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Surprising Science

Could This Micro-Economy Work?

The concept behind Flattr—an economy of “micro-payments”—should work quite well. The only problem is that it never has. 

What’s the Latest Development?

Another attempt to make a go of using the power of the web to create an economy of “micro-payments” whereby individuals and corporations could charge tiny sums for their content. Flattr, a micropayment startup founded by Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde, is preparing to launch a new feature that will combine its payment system with Twitter, and allow any Flattr user to send money to someone via their Twitter name. 

What’s the Big Idea?

Could this help launch a “tip jar” system that actually works on a large scale and transforms the online content industry in much the same way The Pirate Bay disrupted it, but for the better? Or will it just be the latest failed micropayment startup? Since there aren’t any of the physical restrictions on money and transactions that occur in the real world this kind of micro-economy should work quite well. The only problem is that it never has.


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