Developers at Google, Apple and other tech companies have created a browser API that enable users buying goods and services online with cryptocurrency.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) with the help of Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple and Mozilla initiated the project in 2013. Currently, the API is being implemented in browsers including Google’s Chrome, Microsoft’s Edge, Apple’s Webkit, Mozilla’s Firefox, the Samsung Internet Browser and Facebook’s in-app browser.
The API is based on what the group sees as a way to offer consumers more payment options and merchants a more secure online checkout. When activated, the Payment Request API will allow new payment information for Bitcoin, ether and other more traditional online payment methods to be stored directly in the browser. Users will then be able to choose from a drop-down menu of available payment methods supported, a kind of expansion on the auto-fill feature already widely enabled at checkout.
Nevertheless, merchants will need to integrate the API and pick which payment methods they want to accept. At this stage, customers will need to download the browser extension and signal what payment methods they use. Therefore, merchants need to build websites that acknowledge the new payment methods, while users need to have wallets that use the same protocol developers are writing.
The W3C is already working with third-party apps to integrate both distributed ledger solutions and non-credit card forms of payment into the API in a way that can be interpreted by merchants and consumers.