In the very early days of the world wide web, there were attempts to build a payments tag deep into the very architecture of HTML web pages. Those attempts failed, killed by a financial-services industry very suspicious of anything new. And as a result, the web has evolved along an advertising model, where instead of users paying for content, we have advertisers paying for users. But a universal payments system with no friction or interchange costs could change that model dramatically. And it would certainly help to level the playing field – for good and for bad – between skilled service-sector workers in countries like India and Russia and China, on the one hand, and their counterparts in countries like Germany, Japan, and the US, on the other.
Must read. One of @felixsalmon’s very best. HT @tek_fin