How could one pay for something using bitcoin at a vendor location that doesn't accept bitcoin?
I keep going to an hybrid model that involves having a regular debit/credit card type device that is connected to a bitcoin account. Instead of having a major corporation be the clearinghouse that underwrites the money transfers - we make it into a collective bank of many individuals who assign the rights to use (and hold) their bitcoins (or even transfer them into the bank...not sure). Then of course we figure out (a challenge of course) - how to sell off the bitcoins in real time for cash and transfer that cash to the card account (or have a big slush fund of cash always being created based upon probabilities of cash needed. Of course, the card is a standard Mastercard or something. It sounds very similar to the standard banking industry - but has several significant decentralized features. Maybe this is too much of a solution to a problem that will fade...
From: Cardiovorax I understand all the ideological reasons for why someone might want to choose Bitcoin. Most of them are fairly crazy, but at least they're there. What I don't get are the practical benefits, why an average person would actually choose to use them. If you aren't worried about the government or the banks or planning to get rich quickly 2140, then what can Bitcoin actually do for you? That's the part that nobody has really managed to explain so far in any of the threads, at least as far as I can remember.
To be fair, we understand the currency, it's inner workings, and thus its potential quite well, but while we profess how great it is, with $'s and stars in our eyes, we likely forget that the people we are talking to don't know or understand everything that we do. So, I think we should come up with some examples that answer the question of "why would an average person care" (or re-paste them from older necro threads). Here are some of mine: 1) It lets you send money overseas cheaper than using a bank wire (FIAT > BTC > BTC > FIAT has way better fees and exchange rates than bank wire, Western Union, etc). 2) It lets anyone open a virtual bank account without needing access to a physical bank. For example, some banks charge fees and require minimum balances for accounts, which may be prohibitively expensive. Some areas around the world don't even have banks other than in far away big cities. And in some cases, it's easier to just create a new Bitcoin wallet to store money in, than it is to drive down to a bank, fill out forms, come up with profs of ID, wait days for them to be verified, and another week for your account to actually be ready to use (especially if you're looking for a small business account). 3) It lets you accept payments online easily and way cheaper than with VISA, PayPal, or other such services. Heck, you can even just get a bitcoin address from MtGox or any other exchange, set up your account to instantly exchange any received BTC for local currency, and you're done. 4) It lets you accept payments over e-mail or any other service that can transmit text (even photos, as seen on girlsgonebitcoin). Some sellers may not have the means to build a website, but can still send out an invoice, asking to send payments to a specific address. (i.e. someone living in a poor country who only has access to an internet cafe, or someone who just doesn't have web skills). 5) It lets you accept tips or donations using any website. You can upload videos to YouTube, photos to Flickr, posts to a blog, music to Soundcloud, art to Deviantart, or comic strips to GoComics, and to accept donations all you need is to include a string of text in the description. No need to set up any money-accepting plugins, set up any bank or financial accounts, or rely on features provided by the service being used. 6) It lets you send money to places where PalPal or other money transmitting services are blocked, for example Russia or India, and is much cheaper for sending money to family in other countries. Even if that country they can't send money to is US, as in the example of the parents in Iran sending $2,000 to their college student son living here. 7) It lets you send huge sums of money overseas quickly and cheaply. If you were in US and you needed to pay $1,000,000 for a shipment from China, using normal methods of wiring money would take two or more weeks, and will cost more than $25,000 for the transaction. With Bitcoin, it takes a few hours, and costs $12,000 or less. 8) It lets you send micropayments better than anything else out there. It's easy and practically free to send $0.01 to anyone else using BTC, but would cost about $0.25 for just the fee to use the USD/EUR system. Any micropayment system that uses USD/EUR would have to sit on top of a larger system that stores all the money in a single large account, and all micropayments would have to be done as accounting entries within that account, instead of money actually moving around (i.e. you have to fund the system with a large payment, do your micropayment transactions, and withdraw when your fund is big enough again). This means micropayments using USD/EUR are restricted to only within specific services (i.e. your pre-paid micropayments fund that you use to pay for news articles can only be used within that news website) 9) It lets you create programs and services with their own bank accounts (the software stores value, as opposed to value always being linked to a real world person and a real world outside-the-service bank account). The Reddit tipbot is an excellent example of this, and would be impossible with USD/EUR, since to build it using FIAT, someone would have to open a real world bank account under their name (with all the forms, proofs of ID, etc), set it up to accept money transfers from others using PayPal, VISA, or something else, which will charge fees, have nasty exchange rates, have to keep to strict AML regulations, and be restricted to certain specific countries. Plus it would have all the micropayment issues mentioned above. With Bitcoin, all the "banking" is done with software, requiring no permissions, and no single programmer's name has to be linked with any bank accounts. 10) It lets you instantly fund USD/EUR based accounts around the world. The small LLC I started up keeps a BTC cash account for minor business expenses, and my business partners around the world will have Bitcoin funded VISA debit cards (as soon as Bitinstant releases them). That way, all the money is stored safely in the business vault, and if they need to pay for any business expenses, no matter where they are on the planet, or what their home currency is, I can fund their cards from home within 10 minutes. That's impossible with ACH, wires, or whatever else is out there. 11) It lets you link a payment account to a contract using address signing. For example, Person A agrees to buy Person B's debt. They write up an agreement contract, and instead of signing it with PGP keys, they sign it with A's and B's bitcoin addresses. Then money is sent from Address A to Address B, and any repayments are sent from Address B to Address A. That way, Person B can't claim that they never received the money, and Person A can't claim that they are still owed more than they really are, since all transactions are publicly verifiable on the block chain using the very addresses that were used to sign the contract. There is no need for any legal disputes of who owes what, since the blockchain keeps both parties honest (I actually did this already). If you can think of anything else, please add it to the list. EDIT: 12) Usenet has recently gone through the Wikileaks experience, with copyright behemoths pressuring VISA, PayPal, et all, to stop processing payments for Usenet service providers. Many have switched to Bitcoin since then, and I personally know Usener user who followed, now buying his btc from me for that purpose.
Buying Bitcoins:An Astonishing Pain in the Dick If you aren't the type to feel at home buying bitcoins followed by praying they still have roughly the same value four days later, you're pretty much out of luck, eh? Debit, credit, and Paypal are all out of the picture when buying bitcoins. Wiretransfers require incredible faith in turning over a LOT of personal information (like, enough to get lines of credit in your name) to "companies" who did not exist 2 years ago and who might shut down in as little as 1 month. The nets are laden with the waste of bitcoin sites -- bitinstant, cryptxchange, bitcoinbymobile, and doubtless dozens of others have failed. For perspective, coinbase has a bank account somewhere, as they need to pay themselves real money, and also use it to purchase hosting services, support, pay their taxes, and grow their business. If they forget the taxes part, or if their bank account is frozen, poof, gone. If you're awaiting processing when they go... Now, you shouldn't be keeping your coins on those sites anyway, as a search of this subreddit will reveal many people who've had their BTC ripped right out from under them either due to their security oversights, or those of the site. You can try local exchange for cash or wester union, but you're asking to get screwed since there is very little chance to be safe in personal dealings. And on account of random people having lives, the transfer is likely to be slow, if you can find anyone will to sell coins to begin with in your area. I saved the best for last. Currency exchanges like MtGox can take more than a week at the best of times to translate dollars into BTC, and only if you create account chains like Dwolla -> Linden Dollars -> BTC (old chain for example purposes only). It used to be possible to purchase BTC by SMS, but those services are down, likely indefinitely, even at blockchain.info. IF you give Coinbase enough personal information for them to take out loans in your name, you can instantly purchase a whopping 0.1 BTC per week for the first 30 days your account exists. This is assuming you have a Visa card, because in my audacity to not have a Visa credit card, I am ineligible for instant purchasing. And this is one of the preferred ways of getting bitcoins, shown in numerous guides. Without laws IMPROVING the liquidity of bitcoin, I don't see it surviving -- in fact, it seems options for purchasing it are getting slimmer. Two months ago, SMS still worked. 6 months ago, cryptxchange was still alive. It appears the momentum is downhill, a quiet defacto isolation of bitcoin from liquid dollars. If I have it wrong, someone please inform me, because I just spent an hour looking around, to no avail.
What do you think will be the most important event in the medium term future that will dramatically increase the worth of Bitcoin?
Unfounded speculation: I think at some point amazon/ebay will find a good reason to support bitcoin, and web stores and independent vendors may find it more convenient to accept bitcoin rather than paypal or credit cards. Popularity will skyrocket and bitcoin will become a household name, synonymous with online shopping. Walmart/CVS will start selling prepaid bitcoin cards. Bitcoin price will increase by an order of magnitude. Share your thoughts. EDIT: Some upcoming events in the near future:
Kim Dotcom's 2 new services (that may accept bitcoin)
poker sites catching up with infinity poker in the making
Hi /bitcoin, I'm new to bitcoins and first got interested awhile back when the price was around $30/BTC. I kept my eye on it and I finally decided to pull the trigger last Wednesday using bitinstant to MtGox. Even after reading all of the posts warning of bad customer service with bitinstant, I went ahead and pulled the trigger because it was the easiest method I found that was also quick. I only sunk $50, just to test the waters, but it's been a week, and lo and behold, I have received nothing. I've talked to my bank, and they can do a chargeback through my debit card if they don't have anything for me within 30 days, so I shouldn't lose anything, but I have lost opportunity already since the conversion from USD to BTC has gone up drastically in the past week. So, my question is what other reliable services can I use that are similar to bitinstant where I can walk into a retailer, use my debit card, and have funds in my MtGox or Bitstamp account in less than a day? I've done some reading around, but I haven't found anything structured quite like them. If Bitinstant somehow credits my MtGox account, I'll update this thread and give them credit, but this is staying as-is until that happens.
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