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Author Topic: Bridgewalker: euro-denominated wallet for the Bitcoin economy[Now part of Hive!]  (Read 4997 times)
jav
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March 23, 2013, 04:17:03 PM
 #1

I am excited to announce the launch of "Bridgewalker". After giving Instawallet into the capable hands of Paymium, I had some time to focus on this new project, which I believe is an important stepping stone in making Bitcoin more useful while it is still under the influence of the volatility of its small market.

The basic idea is simple: Bridgewalker is a (hosted) Bitcoin wallet for Android smartphones, which allows you to receive and send bitcoins. So far, pretty standard. The difference is, that you will never hold bitcoins for more than a few seconds, as Bridgewalker will automatically exchange them for Euros as soon as you receive them (and they confirm) and will only buy bitcoins just that moment when you are about to send them. You can therefore use Bitcoin solely as a payment network, while being protected from market swings.



  Get the app at: https://www.bridgewalkerapp.com/ !

A word about fees: You might assume that all that exchanging back and forth is prohibitively expensive. But it is actually not too bad (in my opinion), although there is certainly room for improvement. The fee for a "round trip" currently works out to around 1.5 %. Which means, if you send 1 BTC to Bridgewalker and then back right away, you are left with 0.985 BTC. This includes both exchange fees and losses through market spread (Bridgewalker currently uses Mt.Gox for currency exchange). The fees should go down though, as Bridgewalker's volume increases.

One additional feature: Green addresses (https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Green_address) make a comeback here. Bridgewalker accepts transactions from certain green addresses (at the moment only Mt.Gox) instantaneously and in turn sends out transactions that can be identified by the green address 1MAxx46Dp3tFw933PxPwEYYGCpxYda2pyH .

Feedback and comments much appreciated! :-)

Edit: Updated description to account for change of counter currency from USD to EUR (11/2013).

Edit: Bridgewalker has been acquired by Hive! (11/2013).

Edit: Bridgewalker is shutting down (03/2014).

Hive, a beautiful wallet with an app platform for Mac OS X, Android and Mobile Web. Translators wanted! iOS and OS X devs see BitcoinKit. Tweets @hivewallet. Donations appreciated at 1HLRg9C1GsfEVH555hgcjzDeas14jen2Cn.
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March 23, 2013, 06:17:30 PM
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Sounds like a very interesting direction! In what manner does the receiving party accept the Dollars? How does one transfer Dollars into the service?

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March 23, 2013, 06:24:24 PM
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Something like this will be the killer app that brings Bitcoin into Joe/Jane average's living room/phone handset.

While nerds like us would probably rather hold bitcoin than bankster paper, a method for peeps to hold fiat while using Bitcoin purely as a payment network is ingenious and needed: perfect competition for Western Union and its ilk.

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jav
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March 23, 2013, 06:42:13 PM
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Sounds like a very interesting direction! In what manner does the receiving party accept the Dollars? How does one transfer Dollars into the service?

The "interface" to the rest of the world, so to speak, is only Bitcoin. Bitcoin in, Bitcoin out. So in order to fund the account, you will have to buy bitcoins from somewhere else and transfer them. That might seem like an unnecessary step (use USD to buy BTC, just to have Bridgewalker convert it back), but I cannot and do not want to accept USD. Others are much better at selling coins and Bitcoin is the universal glue between us.

Something like this will be the killer app that brings Bitcoin into Joe/Jane average's living room/phone handset.

While nerds like us would probably rather hold bitcoin than bankster paper, a method for peeps to hold fiat while using Bitcoin purely as a payment network is ingenious and needed: perfect competition for Western Union and its ilk.

Thanks! I absolutely agree. This is certainly not for everyone and I am all for doing everything directly in BTC. But this is a middle ground for people who are not quite ready to trust some weird internet money, but see the appeal in the Bitcoin payment mechanism as a kind of "cash for the digital world".

Hive, a beautiful wallet with an app platform for Mac OS X, Android and Mobile Web. Translators wanted! iOS and OS X devs see BitcoinKit. Tweets @hivewallet. Donations appreciated at 1HLRg9C1GsfEVH555hgcjzDeas14jen2Cn.
acoindr
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March 23, 2013, 06:46:32 PM
 #5

FAN-TAS-TIC  Smiley

Yet another portion of my prediction from the Solution to the Bitcoin Foundation post coming true.

... So far, pretty standard. The difference is, that you will never hold bitcoins for more than a few seconds, as Bridgewalker will automatically exchange them for US dollar as soon as you receive them (and they confirm) and will only buy bitcoins just that moment when you are about to send them. ...


If over 95% of your wealth is usually in gold, for example, are you ever really concerned about a 51% attack, or the possibility of new and better cryptocurrencies? Not really. You only hold a given cryptocurrency for short periods of time, probably based on exchanged rates, and perhaps even managed by a professional.


And as for this:

You can therefore use Bitcoin solely as a payment network, while being protected from market swings.

You're not only protected from market swings, but as I also said in my post from 51% attacks:

As I pondered the implications of all this I realized this also solves the 51% attack.

In other words, I see a future where people do not use bitcoins (or other cryptocurrencies) as their main store of value. They are too volatile and unpredictable; even further down the line there are many unknowns. Instead people will use crypto-coins for what they are best at which is transferring value. They will probably use gold/pm's for what they are best at, which is storing value. Many people will hold bitcoins, and other cryptocurrencies only long enough to get what they need. There will always be investors and speculators, of course, but primarily no cryptocurrency will be used in the way people now use cash, where they keep 99% of their wealth permanently stored there.
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March 23, 2013, 06:50:04 PM
 #6

great job!

Jan I don't have an android phone but can you test something for me.

1.  on the phones web browser go here and click on the URI link in the first section.

http://lovebitcoins.org/developers.html

does it open your wallet app and pre-compose a send bitcoins transaction with the address and amount filled in?  and then wait for the "send" button to be pressed?

2.  use your app to scan the QR code in the second section. does it also bring in the address and amount?

if so we will add you to the recommended wallets list on BitPay as being fully URI compatible

https://bitpay.com/bitcoin-compatible-wallets

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Does your website accept bitcoins?
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March 23, 2013, 06:55:04 PM
 #7

Looks impressive. I'm sure a lot of people will find this useful.

But what about trust? Namely, who does the user have to trust?

I skimmed the website, and it wasn't clear to me what happens when an account is created. Is this an account with the Bridgewalker service? Or with Mt. Gox? Do you have access to the bitcoin transactions involved in using this app? What about the Mt. Gox accounts used?

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March 23, 2013, 06:56:24 PM
 #8

Super creative idea. I love it.
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March 23, 2013, 07:01:14 PM
 #9

ONLY 1.5% oh boy. Thats only if you never actually use that $ balance...  if you ever actually transfer that in or out of gox to use is the real world, that % is larger than credit cards will ever be.
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March 23, 2013, 07:31:49 PM
 #10

Payment vehicle rather than speculative instrument this I believe is what btc should be.   Grin
jav
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March 23, 2013, 07:43:22 PM
 #11

FAN-TAS-TIC  Smiley

Glad you like it! :-) .. I agree with some of the points you make! Although personally I would rather see something like Bridgewalker becoming obsolete in the long run and - as the Bitcoin economy matures - things moving completely over into BTC. If only for efficiency reasons (avoid constant currency exchange). But at the moment that's simply not practical and probably will not be for quite some time. The popularity of payment processors like BitPay show, that at this point it is necessary to peg prices to USD because there is just too much volatility. And that's fine. This tool aims to bring the same concept to the customer side. Where merchants accept BTC and end up with USD, customers can use Bridgewalker to hold USD and pay in the form of Bitcoin transactions. The important point is, that Bitcoin is the neutral interface between them.

1.  on the phones web browser go here and click on the URI link in the first section.

http://lovebitcoins.org/developers.html

does it open your wallet app and pre-compose a send bitcoins transaction with the address and amount filled in?  and then wait for the "send" button to be pressed?

2.  use your app to scan the QR code in the second section. does it also bring in the address and amount?

Scanning the QR code works! I support both things like "bitcoin:1asdf?amount=0.123" as well as the "broken" variant with "bitcoin://1asdf"

The URI link does not work at the moment, I haven't looked into where exactly I need to hook into there. But I definitely plan to support that! I'll let you know, when an update is available.

But what about trust? Namely, who does the user have to trust?

I skimmed the website, and it wasn't clear to me what happens when an account is created. Is this an account with the Bridgewalker service? Or with Mt. Gox? Do you have access to the bitcoin transactions involved in using this app? What about the Mt. Gox accounts used?

Aw, yes, I should put more details about that on the site. The account is with Bridgewalker and all Bitcoin transactions are going to and from Bridgewalker's Bitcoin daemon. Bridgewalker in turn has then one single account with Mt.Gox and transfers bitcoins between it's own wallet and the account at Mt.Gox to do the trading. The end result is, that most user funds end up in Bridgewalker's Mt.Gox account in the form of USD. So you need to trust that a) Mt.Gox keeps their user accounts safe in general and b) I keep the access to Bridgewalker's Mt.Gox account in particular safe. Only a small amount of funds are in BTC at any time, basically just a small hot wallet to be able to send out transactions quickly.

I'll answer more questions later, as I will be away from the computer for a few hours. Thanks for all the feedback so far!

Hive, a beautiful wallet with an app platform for Mac OS X, Android and Mobile Web. Translators wanted! iOS and OS X devs see BitcoinKit. Tweets @hivewallet. Donations appreciated at 1HLRg9C1GsfEVH555hgcjzDeas14jen2Cn.
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March 23, 2013, 08:19:07 PM
 #12

Payment vehicle rather than speculative instrument this I believe is what btc should be.   Grin
I was just going to say the same Smiley

jav: are you considering to release the source code at some point?

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March 23, 2013, 08:30:17 PM
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This is pay pal without high fees. Very clever.

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March 23, 2013, 08:31:47 PM
 #14


The URI link does not work at the moment, I haven't looked into where exactly I need to hook into there. But I definitely plan to support that! I'll let you know, when an update is available.


Awesome!  see what is required to register the bitcoin: protocol in AndroidOS.  BitcoinSpinner and the Andreas Wallet both support this, so the client source code should be able to tell you how its done.

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March 23, 2013, 10:44:59 PM
 #15

This Is exactley what bitcoin needs to go into mainstream. I have been putting steps in place to develop a similar app for Australian users. Bitcoin needs people to be forward thinkers like this to push it along.   
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March 23, 2013, 11:44:25 PM
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Fascinating.

Now - since you're using Gox...

What about currency conversion?  What if I have two accounts with Gox; one in dollars and one in Francs, and I want to settle up with a Frenchman?  Can I send my dollars to your server and have them come out as Francs on the other person's phone?

When can I do that?

And should it cost any extra, or will there be some kind of conversion vigorish?

Inquiring minds want to know...

EDIT:  Should I even need a Gox account in Francs to send Francs with my dollars?  Shouldn't a proper Bridgewalker/Gox interface be able to take care of that?

EDIT #2:  Euros.  Heh.  Old habits die hard...

Dankedan: price seems low, time to sell I think...
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March 24, 2013, 12:00:49 AM
 #17

You solved the problem

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March 24, 2013, 12:04:52 AM
 #18

You solved the problem


I think he did.

Dankedan: price seems low, time to sell I think...
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March 24, 2013, 12:39:19 AM
 #19

You solved the problem


No.  He solved two problems.

Firstly - it brings complete anonymity to bitcoin.  No bank account required - USD are passed around just like cash.  And no Gox account required either, with all of its registration requirements.  With a burner phone paid for with VISA/Master Gift Cards (a phone with a removable battery), it's untraceable.

Eventually you get out your bitcoin to a fresh wallet - or send USD to someone who will hand you the cash.

Secondly - this is how to get bitcoin into anyone's hands quickly and easily.  Every friend you've got:  "Install Bridgewalker and I'll send you that twenty...".  Or:  "...and I'll pay you for that car".  EU cash restrictions are irrelevant, once this is enabled for Euros.

This is awesome.

Dankedan: price seems low, time to sell I think...
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March 24, 2013, 12:45:56 AM
 #20

I advise you to support multiple exchanges as soon as possible.

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