Earlier today, the official Twitter account of Flattr, the micropayment startup founded by ex-Pirate Bay associates, tweeted that they were “excited excited excited …”, so we knew something was up. Now we’ve learned that the service, which enables users to ‘Like’ sites and content but with real money, is indeed rolling out something new: the ability to donate specific amounts of money to Flattr users directly.
So rather than relying solely on the albeit innovate model of simply divvying up a pre-allocated monthly pool of cash (starting from €2), no matter how thinly that’s spread if a user chooses to “Flattr” a high number of sites, a chunk of that change can now be sliced off at will. And while any user will be able to receive donations, Wikileaks, which amid controversy has been shunned by traditional players MasterCard, PayPal and Visa, stands to benefit from the new feature greatly – donations are anonymous with a minimum payment of 2 euros.
It also paves the way for Flattr to migrate further towards the holy grail of peer-to-peer payments (think: mobile phone as wallet) in which handing over cash digitally becomes as easy, if not easier than it is physically.
On that note, via a third party app for Android phones, earlier this week it emerged that Flattr has in actual fact entered the off-line world. Flattr4Android lets users scan a physical QR-code off-line, which is tied to a user’s Flattr account, bringing details of who or what it is you can give money to. In fact, as the QR-code is ultimately tied to a Flattr URL, it will work across virtually any mobile browser (via any QR-code supporting mobile reader), though the Android native app is likely to be a more eloquent experience.
Is that the smell of disruption in the air?