Social networks and smartphones grant us superpowers beyond anything we might have dreamed 10 years ago: We almost never get lost, we can keep in touch with everyone we’ve ever met, and we can access the entirety of human knowledge. Not bad! But if we want to buy a $2 knickknack on the web, we still have to slog through a payments morass—multiple screens of personal information, plus painful transaction fees that are nominally paid by the vendor but inevitably passed along to us.
This has led to an incredible disparity in ecommerce. For a handful of big companies, Apple and Amazon chief among them, micropayments are outrageously profitable.
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