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Author Topic: Web UI ideas  (Read 3366 times)
sirius
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January 13, 2010, 04:13:37 AM
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In addition to the semi-automatic Bitcoin<->PayPal exchange service I'm working on right now, I guess we'll also need a Bitcoin web UI to make the product a breakthrough hit. For many people it's too difficult or bothersome to install and run a node on their own computer, or maybe some don't even have a computer of their own.

A web UI also makes it easier to use your coins from any location with an Internet connection. The need to make backups all the time decreases, as the server does it automatically. Of course you can also download backups of the coins onto your own computer.

The service would have the advantages and disadvantages of centralization: easier access and no need to maintain the program on your own machine, but on the other hand it makes the system more vulnerable. A server storing a lot of money becomes an attractive target for hackers, so banking grade security would be required. A central server is also easier to be shut down for political reasons, so maybe backups should be maintained in different countries.

Some ideas:
- The coins stored on the server would be encrypted with the username and password, so if someone gets the disks, he can't read the coins easily. When setting your password, there should be a widget that shows the password strength.

- For additional security you could order a list of 100 one-use keys snail mailed to your home. Each time you log in, one of these would be required, so all your money can't be stolen by just intercepting the username and password. This technique is used by some banks here.

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January 13, 2010, 06:24:54 AM
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In addition to the semi-automatic Bitcoin<->PayPal exchange service I'm working on right now, I guess we'll also need a Bitcoin web UI to make the product a breakthrough hit. For many people it's too difficult or bothersome to install and run a node on their own computer, or maybe some don't even have a computer of their own.

A web UI also makes it easier to use your coins from any location with an Internet connection. The need to make backups all the time decreases, as the server does it automatically. Of course you can also download backups of the coins onto your own computer.

The service would have the advantages and disadvantages of centralization: easier access and no need to maintain the program on your own machine, but on the other hand it makes the system more vulnerable. A server storing a lot of money becomes an attractive target for hackers, so banking grade security would be required. A central server is also easier to be shut down for political reasons, so maybe backups should be maintained in different countries.

Some ideas:
- The coins stored on the server would be encrypted with the username and password, so if someone gets the disks, he can't read the coins easily. When setting your password, there should be a widget that shows the password strength.

- For additional security you could order a list of 100 one-use keys snail mailed to your home. Each time you log in, one of these would be required, so all your money can't be stolen by just intercepting the username and password. This technique is used by some banks here.

Well I see several problems with this system, most of which are the reasons it seems Bitcoin is being implemented in the first place.

First off, one question, for you and all of Bitcoin.
Paypal has terms in their Acceptable Use Policy, that states transactions related to "currency exchanges" are forbidden. Is this sort of transaction considered a currency exchange? If so, I see problems arising from exchangers using methods like paypal, just like other e-currencies have problem finding easy funding sources.

I think the program is lightweight enough that anyone can install it quite effectively without any problems. For those who don't want to run a node, they don't have to. Using only the program is even easier and faster than logging into a web account and checking any transactions there.

The idea of a server holding all information and being centralized is exactly what Bitcoin is fighting. Truly, it is unnecessary. I could do a bank transfer everytime I wanted to give my neighbor money, or I could just hand them money out of my pocket. In a sense, a web server would be the bank, and the bitcoin program would be out of pocket. There's no real need for the extra step.

I think you are making much more work for what is already a well implemented program that runs on it's own. Central servers in different countries? 100 one use key orders? You could not even run a node from a web app, so technically all this extra work would only be so you could check your account online.
If anything(which may already be in the works?) bitcoin could be used with your mobile phone to check balances and send them to other members. I never tested this system, but something like www.opencoin.org has interested me.


I understand the reasons you feel the way you do, but I honestly just feel it's a lot more work that is unnecessary, and it is causing problems in which Bitcoin is trying to solve in the first place.
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January 13, 2010, 07:45:57 AM
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...

Well I see several problems with this system, most of which are the reasons it seems Bitcoin is being implemented in the first place.

First off, one question, for you and all of Bitcoin.
Paypal has terms in their Acceptable Use Policy, that states transactions related to "currency exchanges" are forbidden. Is this sort of transaction considered a currency exchange? If so, I see problems arising from exchangers using methods like paypal, just like other e-currencies have problem finding easy funding sources.

Damn, that sucks. That prevents the creation of at least high-profile PayPal exchange services. I'll have to think of some other payment service that can support automation. PayPal would have been the easiest.

Quote
I think the program is lightweight enough that anyone can install it quite effectively without any problems. For those who don't want to run a node, they don't have to. Using only the program is even easier and faster than logging into a web account and checking any transactions there.

The idea of a server holding all information and being centralized is exactly what Bitcoin is fighting. Truly, it is unnecessary. I could do a bank transfer everytime I wanted to give my neighbor money, or I could just hand them money out of my pocket. In a sense, a web server would be the bank, and the bitcoin program would be out of pocket. There's no real need for the extra step.

I think you are making much more work for what is already a well implemented program that runs on it's own. Central servers in different countries? 100 one use key orders? You could not even run a node from a web app, so technically all this extra work would only be so you could check your account online.
If anything(which may already be in the works?) bitcoin could be used with your mobile phone to check balances and send them to other members. I never tested this system, but something like www.opencoin.org has interested me.

I understand the reasons you feel the way you do, but I honestly just feel it's a lot more work that is unnecessary, and it is causing problems in which Bitcoin is trying to solve in the first place.

There's certainly demand on the market for accessing your money from any computer and not having to worry about backups, and I believe web UI's will sooner or later emerge to fill that need when the number of Bitcoin users increases. Centralized access points like the web UI wouldn't threaten the whole decentralized nature of the system. You'd still have the advantages of a stable currency base and anonymous transactions. The service would not be a bank in the sense that they can't borrow the "deposited" coins to anyone, because the "depositor" may still have backups of the coins and use them at any time.

On the other hand, the mobile client is also a great idea and satisfies the need for usability at any location. Backups of the wallet would be necessary though - you don't want to lose all your money when you drop your phone into the ocean or if it just gets broken. One option would be in-built FTP backups (might be too difficult for n00bs though).

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sirius
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January 13, 2010, 08:22:56 AM
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Moneybookers allows currency exchange after their approval. I'll check out if there are other options anyway.

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January 13, 2010, 05:12:16 PM
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You're right, there is a demand. But I wouldn't necessarily say that just because there is a demand it is correct. For pure financial reasons, maybe..

Backing up your wallet say, three times, will leave you very secure. The problem is that people are relying on those online third parties too much nowadays. When someone like, Paypal, takes over a wide market, they then can basically implement any rule they would like and the clients must obey. That amount of power simply breeds control, along with more government intervention and regulations.

I know the demand is there, however I think the future is keeping the currency digital, while stepping out of the web, and third parties, as much as possible. That is one of my biggest excitements about Bitcoin, but sorry to say the web app idea kinda crushes most of the hopeful thoughts I would have about it  Tongue
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January 25, 2010, 11:52:00 PM
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Moneybookers didn't approve of my service. Any other ideas for an international payment service?

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sirius
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January 31, 2010, 11:31:04 AM
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What is interesting is that MB closed my account when the permission request was rejected. I had previously used the account for some small transactions. I asked them for a reason, but so far they haven't replied.

It's somewhat difficult to find a suitable payment gateway which supports incoming and outgoing transactions when PayPal and Moneybookers are not options. Google Checkout doesn't forbid money exchange and has a useful reputation system, but as far as I understand, they don't support sending money without the receiver being a merchant.

I've noticed that mainstream payment systems (credit cards, internet services etc.) typically cost about 1-5% of the transaction + various other fees up to hundreds of dollars. Bitcoin transactions are practically free, which already makes the system superior to the existing ones, not to mention the other advantages. We could use the low transaction costs (or should we say free?) more as a selling point.

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February 24, 2010, 02:58:10 AM
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International bank wires? Money orders by mail?

There are plenty of options. Using a 3rd party billing company is only one.

Moneybookers didn't approve of my service. Any other ideas for an international payment service?
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February 24, 2010, 03:24:53 AM
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International bank wires? Money orders by mail?

There are plenty of options. Using a 3rd party billing company is only one.

Moneybookers didn't approve of my service. Any other ideas for an international payment service?

Yeah, I'm planning to accept international bank transfers (free within EU), SMS payment in multiple countries, Pecunix and maybe more in the future. Now that the non-GUI and JSON-RPC are available, I might have a fully armed and operational beta of my service in a week or two  Cool.

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February 24, 2010, 04:59:55 AM
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Nice! Wink

I might do 'well hidden cash in the mail' here for small amounts.
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