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Author Topic: One of the most important things Bitcoin needs in order to become mainstream  (Read 2416 times)
Bruce Wagner
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November 22, 2010, 03:39:12 AM
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I was telling a merchant friend about Bitcoin today.

His first question / concern led me to this suggestion...

____

One of the most important things Bitcoin needs in order to become mainstream for transaction processing...  (besides an Android App that's a front-end interface for instantaneous transactions from phone to phone, using MtGox or MyBitcoin as the back-end...)  is:

A "Recurring Subscription" Feature  -  Automatic Recurring Payments

It might be cool to integrate this feature into the standard Bitcoin App.... as a  "Scheduled Transactions"  and/or  "Automatically Recurring Transactions"

Or, add the feature to web-based transaction sites, like MtGox and MyBitcoin...

I see it possibly working like this, for example:

A Merchant's Shopping Cart, on the Merchant's web site, could  "Request"  a "MtGox Subscription" from a Customer... (upon customer signing up for some service)...

Customer gets notified by email.

Customer must then log in to MtGox and click "CONFIRM" to confirm the new Subscription... thus creating a new Recurring Automatic Payment to that Merchant...of the same amount every month.

Then, every month, that amount will automatically be sent from Customer's MtGox account to Merchant's MtGox account (with payment/subscription record number).

This continues until Customer CANCELs that automatically recurring payment.
_____

This feature --- the ability for a merchant to automatically get paid every month --- is absolutely essential for many types of businesses....  and it is a feature currently glaringly MISSING from Bitcoin as of now.
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November 22, 2010, 05:01:35 AM
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Maybe to some people, but recurring payments have a huge negative association to me (stupid gyms, hassles when changing/closing accounts, etc).

I realize those particular issues won't exist, but I greatly prefer a service to lapse if I forget about it than to keep paying if I forget about it, though I can imagine exceptions, like web hosting or something.

I'm sure it'll happen soon anyway, it's super simple to implement once everything else is in place like at mtgox.

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November 22, 2010, 05:06:00 AM
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Subscriptions are quite difficult for bitcoin, because bitcoin lacks a sort of "demand payment" feature.  Demand payments occur when you give a merchant a "secret" (ie. your CC number / expire date), that enables direct withdrawal from your account.

Community-wise, I'd bet most bitcoin users would shy away from a system that enables third parties to withdraw bitcoins from you at their convenience.

The closest you can probably come is adding a "cron" feature to mtgox or bitcoin, which sends payments on a pre-defined schedule, to pre-defined bitcoin addresses.  Such a feature leaves the user in control of their wallet, as they can cancel a "cron job" at any time.

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November 22, 2010, 05:51:16 AM
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This feature --- the ability for a merchant to automatically get paid every month --- is absolutely essential for many types of businesses....  and it is a feature currently glaringly MISSING from Bitcoin as of now.


What you are asking is basicly an accounting program that can handle multiple currencies, and can authorize bitcoind to sent out a payment.  That could be done with a Gnucash or Quicken Pro plug-in, as both can handle multiple currencies.  I'm sure such a plug-in will be written when the market is ripe, but there is no reason that the standard bitcoin client should need to be able to do this.

"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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November 22, 2010, 07:41:55 AM
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Subscriptions are quite difficult for bitcoin, because bitcoin lacks a sort of "demand payment" feature.  Demand payments occur when you give a merchant a "secret" (ie. your CC number / expire date), that enables direct withdrawal from your account.

Community-wise, I'd bet most bitcoin users would shy away from a system that enables third parties to withdraw bitcoins from you at their convenience.

The closest you can probably come is adding a "cron" feature to mtgox or bitcoin, which sends payments on a pre-defined schedule, to pre-defined bitcoin addresses.  Such a feature leaves the user in control of their wallet, as they can cancel a "cron job" at any time.

He's talking about someone like mtgox implementing it, super easy.

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November 22, 2010, 07:52:15 AM
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This has absolutely no reason to be integrated into bitcoin.  Just make it as a separate software if you really want something like that.

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November 22, 2010, 08:11:20 AM
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This has absolutely no reason to be integrated into bitcoin.  Just make it as a separate software if you really want something like that.

K.I.S.S.


He says that, and that would be better. There is no reason it couldn't be an option in a client at some point when there are tons of clients though. Obviously bitcoin itself shouldn't be altered or anything. But really, there is no way that saving people 3 clicks a few times a month is one of the most important hold ups, it's just one more possible nice feature.

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November 22, 2010, 08:26:33 AM
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I think what your merchant friend was trying to say is that, unlike credit card users, Bitcoin users can't be suckered into signing up for recurrent payment schemes that are then a big hassle to cancel, where the merchant ends up with a lot of recurrently paying customers that are only customers because they are too apathetic/computer illiterate/disorganised/embarrassed(in the case of porn) to cancel the recurring payment. Not because they still genuinely want the product, or genuinely prefer it to the competitor's product.

Bitcoin takes away control from large financial institutions and colluding merchants and gives control back to the user.

I understand that a lot of internet merchants have a problem with this because their whole business model is based on this odious practice rather than offering a superior product.

I for one, would be happy so see these types of merchants go bankrupt one by one as Bitcoin gains popularity.

A more competitive internet economy can only be a good thing.

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November 22, 2010, 09:11:23 AM
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I think what your merchant friend was trying to say is that, unlike credit card users, Bitcoin users can't be suckered into signing up for recurrent payment schemes that are then a big hassle to cancel, where the merchant ends up with a lot of recurrently paying customers that are only customers because they are too apathetic/computer illiterate/disorganised/embarrassed(in the case of porn) to cancel the recurring payment. Not because they still genuinely want the product, or genuinely prefer it to the competitor's product.

Bitcoin takes away control from large financial institutions and colluding merchants and gives control back to the user.

I understand that a lot of internet merchants have a problem with this because their whole business model is based on this odious practice rather than offering a superior product.

I for one, would be happy so see these types of merchants go bankrupt one by one as Bitcoin gains popularity.

A more competitive internet economy can only be a good thing.


+1
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November 22, 2010, 09:57:20 AM
 #10

If I really wanted to set up a recurring payment, this would currently take me about 2 minutes.

Example: I want to donate 200 BTC to the EFF on the 15th of every month.

1) create a file called DonateToEFF.cron

2) edit file:
* * 15 * * ~/programs/bitcoin-0.3.15/bin/64/bitcoind sendtoaddress 1MCwBbhNGp5hRm5rC1Aims2YFRe2SXPYKt 200

3)$ crontab DonateToEFF.cron

done!

Also, it shouldn't be difficult for Bitcoin web interface providers such as mybitcoin.com to develop scheduled payments for non-geeks.

There is no reason to bloat the Bitcoin client with this kind of functionality when it can be done more flexibly outside the client.

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November 22, 2010, 10:09:57 AM
 #11

I wouldnt see anything wrong with having a "metered payment" system where you fill up a wallet and recurring payments get taken from it untill its empty or you refill it. This gives the consumer ultimate power and ensures the merchant is giving the customers a service they will keep paying for.

While it might be a pain to be in the middle of something when your wallet runs out its better than the alternative of shonky merchants making it impossible to cancel your account.
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November 22, 2010, 11:31:00 AM
 #12


I was telling a merchant friend about Bitcoin today.

His first question / concern led me to this suggestion...

____

One of the most important things Bitcoin needs in order to become mainstream for transaction processing...  (besides an Android App that's a front-end interface for instantaneous transactions from phone to phone, using MtGox or MyBitcoin as the back-end...)  is:

A "Recurring Subscription" Feature  -  Automatic Recurring Payments

It might be cool to integrate this feature into the standard Bitcoin App.... as a  "Scheduled Transactions"  and/or  "Automatically Recurring Transactions"

Or, add the feature to web-based transaction sites, like MtGox and MyBitcoin...

I see it possibly working like this, for example:

A Merchant's Shopping Cart, on the Merchant's web site, could  "Request"  a "MtGox Subscription" from a Customer... (upon customer signing up for some service)...

Customer gets notified by email.

Customer must then log in to MtGox and click "CONFIRM" to confirm the new Subscription... thus creating a new Recurring Automatic Payment to that Merchant...of the same amount every month.

The feature You are talking about seems like 50-100 lines of PHP or bash shell code to me.

Why not just write another application which will communicate with bitcoin via RPC ?
If it's so easy, merchants can do it themselves.

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November 22, 2010, 10:55:34 PM
 #13

Compared to you guys, I guess I am a total non-geek.   Wink

I have no interest, and very limited skill, in writing even one line of code.   My merchant friends are not technical at all.   For example, one owns a restaurant - sort of a Chipotle for Middle Eastern food.    Another one does Prosperity Workshops.   (Don't ask me what those are?!)   Another is a pop singing duo who sells access to a web site for donating fans.

In all these cases, they need something as easy to use, and as intuitive to use, as Google Search...

I was not suggesting that Recurring Payments be built-in to the standard client  ( although it's possible that some future clients could include that )...  I was suggesting that someone like  MtGox.com  and/or  MyBitcoin.com  add these features.

The idea is....

For example, on my MtGox  "My Account"  page...   I'd see a list of  Recurring Payments.   That list would show me that I have the following recurring payments:

-  Gold's_Gym    BTC  200.00    1st day of every month      Memo: "Account 481238"            [Edit]  [Cancel this recurring payment]
-  Arvixe.com    BTC   16.50     15th day of every month    Memo: "Username jazzyguy"        [Edit]  [Cancel this recurring payment]
-  Put.io           BTC   16.50     25th day of every month    Memo: "loopydude"                    [Edit]  [Cancel this recurring payment]
-  AdNetwork     USD  100.00    every week on Monday      Memo: "646-580-2821"               [Edit]  [Cancel this recurring payment]
-  EFF               BTC  350.00    1st day of every month      Memo: "Thanks for all you do!"    [Edit]  [Cancel this recurring payment]

I, as the "Customer", could initiate a recurring payment..... of course.

And, just for the sake of convenience, the "Merchant" could initiate a "Request for a Recurring Payment".... via MtGox.   All it would do is email me (the Customer) a link.  When I click that link, it would automatically create a new Recurring Payment...  But require me to click  "ACCEPT AND ADD THIS REQUEST"  or  "CANCEL THIS REQUEST".    If I click "Accept and Add", then the details would be inserted for me automatically....  just to save me typing.   (This is important!  Customers are very very lazy!)

Many many many merchants reply on regular monthly subscriptions.   It's not a bad thing....  as long as the Customer is in control of them.   Traditional banks offer "Online Bill Payment" systems, and they normally always have a Recurring Payments function.   It is essential.

Notice the entry for "AdNetwork" in my table above is listed in  "USD", not BTC.  The idea is, the Merchant could require only USD to be paid.... or only BTC.  It would work either way....  as long as I maintain a sufficient balance in the proper currency....  to accommodate the automatic recurring payments I have scheduled for my account.
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November 22, 2010, 11:27:13 PM
 #14

Compared to you guys, I guess I am a total non-geek.   Wink

I have no interest, and very limited skill, in writing even one line of code.   My merchant friends are not technical at all.   For example, one owns a restaurant - sort of a Chipotle for Middle Eastern food.    Another one does Prosperity Workshops.   (Don't ask me what those are?!)   Another is a pop singing duo who sells access to a web site for donating fans.

In all these cases, they need something as easy to use, and as intuitive to use, as Google Search...

I was not suggesting that Recurring Payments be built-in to the standard client  ( although it's possible that some future clients could include that )...  I was suggesting that someone like  MtGox.com  and/or  MyBitcoin.com  add these features.

The idea is....

For example, on my MtGox  "My Account"  page...   I'd see a list of  Recurring Payments.   That list would show me that I have the following recurring payments:

-  Gold's_Gym    BTC  200.00    1st day of every month      Memo: "Account 481238"            [Edit]  [Cancel this recurring payment]
-  Arvixe.com    BTC   16.50     15th day of every month    Memo: "Username jazzyguy"        [Edit]  [Cancel this recurring payment]
-  Put.io           BTC   16.50     25th day of every month    Memo: "loopydude"                    [Edit]  [Cancel this recurring payment]
-  AdNetwork     USD  100.00    every week on Monday      Memo: "646-580-2821"               [Edit]  [Cancel this recurring payment]
-  EFF               BTC  350.00    1st day of every month      Memo: "Thanks for all you do!"    [Edit]  [Cancel this recurring payment]

I, as the "Customer", could initiate a recurring payment..... of course.

And, just for the sake of convenience, the "Merchant" could initiate a "Request for a Recurring Payment".... via MtGox.   All it would do is email me (the Customer) a link.  When I click that link, it would automatically create a new Recurring Payment...  But require me to click  "ACCEPT AND ADD THIS REQUEST"  or  "CANCEL THIS REQUEST".    If I click "Accept and Add", then the details would be inserted for me automatically....  just to save me typing.   (This is important!  Customers are very very lazy!)

Many many many merchants reply on regular monthly subscriptions.   It's not a bad thing....  as long as the Customer is in control of them.   Traditional banks offer "Online Bill Payment" systems, and they normally always have a Recurring Payments function.   It is essential.

Notice the entry for "AdNetwork" in my table above is listed in  "USD", not BTC.  The idea is, the Merchant could require only USD to be paid.... or only BTC.  It would work either way....  as long as I maintain a sufficient balance in the proper currency....  to accommodate the automatic recurring payments I have scheduled for my account.



It does seem perfectly reasonable Bruce Smiley   I have a few podcasts I listen too and it would be nice to send them a monthly bitcoin donation. Using paypal for some reason they cancel your subscriptions at the drop of a hat. Also unless you donate $5 a month or more it is all taken as fees. Bitcoin wont have that problem.

I think we should listen for these suggestions and take note of them.

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November 22, 2010, 11:52:04 PM
 #15

 
Another is a pop singing duo who sells access to a web site for donating fans.


"Wendy?"

"Yes, Lisa."

"Are we ready?"

"Yes, Lisa."

http://www.wendyandlisa.com/


"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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November 22, 2010, 11:56:46 PM
 #16

"Wendy?"
"Yes, Lisa."

LOL....   No...   You guys are so "straight-laced", shall we say.    Showtime (the cable network in the US) made a movie about my friends lives...  They are:  http://jasonanddemarco.com

Email them and tell them you want to donate to them... in Bitcoin...  Wink     ( Don't mention me. )
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November 23, 2010, 12:21:58 AM
 #17

"Wendy?"
"Yes, Lisa."

LOL....   No...   You guys are so "straight-laced", shall we say. 

I think that I just got called an old square.

"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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November 23, 2010, 12:48:13 AM
 #18

No...   just "straight".    It's not a bad thing.    Smiley
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