I have had this discussion several times now, in the dark corners of bars in San Francisco, Paris, Berlin, and Barcelona. It is something I just want to make sure is published on my site, as part of my latest expansion of my API monetization research. I'm rolling out a standardized credit system as part of my API operations, and using my API service composition layer to apply credit usage as part of each API call.
My objective is to make it easy as possible to buy and even sell credits via my platform, and easily apply those credits across any API I publish, in a variety of access tiers. As I think through this, I can't help but start thinking about how this can play out on a larger scale. Meaning, how do we get API providers to adopt a universal API credit system, so you could buy and sell credits anywhere, use them on any API platform, and transfer them between platforms.
Every time I think about this topic, I end up at the blockchain. It just makes sense that we would use blockchain technology establish a currency that could be used as fuel for the API economy. The blockchain ledger could be used to manage API credit exchanges, but also could be used to store other relevant details that could impact API driven transactions in real-time. With the most important piece being about interoperability, and the fact that you can use in any API ecosystem.
An API world, where you could generate credits on one platform, and transfer them for buying of API calls on another platform, opens up some pretty interesting API driven scenarios for me. Not many platforms pay developers to use APIs, most are just free, or charging per API call. There isn't much incentive for API providers to shell out cash, to incentivize API consumers, but when you could pay in credits, that were transferable, it might change the dynamics.
Honestly, I am not very knowledgeable on the blockchain. It is something I've only recently started educating myself about it. I'm also still mapping out my own API monetization strategy, and gathering my thoughts on an API credit system that is based upon my needs, but it is something that is also rooted in my monitoring of common API platforms. I have a lot to learn about the blockchain, and have numerous details to work out as part of my larger API monetization strategy, but I wanted to at least put this out there, and make sure it is part of my API monetization conversations and storytelling in the future.