Stellar-backed SatoshiPay Makes Deal With Axel Springer
February 2, 2019 by Ian Edwards
Stellar-backed cryptocurrency payment firm SatoshiPay is working with German publishing giant Axel Springer SE to implement a micropayment system for online content. Long speculated on, but never widely adopted, micropayments could be an alternative to the advertising-based business model most online publishers rely on. But whether micropayments will gain traction remains to be seen.
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Deal Supported by Stellar Development Foundation
London-based SatoshiPay broke the news in a blog post published January 31st. In it, the firm says its technology, which uses the Stellar blockchain, will be integrated into Axel Springer SE products. The system will allow for transfers in euros and dollars from anywhere in the world in seconds.
Axel Springer SE, which describes itself as “Europe’s leading digital publisher,” operates in 40 countries and owns publications such as German newspaper Bild, Business Insider, and is also part of a joint venture that runs the European edition of Politico. The Senior Vice President of New Business at Axel Springer, Dr. Valentin Schöndienst, said that:
“Blockchain payments can significantly reduce transaction costs and thus enable new monetisation systems for content. SatoshiPay offers a turnkey solution that allows us to instantly use blockchain technology and offer it to our customers.”
The CEO of SatoshiPay, Meinhard Benn, noted that the Stellar Development Foundation gave a “seven figure” partnership grant to support the deal. SatoshiPay, which was founded in 2014, is listed on the Stellar Foundation’s website as one of its partners, alongside more than 40 other organizations.
Micropayments Seen by Publishers as Possible Solution to Ad Blockers
Axel Springer may be looking towards micropayments to counter the rise of ad blockers. A report by Onaudience from the end of 2017 found that 41 percent of page views in Germany were ad blocked. Ad blocking tended to be more prevalent in Western Europe than North America, where 26 and 32 percent of American and Canadian page views were blocked, respectively. These numbers increased from 2016 to 2017, and the report estimated that $15.8 billion USD in advertiser revenue was lost in 2017 due to ad blockers.
This trend appears to be leading online publishers like Axel Springer to consider alternative ways of generating revenue. However, the idea is not a new one, as this 1999 article from Wired demonstrates. It discusses how IBM and Compaq were developing micropayment software standards nearly 20 years ago.
But micropayments have never really caught on for many reasons, including transaction costs, both financial and mental. However, the rise of cryptocurrencies seems to have given new life to micropayments.
Stellar Continues Dealmaking in 2019
Stellar promotes itself as a way to make financial payments anywhere in the world quickly and with low transaction fees. On its face, Stellar’s technology seems like a perfect use case for micropayments. However, simply having the technology ready may not be enough to generate the wider market adoption of Stellar or other cryptocurrencies.
This is because there are still regulations that stand in the way of seamless micropayments, with the most prominent of those being tax compliance, which in many countries requires the reporting of sales of cryptocurrencies for tax purposes.
Stellar, which was created by Ripple Labs co-founder Jed McCaleb in 2014, has been in the news frequently in the last year. A few weeks ago, the native cryptocurrency of Stellar, called Lumens (XLM), was added to the portfolio of cryptocurrency investment firm Grayscale.
And the Axel Springer deal isn’t the first one involving Stellar and a major corporation. In September 2018, Stellar partnered up with IBM to create a cross-border payment system called Blockchain World Wire. The two companies had also worked together alongside Veridium Labs to tokenize carbon credits.
Also in September of 2018, Stellar acquired blockchain startup Chain, in a deal reported by Bitsonline in June. There was also talk last year that Facebook was considering using Stellar for the firm’s internal blockchain project, but these rumors were denied by the social media company.
What do you think about the partnership between SatoshiPay and Axel Springer? Are micropayments a realistic use case for cryptocurrencies?
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