How app store monopolies are leading to fragmented user experiences and how the rise of money-enabled protocols open the door to novel Web business models
We’ve all seen this story before. An exciting new application that promises to disrupt an industry sector, or introduces some novel technology, and gets everyone hyped-up. Shortly after the team publishes the release to the Apple App Store — lo’ and behold it gets rejected for reason A, item Z, or 3.16.7 rule 25.
This isn’t new. This is actually the norm. The status quo is simply not good enough.
Apple is using its power to force app creators who publish iOS apps on their App Store to pay 15-30% for any in-app purchase, and require those transactions to be processed by Apple’s own payment processing gateways (Apple Pay / IAP). This vendor lock-in is harmful for innovation and leads to exploitative measures.
Thankfully, an alternative exists: The Web! Why should Apple be allowed to take 15-30% of the value created by the team who created the app, who after many failures and thousands of hours of work were finally able to prove product-market fit? Apple is clearly exploiting its monopoly to extract more than their fair share. I'm not saying Apple shouldn't get a share, but it should be significantly lower than 15-30% to be competitive with current market dynamics.
The good news is that Bitcoin Fixes This. The Lightning Network enables bitcoin to be used as money. Bitcoin is interoperable across different applications for small and large payments, with incredibly low payment processing fees (1% or 1 satoshi, fractions of a cent). This is much lower than the traditional finance cost of payment processing, which is 2.9% + 30 cents.
Additionally, legacy systems incur users much larger flat base fees, driving up the minimum amount of funds and the type of fund-flows supported. Bitcoin applications do talk to other bitcoin applications and systems, unlike most USD systems, which provide faux interoperability to customers. Learn more by watching Andre Neves CTO and Co-founder of ZEBEDEE discuss The Future of Payments at a recent talk at MIT.
The ability to support micropayments as low as fractions of a cent allows for transactions that are inclusive of any use case — anyone can afford to transact in this network. Our applications can infuse money into their experiences and make them richer, especially when it comes to e-commerce and social interactions. This lowers the barrier to entry to offer payments in and out of web apps, with transactions that are easy to implement and have no deposit or settlement risk.
In a single night, I was able to build a wallet web application using the ZBD APIs.
I built this ZBD Labs Wallet App to showcase what is possible with Bitcoin and ZBD APIs. The wallet allows users to pay and withdraw funds for real and virtual goods or services, and deposit funds. Here is a live demo of the features. Imagine building your own app experience with monetization opportunities and ways to provide more value to your users.
Any game, application, service, or platform can interact with, and use Bitcoin as its money now. And it is all interoperable with other services, because we all speak Bitcoin.
I hope this inspires folks to add Bitcoin to their experience and make richer UX flows for their users. I hope this inspires folks to look at The Web as the most open medium for building applications.
Think of the new monetization opportunities, the cost-savings on payment processing, and the faster speed to market! All of this can be achieved while supporting many more users and use cases because of lower barriers to entry. That is what Bitcoin offers us on The Web, especially with advanced UX protocols like LNURL.
🔥 If you're interested in building with ZEBEDEE, contact our sales team.
If you're new to Bitcoin and the Lightning Network, check out my Lightning Network 101 and LNURL 101 presentations. You can see the digital economies that can be built in my Lightning for Creators video.