I think the time might be right for micropayments as a publishing monetization model.
The reason is that ad-based monetization is already micropayment-based. An advertiser estimates how much a view would be worth, and sends that much to an ad host per view. The big problem with ad-based monetization is that neither the author nor the viewer of the post is on either end of this transaction and the transaction cost has been turned into a futures market that everyone has been incentivized to game. As a result, the average impression is of approximately zero value, because the average impression is made by a bot looking at an advertisement for a nonexistent product on a site intended to farm fraudulent ad impressions.
If we associated our accounts with some money, and charged as much per view as ads pay out, then gave medium half of that (which is more than the ad host would get paid out under adsense), we would cut out a whole industry of middle-men and your average user could coast on five bucks for decades. (If new users got a dollar credit or something, it would essentially simulate a freemium model; if users had to add funds in five dollar increments, Medium could make a fortune on interest from their escrowed cash. The normal case would have money mostly stay inside the system — in Medium’s coffers — because most people who do a lot of writing on Medium also do a lot of reading on Medium. Big publications would still make bank, because they’d still get a lot of views; they’d actually make more profit, because three tenths of a cent per page view is more than they’d ever make off ads.) Medium already determines the distinction between a “view” and a “read” — so if they charge/pay double or triple as much for a “read” than a “view”, readers wouldn’t notice but authors would be highly incentivised to create high-quality content worth reading, and clickbait would disappear.