1

For example, is it fast enough and is transaction cost low enough that app developers could accept it for selling $1 to $5 apps or in-app purchases?

1

This answer is based on the current state of the network as of 2017-11-04

Currently, you can get a transaction confirmed for less than 1 cent. For example this one cost only 0.6 cents:

https://etherscan.io/tx/0x080be4cdafc3194b4a69e115872eb693bf3965c7740db74c1c6fe6a464a4ada3

Transactions usually take from a few seconds up to a couple minutes to confirm, which can be acceptable. (if you pay a higher transaction fee, it will confirm faster)

For a local in-app purchase you don't have to wait for any confirmations from miners. The transaction can be instant. If the transaction later turns out to be fraudulent (double-spent), or not carrying enough fee to be confirmed, you can simply revert the game or app to the state before the in-app purchase or alert the user to attempt payment again.

Planning for the future

In the future the blockchain space may become more expensive, making $1 on-chain transaction unfeasable. For that situation, solutions are already being worked on:

https://plasma.io/plasma.pdf

  • I'm just messing around with the Ethereum Wallet. I've created an additional account besides the base account. The minimum fee to transfer funds between accounts is currently 0.05 ETHER (not gas or USD or whatever). I've noticed after every failed attempt to transfer funds (because they all have failed with this release) that the transaction fee varies wildly. I don't know how that range is calculated, but this is the highest I've seen today. It ranges from 0.05 ether to 1 ether. imgur.com/sVuNMcj – user11495 Nov 4 '17 at 17:14
  • @MichaelPrescott 0.05 Ether is a ridiculously high transaction fee for a simple transfer. There must be some terrible mistake or bug, no sane wallet application would suggest paying that. Which version of Ethereum Wallet are you using? Have you gotten any transactions into the blockchain? If so, could you share the txid? – Jesse Busman Nov 4 '17 at 17:49
  • I'm using 0.9.2. In the past, I've used earlier versions of Ethereum Wallet and had no problem with transfers; although, even then the fees were rather deflating. With this version, I'm having no luck at all. I also recall in earlier versions I had better control over the fees. I seem to recall being able to set a very specific value. With this one, there is just a slider and the range is just all over the place between sessions. I'm guessing that it is a function of how much I'm attempting to transfer and activity on the blockchain??? – user11495 Nov 4 '17 at 19:01
  • In this most recent test, I was attempting to transfer 0.08 ether (hence questioning practicality of small transactions). The fee for that permitted 0.05 for slowest transfer up to 1 ether for fastest transfer. So... up to $300 USD to transfer $25. :( It's crazy to me that it would even allow setting that high. I'm glad I was paying attention. – user11495 Nov 4 '17 at 19:06

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