The Bitcoin platform Coinbase is reportedly tracking what their customers are buying with Bitcoin, as well as closing any accounts involved in transactions that break the company’s rules. “In the last day we have had players who found their Coinbase account closed because they withdrew coins from SatoshiBet.com to their Coinbase account. We heard similar stories from other gambling …
Since the dawn of the internet, people have been digitizing their music, movies & picture content to share with the world. Being able to make a copy of a song or movie at basically no cost has reshaped monetization strategies for content producers during the last decade.
Mainstream Media has adopted, somewhat reluctantly, to the fact that print was dying during the early 2000’s. Strategies of moving entire publications to online and testing out entire new models of monetizing ranged from the obvious banner adverts, to pay-walls and right through to now, an era full of ‘Advertorials’: Content which is written by advertisers to look and feel like an article but designed to sway opinion towards a product or service.
Bitcoin’s payment system has long be evangelized by supporters for its ability to send small amounts of money, as low as pennies, over the internet. This phenomenon is called ‘micro-payments’ (payments under $10) and in the last couple of months, micro-transactions have been catching the attention of advertisers and content producers as a viable alternative to traditional online monetization strategies. This may not stop the sea of highly annoying ‘Top 10 this’ or ‘5 reasons why that’ type articles but what micro-transactions do allow is for consumers to place their money where their eyeballs are and effectively vote with their wallets on what good content is and more importantly, isn’t.
As part of Linkedin’s #BigIdeas2015 campaign, CEO of the Aspen Institute and best selling author Walter Isaacson, wrote an article explaining why he thinks digital currency micro-payments could save content producers like journalists. “At the moment, most news sites are either beholden to advertisers or force readers to buy a subscription. Frictionless coin systems that allowed us to buy digital content on impulse would support journalists who want to cater to their readers rather than just to advertisers. It would encourage news sites to produce content that is truly valued by users rather than churn out clickbait that aggregates eyeballs for advertisers”.
Clay Kohut, founder of the music publishing site Sfx.io, thinks micropayments could have a similar effect on music, “Traditionally, musicians would sit in steamy subway stations with a hat out to collect change from passers-by. Bitcoin opens up the opportunity for digital busking, allowing online appreciators to throw some digital change into a digital-musician’s digital-hat — It’s all very futuristic and extremely exciting”.
The New York based music startup, who hopes to be a “lighter and friendlier” SoundCloud, kept those thoughts in mind when they were thinking about how digital currency payments could impact indie music creators. As part of their first step in this direction, they added the ability to send bitcoin tips to content creators on their website.
“Cool service! Uploaded a Bitcoin track!”
– Redditor, Djleo
Djleo, whose real name is Leo Treasure, is just one of the numerous redditors who uploaded music to the site after the announcement of adding tipping. Talking to BNC News, Treasure said he uploaded songs to the site to reach new audience and hopefully monetize through tipping. Another redditor, MadMalletMover, also uploaded tracks to Sfx.io because he had grown tired of the pay-for-data subscription model run by large music streaming sites. SoundCloud charge music creators to see data about how their profile is doing. He sees bitcoin tips as an alternative that can offer a real measurement of what people think of his music.
“The social media phenomenon of ‘tipping’, or expressing one’s appreciation over the Internet with small monetary or other digital gifts, is building momentum.”
– ChangeTip CEO, Nick Sullivan
Tipping with bitcoin has recently gained in popularity. ChangeTip, a bitcoin micro-payments company, allows people on social media like Twitter and Reddit to tip other users bitcoins. The catch however is that services like ChangeTip are Centralized and the participating website must integrate their code to have the tipping function operate correctly. An interesting development on the tipping front is the developers behind Reddcoin, the ‘Social Currency’ are planing on releasing a tipping solution sometime in early 2015, that doesn’t require websites to do anything. People can literally be tipped on reddit one minute and re-spend those coins on facebook moments later. Just goes to show how fast this Technology is evolving already.
It has become common for users to tip each other 25c or a dollar worth of bitcoins for posting an interesting article or making an enjoyable comment. ChangeTip’s recent seed round closed at $3.5m and was led by Pantera Capital.
Kohut says he has been excited about bitcoin’s potential for micro-payments for a while and was inspired by companies like ChangeTip to integrate bitcoin tipping into his own platform. “I am a big follower of / believer in bitcoin […] and the recent surge of crypto-tipping made the integration of tips on sfx.io an obvious next step for us.”
Sfx.io is the “simplest way to share sounds online”. Its founder would describe it as a slimmer and friendlier alternative to “clunky, data-heavy” SoundCloud. The company was started in 2012 as a side project but was put on the back burner. Recently the company’s engines have relit, now Kohut and his team are focusing their efforts on the company and its publishing platform.
In the future, the company will be adding more features related to tipping. “We hope that integrating tipping will encourage the sharing and propagation of quality content on sfx.io. We will soon be integrating tip-totals into our algorithmic sorting, so sounds that get tipped more may rank higher on the site”.
Paul Puey: How Bitcoin Will Succeed In Mobile Payments Where Square, Paypal & Google Have Failed
Presented at Bitcoin South; Speakers list and videos
HashProfit.com is a cloud mining service that appears to now be offline. The service which claims to be from Cyprus and has launched an alt currency called Profit Coin that is now traded on several exchanges posted a news item to the homepage of the HashProfit.com website yesterday stating: Attention! There is highly coordinated and […]
The co-founder of Swedish exchange Safello has left the company to join a team of bitcoin security experts in establishing a new bitcoin security firm at tokyo. The move should also see him assisting the investigation into Mt Gox’s missing bitcoins. Emil Oldenburg, whо wаѕ аlѕо Safello’s chief technology officer, left Sweden juѕt lаѕt month […]
The post Safello Co-Founder Emil to Start New Bitcoin Security Firm appeared first on Bitcoin News Updates, Tips & Information.
One of India’s largest TV networks, New Delhi Television Limited, aired a special program with the Governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Raghuram Rajan. The show which was titled, “India Forecast”, gathered students from several local universities to ask the head of India’s central bank various questions about the economy.
The hour long show started with the host, Dr Prannoy Roy, asking about Rajan’s long career – from being an academic, to becoming the chief economist for the International Monetary Fund, and now the head of RBI. The conversation then opened up to questions about e-commerce from the audience, until one student asked him about bitcoin.
“My question is not exactly related to e-commerce, but to a more important topic of bitcoins. Being from the Chicago School of Thought, you propagate more free markets. So, I want to know, what is your view as a regulator on free banking, and having more of equitable currencies floating in the market?”.
“I have no doubt that down the line, we will be moving towards primarily a cashless society and we’ll have some kind of currencies like this which will be at work. For us at the Reserve Bank, this may happen in 10 to 20 years from now,” -Raghuram Rajan, Governor of the Indian Reserve Bank.
He continued on the topic and shared his opinion on digital-currencies, “See, I think we’re still watching the evolution of these kinds of currencies. One of the problems that we envisaged with bitcoin, one of course was security issues and you’ve seen that they’re not as secure as people thought they were and there have been stolen bitcoins and so on. But the second issue was the fluctuation in value. For money, you require something called a stable store of value and something that fluctuates so much is less effective in use as money. There are some lessons to be learned from the technologies that bitcoin has employed, some of them are useful, some of them are worrisome. We have to see how we take on board such technologies. But I think these virtual currencies will certainly get much better, much safer and over time will be the form of transaction, and that’s for sure”.
He then touched on how currencies in India could affect RBI, “We’ll have to figure out how we make money because the way we generate most of our revenue is through forms of Seigniorage. People are willing to hold currency free of interest and that’s how we make money, but we’ll figure that out”.
Dr. Roy asked the head of the central bank to clarify that he saw virtual currency as part of India’s future he, “You know, in a sense, credit cards are already performing some of that role. The amount of rupees that flow through your hands I presume are far less than used to before credit cards. Yes, we want to permit. I mean we’re not saying we’re going to lose money therefore we won’t do it, we’ll find some other way of getting money, maybe the government will fund us eventually”.
India’s adoption of bitcoin, like many other places in the world, has been greatly affected by an uncertain regulatory schemes for the new currency. The RBI released their first guidance on digital currency shortly after Bitcoin’s price rose above $1,000 in December of 2013. They cautioned users about its use and highlighting how the currency was not banked by a central issuer and could be used for illicit means.
Several Indian exchanges were either raided by police or voluntarily shut down shortly after the announcement. “When the Bitcoin price skyrocketed, there were many Ponzi schemes and butcher shops around trying to loot the Indian investors. Hence RBI warned the Bitcoin usage and shutter down the butcher shops and seized the Ponzi houses but RBI never said bitcoin was illegal,” said Mupparaju Siva Kameswara Rao, CEO of BTCXIndia, speaking to BNC News. “Real players and start-ups like us have come across since and are working together with the Indian Bitcoin community to influence authorities to ensure appropriate regulation will be in place”.
Unocoin is an Indian bitcoin exchange founded in early December, while regulatory waters in India were still very uncertain. The exchange has since grown to be one of the largest in India and received a 250k investment from chairmen of SecondMarket and founder of Bitcoin Investment Fund, Barry Silbert.
Speaking to BNC News, Unocoin CEO Sathvik Vishwanath says he sees the position the governor of RBI improving since their first guidance on bitcoin, “It looks like there has been some change in the opinion in a good way. Last warning was more about the financial risks associated due to fluctuations and legal risks due to AML and Funding of Terrorism Act. This time it is about security of bitcoin which logically the next concern from a regulatory body like RBI. As they are expressing this concern, I believe their understanding about bitcoin has improved since an year as in such financial risk is inevitable in such a disruptive technology and bitcoin is a not the best choice for doing illegal activities.”
RBI said they were investigating how bitcoin would fit in India’s existing laws in their last guidance, but to this date bitcoin remains an unregulated industry in India. Rao feels that will eventually change, “I am certain, RBI/Indian regulatory bodies will regulate the Bitcoin within 4 years down the line. The main challenge will be to adapt current legislation to make it workable for crypto currency; a process that will take time to get right. It will have be implemented on such a level that it manages the risks of a decentralized currency, but are allows for India to draw the benefits of bitcoins potential and unique features”.
On the heels of the Bitcoin St Petersburg Bowl event aired on Friday evening, Tony Sakich, Marketing Manager at BitPay jumped onto reddit to answer any questions the public may have.
When the restaurant Beef O’Brady’s resigned as sponsor for the St Petersburg Bowl, the role was quickly scooped up by BitPay. BitPay, the Bitcoin payment processor was the core sponsor of the college football game between North Carolina State University and the University of Central Florida which took place in Florida.
There was certainly a buzz, and it wasn’t just about football. The pre-sale tickets were sold exclusively for Bitcoin. Mr. Bitcoin made his mark as a mascot wearing hot pink glasses and a matching top hat. Not to mention Outlaw Country music star Shooter Jennings giving his massive shout out for Changetip.
In the “Ask Me Anything” subreddit Sakich explained he: “has always been a futurist at heart and fell in love with the cleverness of Bitcoin about 3 years ago”. The campaign for the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl would have been no small feat. When Sakich was asked if he felt the event was a success, he responded confidently, “It was the first time anything bitcoin related trended nationwide so I would say yes in that aspect. We also introduced many new people to bitcoin which is always a giant win.” – TonySBitPay
During the game, ESPN aired two BitPay commercials filmed by the Felton Interactive Group, a local production team hired for the two projects. The commercials allegedly reached over 100 million households and both took on their own identity. One embodied humor by representing credit card companies as mafia men collecting their fees, and the second targeted merchants explaining the benefits they can receive from using BitPay.
BitPay Television Commercial:
BitPay Professionals Commercial:
“BitPay seems to work hard to strike a balance between shining the spotlight on bitcoin and advertising its own service. As a regular bitcoin user I don’t hear a lot about BitPay even though you’re a very successful payment processor. What is the thought process behind the management of your brand image?”
“We realize that the success to bitcoin is consistent, open-source development of the bitcoin protocol and technologies surrounding it so supporting that is always a priority. BitPay also focuses on merchants as we are exclusively a payment processor. Our client operations and compliance team’s only concern is to continue to make the onboarding process easier and the level of customer service superior to not only every other bitcoin payment processor, but every other payment processor period.” –-TonySBitPay
Sakich further explains in the subreddit, that BitPay focuses heavily on merchants. This can be seen in the latest documentary ‘The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin’ in which Roger Ver explains the concept of BitPay to a grocery store owner in the San Francisco Bay area.
“Most things in running a successful business haven’t changed, and providing quality customer service along with addressing concerns in a human way is what we do. No company runs error-free, but good companies admit their mistakes and try to do everything they can to make them right for the customer. So far, we feel we have done a good job at that.”
When Sakich was asked if he viewed the publicity as a success, he advised that he is, “Comfortable to say that more people have been exposed to bitcoin than ever before.” According to trendsmap.com, it wasn’t just the United States retweeting the college football game. #bitcoinbowl could be seen in Europe, Africa, Australia, Japan, Philippines and Bali. According to Topsy.com at the time of writing this article 19,413 tweets contained #bitcoinbowl. Not a bad effort for the campaign, and it appears that the Bitcoin community feel the same way congratulating Tony on a job well done.
“Brilliantly executed campaign tonight, Tony. It was amazing to see all the various personalities (from Warner Bros Records to a professional wrestler) throwing out support on Twitter. Continue to be amazed by all the great work you and BitPay are doing for the ecosystem. Keep it up!”
Sakich continued to answer questions, by also giving his personal opinion on the future of bitcoin as a currency. “The number of people using bitcoin keeps growing, the number of merchants keep growing and the amount of investment in the technology’s infrastructure keeps growing. Those are metrics that mean the use is growing and that it is being taken more seriously.”
Sakich keeps his own bitcoin as savings and has no concern over the price as it is getting easier to use. “Seeing how hard it was to acquire and use bitcoin 3 years ago vs. how it is now really shows the growth.”
If you were investing in tech stocks back in the late nineties, you may still be trying to recover your initial investment. It’s been 15 years since the NASDAQ index hit an all-time high of just over 5000, yet it still hasn’t regained that high which was driven by intense speculation on the value of Internet-based companies.
Here we are just over a year since Bitcoin bubbled to over $1000, and the recovery is nowhere in sight. Is the technology still sound? Yes. Is it gaining adoption? Yes. Perhaps just a little patience is in order. Maybe even 2015 or 2016 will be too soon.
Claudia Weersing: Why Pyramid Valley Wines Accepts Bitcoin
Presented at Bitcoin South; Speakers list and videos
After Bitcoinkiez (which can be translated to ’Bitcoin neighborhood’) in Berlin, Germany is getting its second location dedicated to the world’s most famous cryptocurrency. And this time Hannover is the place of choice. Hannover’s Bitcoin Boulevard already has about a dozen merchants interested in accepting BTC as a payment option. The list includes restaurants, bars, an electronics …