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Author Topic: customer experience for purchases with Bitcoin  (Read 2226 times)
mndrix
Michael Hendricks
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December 14, 2010, 04:51:03 AM
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A client recently approved me to add Bitcoin as a payment method to his online store.  It's not a paid gig, just a hobby project and the client's willing to support Bitcoin by accepting payment if I contribute the code.  Anyway, his servers will be running a Bitcoin node and handling payments locally, so I won't be using MyBitcoin's SCI in this project.  I'm currently sketching out the customer experience.  I imagine it going something like this:

  • Customer chooses Bitcoin payment on the shopping cart confirmation page
  • Site presents the BTC price and a shipping address form
  • Customer fills in his shipping address and submits the form
  • Site presents a Bitcoin address to which to send payment
  • This page shows a throbber saying "Awaiting payment..."
  • As soon as the payment arrives, the throbber disappears
  • The customer is taken to a "Thank You" page with his order number and details about order tracking

Are there shopping sites with a better flow than this?  Is there a way you've always wanted to see Bitcoin shopping operate that I might be able to implement here?

Thanks in advance for any feedback.
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There are several different types of Bitcoin clients. The most secure are full nodes like Bitcoin-Qt, which will follow the rules of the network no matter what miners do. Even if every miner decided to create 1000 bitcoins per block, full nodes would stick to the rules and reject those blocks.
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December 14, 2010, 04:58:17 AM
 #2

Why reinvent the wheel? Mybitcoin's SCI does all of that. I'd just use the local bitcoind to receive the forwarded coins from Mybitcoin.

In fact, that's exactly how I handle commerce on my sites. It works flawlessly.
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December 14, 2010, 04:58:59 AM
 #3

Perhaps instead of a throbber, the customer could just get an e-mail upon confirmation of the transaction, signifying the commencement of the product delivery. Why sit around waiting at a confirmation screen?

Use my Trade Hill referral code: TH-R11519

Check out bitcoinity.org and Ripple.

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jgarzik
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December 14, 2010, 05:15:50 AM
 #4

+1 on mybitcoin SCI.

The documentation is non-existent, but it works reliably, and works in the expected manner (like other SCI's such as Liberty Reserve or Pecunix).

Jeff Garzik, bitcoin core dev team and BitPay engineer; opinions are my own, not my employer.
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mndrix
Michael Hendricks
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December 14, 2010, 03:11:43 PM
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Why reinvent the wheel? Mybitcoin's SCI does all of that.

Good question.  Short answer: one learns a lot by reinventing wheels.  I definitely don't want to discredit MyBitcoin, which is an excellent service.  I may even use it on future projects.  However, for the first project, I'd rather code against bitcoind's JSON interface directly.  It leaves all components of transaction processing under my control where I'm more likely to learn about Bitcoin and how the client and the network work.
mndrix
Michael Hendricks
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December 14, 2010, 03:17:29 PM
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Perhaps instead of a throbber, the customer could just get an e-mail upon confirmation of the transaction, signifying the commencement of the product delivery. Why sit around waiting at a confirmation screen?

In my tests, transactions usually come through the Bitcoin network in less than 10 seconds.  Does that seem too long to wait? I won't make customers wait around for confirmation blocks to build up.  When shipping physical goods, there's plenty of time for that to happen while packing the order.  If there's a double-spend, the order can be canceled before it's shipped.

The throbber seemed like a faster way to provide initial payment feedback than just an email.  I imagine it like the brief screens you see when paying with a credit card: "Processing your payment..."  There will also be a payment received email, which this particular client already sends out for all orders, regardless of payment method.
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December 14, 2010, 04:53:53 PM
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I won't make customers wait around for confirmation blocks to build up.
That makes more sense. What about buyers who don't pay transaction fees. Any risk that they might get held up for too long at the throbber?

Use my Trade Hill referral code: TH-R11519

Check out bitcoinity.org and Ripple.

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mndrix
Michael Hendricks
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December 14, 2010, 07:30:11 PM
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What about buyers who don't pay transaction fees. Any risk that they might get held up for too long at the throbber?

As I understand the protocol, transactions are broadcast through the network without regard for transaction fees.  The fees are only considered when transactions are bundled into blocks.  The wiki article about transaction fees doesn't say explicitly, though.  I assume customers would still get a quick throbber response even without a transaction fee.
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December 14, 2010, 08:27:10 PM
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What about buyers who don't pay transaction fees. Any risk that they might get held up for too long at the throbber?

As I understand the protocol, transactions are broadcast through the network without regard for transaction fees.

correct

Quote
I assume customers would still get a quick throbber response even without a transaction fee.

It is possible for a client to check that a transaction is valid independently, but it's  impossible to eliminate the risks of a double spend without waiting for comfirmations.  It's possible to reduce such risks without the blockchain, however, by scanning the transaction queue for attempted double spends for a couple seconds before approving the transaction; but the clients can't yet do this, AFAIK.

"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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December 14, 2010, 09:24:44 PM
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A wiki, a knowledge base or at least a documentation page would make MyBitcoin SCI much easier to set up and more popular.

theymos
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December 14, 2010, 11:00:15 PM
 #11

As I understand the protocol, transactions are broadcast through the network without regard for transaction fees.

This was changed in 0.3.19. Transactions are no longer relayed if they don't have enough fee according to the client doing the relaying.

Clients older than 0.3.17 will actually send transactions that will be rejected for relaying by new clients. So if you're sending big transactions, make sure you're using the latest version...

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