Ron Rivest has come up with a new way to handle micropayments.

By paying every Nth randomly-selected payment at N times the amount of the transaction, he says he can reduce the overhead of lots of little transactions to a single transaction. It’s also significantly less complex than some earlier solutions.

That seems to be pretty cool. I’m less sure of the advantages over simply aggregating transactions and clearing them in bulk. Also, it doesn’t seem to address the inherent behavioral issues of micropayments.

Finally, while selling music on the net seems to be an ideal application for micropayments, I’d hate to start a company whose success depends on waiting for the recording trust to do it right.