It started as an Idea for a Bitcoin related service, but then I thought It could actually be possible to set up a whole company, with employees and revenues, in an open-source/wikipedia fashion, purely online, purely with with bitcoins. so here goes..
The employees will be paid in bitcoins, the servers will be hosted on farms that accept bitcoins, and the company would practically not be able to do anything with dollars since it would not have a method of keeping USD.
Every member of the community is essentially an employee - and may get payed, with bitcoins, for his contribution. It is jointly decided by consensus how members should be compensated. if people cannot agree, they can fork the company, in the open-source spirit.
This company would be managed on mediawiki similarly to how policies are set on wikipedia. A process which is open and transparent. it may require few trusted
administrators, though they would not have any special rights, just access to resources that require a certain level of trust (e.g. the company's wallet.DAT)
So here's what the company will do in short: A clearinghouse service to let your visitors, customers, subscribers to "Pay with Bitcoin" (very similar to "Pay with PayPal"'). It would offer merchant and other websites which accept payments a super easy way to accept bitcoins as well and get the payment in USD, Bitcoins or any desired split (e.g the company could transfer to the seller his funds 50% in bitcoins and 50% in USD, if he wishes to. The seller enjoys supporting a new high-profiled payment method with a very little effort, and it even reduce his charge-back risks.
It is done using the MtGox API to make sure that bitcoins are sold on realtime whenever customer is making a purchase according to the seller's required bitcoin/cash split. Potentially, fees could be collected to cover for market fluctuations, though it could still be a good deal comparing to PayPal's fees.Employees required:
Online/Offline representatives (reps)About reps:
they would be those who bring new customers to the service and support them. probably a portion of the payment fee should be allocated to their bitcoin account, as they are supporting this account as well. The rep's job could be to contact the merchant, explain to him the nature of the service, and handle the sign-up process until it is fully operational. Get a large merchant, and you can earn yourself a nice monthly recurring income, though you will need to support your customer. They could also be responsible for making sure the funds are transferred to the merchant on a timely fashion.)
I propose that the initial team of administrator would be those who pledge 25+ BTCs to the project. Funds will be used to pay for servers and services as required and decided by the community.
Many thought wikipedia wouldn't work either - and it is quite an amazing accomplishment. I think it's worth giving it a shot.Other thoughts:
Other potential components:
- It could prove to be more secure than paypal - no chargebacks.
- It could really promote bitcoin as new merchants would be accepting it.
- We can build a compatible PayPal interfaces that would make the integration as simple as copy&paste & domain name change - we can make it that easy to accept bitcoins.
- This may be expanded to actual shops (not just online) as more and more people will carry bitcoins on their smartphones and could use it to pay.
Protection against market fluctuations
- A "Pay" page - Page that is called from the merchant, calculate the price in BTC, etc.
- Mgmt interface for reps/other employees
- Integration with the Bitcoin module
- Integration with MtGox to get realtime prices and market data, as well as to sell bitcoins for merchants that wish to get paid in USD.
The market volatility issue can be handled with. The simple solution is to make the fees a bit higher - for example - 5% fee would cover any last min fluctuation with the price (on the long run), and would probably generate a large profit on top of that. The goal would be to find the right fee that would protect the company from changing prices, while remaining reasonable for the merchant and payers. Also, it is possible to examine the actual bids on the integrated Bitcoin exchange - so if a purchase is made, for example, of $1000 in bitcoins, the system could look up the actual exchange-rate in which it can practically sell $1000 worth of bitcoins instantly, according to the current market bids (which may be lower then the current market exchange rate) - and quoting that adjusted exchange rate to the payer.
Many businesses already accept bitcoins, every day there are more, and it would be great if we could accelerate the adoption this way.
thoughts? pledges?Community members interested in taking part:
eyal (me): product design, UI design + 40 BTC pledge