Visa, that’s what we do – manage currencies.”
Enter Visa’s MTX Microtransaction Application Programmable Interface
Now the new documentation Visa provides doesn’t mention the Bitcoin name at all, but refers to the microtransactions as MTX and the management of virtual currencies. Visa defines microtransactions when users make purchases with virtual currency or what they call points. Under this model, users are allowed to use the application for free but then use the digital currencies or points towards in-app content. This model they believe offers a different way of finding solutions. The company states:
“Microtransactions (MTX) APIs offer a full suite of monetization solutions for online and mobile applications.”
This is something the cryptocurrency community has learned long ago and discussed and implemented. Some early stages of implementation have been startups like 21inc, Zapchain, ProTip and others using the microtransaction model to change the current online and mobile landscapes. Visa wants to add this idea to their financial API and also try and create new solutions in this sector.
Sample code snippets are available for view on GitHub and it’s recommended you read the Getting Started Guide and are acquainted with the basic helloworld API call. The MTX APIs are ready for experimentation on Visa Developers, and they are looking for feedback after testing the MTX sandbox. The company says this may not go public, however stating, “At the present time, they are not generally available in production and may never be.”
Nevertheless, microtransactions are increasingly popular and are being integrated into our online experience daily. Visa:
The use of app-based virtual coins, points, and tokens that can be used to fulfill microtransactions is growing rapidly, thanks to the proliferation of mobile and social network games and applications.
What do you think about Visa getting into microtransactions? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock & The Visa Developer Website