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Author Topic: Reloading a pre-paid gas card via bitcoin  (Read 3608 times)
MoonShadow
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November 21, 2010, 02:37:29 AM
 #1

It just struck me, and yes, it hurt.

If a MtGox user can export part of his cash balance directly into a gas card, then this would become a real world way for users to benefit without the round-about methods of getting cash out.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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jgarzik
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November 21, 2010, 02:55:51 AM
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Doesn't have to be a gas card; it could be any VISA debit card.

Several Liberty Reserve exchangers permit transfer to debit card.  Certainly a market niche exists for BTC-to-debit services.  Anybody know reputable services that produce gift or debit cards?

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November 21, 2010, 03:37:20 AM
 #3

I can do Amazon.com gift cards for Mt Gox dollars.

Not exactly what you are after but its a start.


http://www.virtualvcard.com.au/Purchase.aspx  I can also get these. They cost $5.50 for amounts from $50 to $1000 and if you spend them outside Australia there is a 3.5% currency conversion fee. I can also send them as a gift to anyone with an email address and you can use them wherever visa cards are accepted.

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November 21, 2010, 12:50:04 PM
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What is "gas card"?

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November 21, 2010, 01:26:05 PM
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I guess it is gas +petrol, gasoline) to fuel your car

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RHorning
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November 21, 2010, 01:37:25 PM
 #6

What is "gas card"?

I don't know specifically what is being referenced here as I usually don't use that term, but the cultural reference is to pre-paid gasoline cards that look similar to a credit card and can be used for purchase of motor fuel and snacks at a fuel refilling station.  Sometimes they may be more widely recognized with other business establishments too, depending on how they've been marketed.

In terms of something to use in America, I was thinking perhaps something like a Wal-Mart gift card might be a bit more universal.  The nice thing is that you could use the money for nearly anything you might want, at least if you are interested in buying cheap Chinese goods or want to buy some groceries.  There might be some resistance as there is sort of a cultural meme fighting Wal-Mart too in terms of some who don't want that store to take over all retail business in America (a perceived if not actual threat) but it at least would be a realistic way to convert bitcoins to dollars without having to go directly through credit cards or services like PayPal.  As far as I know, you can't do a "charge back" on a Wal-Mart gift card, unless you purchased it with a credit card in the first place.  That becomes Wal-Mart's problem, not yours.

The one down side to gift cards is that they are "backed" by the company who operates the store that you purchase them from.  Then again, if Wal-Mart files for bankruptcy, America is screwed and unemployment nationally will go up a percentage point or two.  They are a large enough company that at least in the short term that shouldn't be a major concern.

I did briefly think how cool it would be to buy gift cards and fill them directly with bitcoins.  From a technology viewpoint it would be a trivial exercise, but any merchant doing that directly would certainly have to buy in to Bitcoins as a currency and have something to do with them once they are received.

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November 21, 2010, 01:50:49 PM
 #7

Clearly! in Russia we have theese "benzine" cards too

This method may be suitable because any such gift certificates and cash cards are not controlled as money but have stable price.

What about try to use good old postage stamps or envelopes? Smiley Although they are now probably worthless, but in the past 100-200 years ago there was quite possible to use as the money (I read it in books)

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November 21, 2010, 05:19:32 PM
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In terms of something to use in America, I was thinking perhaps something like a Wal-Mart gift card might be a bit more universal.  The nice thing is that you could use the money for nearly anything you might want, at least if you are interested in buying cheap Chinese goods or want to buy some groceries.  There might be some resistance as there is sort of a cultural meme fighting Wal-Mart too in terms of some who don't want that store to take over all retail business in America (a perceived if not actual threat) but it at least would be a realistic way to convert bitcoins to dollars without having to go directly through credit cards or services like PayPal.  As far as I know, you can't do a "charge back" on a Wal-Mart gift card, unless you purchased it with a credit card in the first place.  That becomes Wal-Mart's problem, not yours.

Wal-Mart gift cards are VISA, and may be used at any store that accepts VISA.

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RHorning
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November 21, 2010, 06:48:00 PM
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Wal-Mart gift cards are VISA, and may be used at any store that accepts VISA.

Wal-Mart has VISA gift cards, but I wasn't aware that they were the same thing.  The ones I am familiar with don't have the VISA logo nor do they have any numbers on the outside, although they do have the same digit encoding system that most credit cards use.

It might be fun to try it out and see if I can buy gas with one of those Wal-Mart gift cards.  Somehow I don't think it will work.

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jgarzik
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November 21, 2010, 06:56:05 PM
 #10

I have actually bought gas and amazon.com stuff using the Wal-Mart VISA gift card.

Jeff Garzik, bitcoin core dev team and BitPay engineer; opinions are my own, not my employer.
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RHorning
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November 21, 2010, 07:17:38 PM
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I have actually bought gas and amazon.com stuff using the Wal-Mart VISA gift card.

I just don't think we are talking about the same thing here.  Wal-Mart, also sells regular gift cards without the VISA logo and they are treated strictly internally as a debit purchase but can't be used outside of Wal-Mart.  There are no fees for their use at all, either to Wal-Mart (they sort of act as the bank in this case to themselves) or to the customer.  They may have the card number encoded on the magnetic strip, but I don't think it is a VISA routing number in this case.  The card number is printed without the raised relief numbers.

Regardless, if you can get a VISA gift card, it can be used a little more universally, so it may be a better approach to take.  Just make sure it has that VISA logo on it before you buy it or put more money on it.  The use of the VISA card does cost the merchant extra money to use, but it is no different than other credit card purchases.

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