The Future Is Micropayments

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4 min read

Cryptocurrency is ushering in a new age on many different levels. Most are not paying attention to the fact this is all part of a larger move. Cryptocurrency and blockchain are not operating in a vacuum. There is a lot more taking place that it feeds into.

Much of this follows the general trends in computing. That sector is taking on new life as innovation keeps altering the path that things are taking. When we look at the potential of what is being created, we can see how much different a system is required.

One of the reasons the Metaverse is so far away is because it will require massive advancements in our computing and communication systems. It is a process that is going require decades of development. In other words, we are nowhere near the Ready Player One stage.

Edge Computing

One of the areas that is required to make this a reality is Edge Computing. It is actually a shift in the opposite direction of what we saw the last decade or so.

With the introduction of cloud, we saw massive server farms set up. Projects like Amazon Web Services exploded as companies signed up to access their huge storage and processing capabilities.

The challenge with this type of system is that the computing takes place far away from where it is needed. While this is perfectly acceptable for training, it is impractical for real world operations.

For example, a neural network on a massive computational system that trains autonomous driving is the common approach. However, we cannot have driving decisions made by a centralized neural network. For that to be practical, the computer must be operating locally, processing all the information it gathers in real time.

The challenge, in this scenario, is latency. Since there is a physical distance to contend with, there are physical laws that enter the picture. Obviously the further away the computation is being done along with the slower the communication system, the greater the latency.

This is something that network engineers are trying to overcome. For example, Starlink™ claims that it has some of the lowest latency of the widespread systems in place today. Of course, they are still building out so we will see how real world use cases perform.

Ultimately, the best solution to latency is to get the processing as close to the end user as possible. Here is where edge computing enters the picture.


For the Metaverse to truly perform as people envision, massive upgrades to our communication systems is required. A large part of this includes edge computing.

Latency is something that increases in importance the more dire the situation. In other words, for many operations, a .5 second delay means little. If a text is delayed that amount of time, is there really anything lost? The same might not be true if someone is involved in a shooter game with $1 million on the line. A delay of that nature could be the difference between winning and getting wiped out.

Here is where we see the idea of Metaverse and how far away it truly is. Another example is with remote surgery. The concept is terrific since it will allow the best surgeon to serve people outside a particular geographic area. Of course, here again, latency could be a problem.

To solve this, many believe that edge computing will also be employed. As more processing power is distributed, the overall capabilities will be out there. The challenge will be tapping into that.

When it is figured out, this will not be a free process. For sake of this discussion, we will use the smartphone although that will likely been replaced by that time.

For the Metaverse idea to take hold, processing will be accessed from idle devices around us. Thus, we might be walking down the street and accessing required power from other's phones that are not being employed. Of course, to do this, they will want to be compensated. This is going to necessitate micropayments to a host of other people. As we progress using the system, there could be dozens of different devices we are accessing for computation. All these people might get fractions of a penny for less than a second of use.

In fact, we see the outline for micropayments being put together by the SpkNetwork. When reading through the documentation posted, we see there are many ways people will be able to support the network.

From the Light Paper that was put out:

Mill's Infrastructure Nodes are nodes that anyone can operate in the Network which provide digital services that support the Network's infrastructure. These nodes consist of the following types: Content pining Nodes, Service Nodes, Storage Nodes, Content Delivery Network Nodes, Validator Nodes and Encoding / Transcoding Nodes.

It goes on to add:

All Mill nodes are referred to as miners in the Network, receiving some form of incentive for running infrastructure services. However, storage miners use the PoA mining system, which is the only mining on the Network that requires a dedicated blockchain mining mechanism. The nodes on the Network are rewarded by being tracked by the Hive SON's oracles technology (see section 13), which then distributes rewards.

It explains how people can get some SPEAK and BROCA for providing the different services mentioned. This will not be a lot with each payment, hence the micropayment concept. Nevertheless, it will offer a stream of income to those who decide to participate in the different ways offered.

This is what the future will look like. There is going to be a great need for all kinds of computational resources going forward. As these systems are implemented, people are going to be able to support networks. For this, we will also see incentives offered.

Of course, there is one other area that we will see this applied: Data.

But that is a topic for another discussion.

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