I'm going to New York soon and plan on visiting Meze Grill. I was reading about how the writer of that article paid, and it just seems so complicated. Is there a better way? I considered Bitbills or something, but even that, I don't know how I would get change. So what's the best way to pay for something in person?
Probably the best way will be with your smart phone -- when the apps are finished and fully functional, anyway. On the android platform there are at least three apps in development:Bitcoin Wallet
is one app, I gather develped by someone intimately involved with the bitcon project. Like all three apps listed, it sends and receives coins, keeping a wallet on your phone. Unfortuanately it currently only runs in test mode, and on my phone anyway, crashes horribly.Bitcoiner
is another idea. It connects to the bitcoin(d) running on your desktop. Like bitcoin wallet it can send and receive coins, but instead of creating a wallet on your phone, it uses the one on your desktop. I guess some folks have gotten it to work. I can't get it to connect to my bitcoind, even though I typically have over a dozen connections. Repeated emails to the developer about the problem have been ignored.Bitcoin
is the third app I've looked at and is almost identical to bitcoin wallet, except it is operational. Like wallet, it creates a wallet (that I can't find, even with Root Explorer) on your phone. The app is still in development, however, so the developer includes a wise warning against making large transactions at this time.
All the programs either have, or make use of, a barcode app to generate a QR code for receiving coins or to read a QR code for sending coins. So in that sense, if they worked, paying with bitcoins would be no more trouble than whipping out your wallet. In fact, you could
say that's exactly what you'd be doing -- just electronically.
Unfortunately, the only app that has been updated in the month they've been on my phone is Bitcoin Wallet, which took the app from amusing to use for test purposes (since it dosn't do live transactions) to completely broken and unusable. The other two have not been updated at all, even though they, like bitcoin wallet, are still in the early stages of development. This seems to me to be mute testimony to how (un)important POS transactions presently are in the bitcoin community. And that's not helping bitcoin's popularity in community storefronts.
As for BitBills: I love the idea, but unless bitcoin drops in value, I don't see much purpose for them unless they also come up with BitChange. Currnetly, an accepting merchant would have to destroy every bill received and credit back the difference electronically anyway, which rather defeats the purpose of an a physical form of the currency.