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Author Topic: [ANN] Release of open source point of sale system (w/ video)  (Read 6063 times)
jav
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August 23, 2011, 04:54:45 PM
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Hi there! Today I'm releasing the first version of a simple Bitcoin point of sale application. It was mainly written to demonstrate the use of the green address feature, but can also be used independently of that. It is written in Python and works in combination with a standard Bitcoin client. It is targeted at standard PC hardware, e.g. laptop (used by merchant) + external monitor (facing the customer).

Here is a video of the system in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o84SfChQ-S8 . (Update: Here is another, shorter video of just the payment being performed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNpcf9rSBIk .)

More details and explanations, the code and a number of screenshots can be found on the project's page on GitHub: https://github.com/javgh/greenaddress-pos-tools .

Looking forward to your feedback! :-)

Update (Jan 2014): The system has been extended to use NFC and Bluetooth. See this thread for details: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=395469.0 .

Hive, a beautiful wallet with an app platform for Mac OS X, Android and Mobile Web. Translators wanted! iOS and OS X devs see BitcoinKit. Tweets @hivewallet. Donations appreciated at 1HLRg9C1GsfEVH555hgcjzDeas14jen2Cn.
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August 23, 2011, 04:58:53 PM
 #2

Hi there! Today I'm releasing the first version of a simple Bitcoin point of sale application. It was mainly written to demonstrate the use of the green address feature, but can also be used independently of that. It is written in Python and works in combination with a standard Bitcoin client. It is targeted at standard PC hardware, e.g. laptop (used by merchant) + external monitor (facing the customer).

See a video of the system in action at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o84SfChQ-S8 .

More details and explanations, the code and a number of screenshots can be found on the project's page on GitHub: https://github.com/javgh/greenaddress-pos-tools .

Looking forward to your feedback!

looks sweet Smiley
jav
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August 23, 2011, 05:19:55 PM
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I'd like to point out, that I made an effort to make it fairly straightforward to run this application. Granted, it's only tested on Linux for the moment, but it has very few dependencies and can run in combination with a standard Bitcoin client (so no patches needed or anything). You can use any Bitcoin mobile client, unless you want to test the green address feature. Then you will need BitPay with my patch applied (see the GitHub link for more info about that). But hopefully, the version of BitPay in the Android market will soon be updated to make this step easier as well.

What do you think, how cheap could a hardware solution based on this be put together? I'm thinking old, used laptop (maybe an Eee PC) plus smallish external monitor. Maybe all in all for $150? Maybe less? .. I think we could reach the point, where this is a straightforward and fairly inexpensive way to get a brick and mortar merchant set up for Bitcoin payments. I think maybe the only missing piece in the puzzle would be automatic exchange to the merchant's local currency (e.g. USD) to have it be a complete worry-free (regarding exchange rates) solution. It might be interesting to interface with a Bitcoin exchange here.

Hive, a beautiful wallet with an app platform for Mac OS X, Android and Mobile Web. Translators wanted! iOS and OS X devs see BitcoinKit. Tweets @hivewallet. Donations appreciated at 1HLRg9C1GsfEVH555hgcjzDeas14jen2Cn.
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August 23, 2011, 05:23:29 PM
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+ very nice!
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August 23, 2011, 05:30:44 PM
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What do you think, how cheap could a hardware solution based on this be put together? I'm thinking old, used laptop (maybe an Eee PC) plus smallish external monitor. Maybe all in all for $150? Maybe less? .. I think we could reach the point, where this is a straightforward and

Jav, your work is really exciting. but the space is a problem. If a merchant has to find a place for another PC or Laptop in their store, it will not be the ultimate solution.

If you see any of my suggestions useful, please donate me. http://btc.to/ec
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August 23, 2011, 05:35:00 PM
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Awesome!!!! I love how easy that is. Really well done.

The issue of table/counter space is an issue though... but wow I'm impressed.
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August 23, 2011, 05:50:51 PM
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Awesome!!!! I love how easy that is. Really well done.

The issue of table/counter space is an issue though... but wow I'm impressed.

Jav is a genius product manager.

If you see any of my suggestions useful, please donate me. http://btc.to/ec
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August 23, 2011, 05:58:06 PM
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I hate to say this but this still suffers from all the issues that previous suggestions for point of sale stuff has, in that it takes a great deal of time comparatively to confirm the transaction is actually valid. People aren't going to wait around for a quarter of an hour after buying a stick of gum to wait for a transaction to verify.
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August 23, 2011, 06:06:04 PM
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I hate to say this but this still suffers from all the issues that previous suggestions for point of sale stuff has, in that it takes a great deal of time comparatively to confirm the transaction is actually valid. People aren't going to wait around for a quarter of an hour after buying a stick of gum to wait for a transaction to verify.
People also aren't going to bother spending hours of their time or thousands of dollars trying to execute a successful double spend just to steal a pack of chewing gum.  Accepting without any confirmation in such a circumstance is probably lower risk than letting people pay with credit card.

This is a great step forward and nice video.  When the time is right, we'll want to integrate this (or something like this) with bit-pay.com.

(gasteve on IRC) Does your website accept cash? https://bitpay.com
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August 23, 2011, 06:22:11 PM
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I hate to say this but this still suffers from all the issues that previous suggestions for point of sale stuff has, in that it takes a great deal of time comparatively to confirm the transaction is actually valid. People aren't going to wait around for a quarter of an hour after buying a stick of gum to wait for a transaction to verify.

Green addresses. Look it up. Confirmation can be instantaneous.
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August 23, 2011, 06:27:41 PM
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I hate to say this but this still suffers from all the issues that previous suggestions for point of sale stuff has, in that it takes a great deal of time comparatively to confirm the transaction is actually valid. People aren't going to wait around for a quarter of an hour after buying a stick of gum to wait for a transaction to verify.

Green addresses. Look it up. Confirmation can be instantaneous.

There's green addresses, but also all other online wallet solutions seem to have instantaneous and free transfers within their system (flexcoin does, I think vibanko does as well, infamously mybitcoin used to use the feature as a selling point).

Now if someone could come up with a "clearing house" kind of solution that includes all online wallets, as well as exchanges and regular wallets... they would make life a lot easier, no?
Serith
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August 23, 2011, 07:13:50 PM
 #12

Hi there! Today I'm releasing the first version of a simple Bitcoin point of sale application. It was mainly written to demonstrate the use of the green address feature, but can also be used independently of that. It is written in Python and works in combination with a standard Bitcoin client. It is targeted at standard PC hardware, e.g. laptop (used by merchant) + external monitor (facing the customer).

Here is a video of the system in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o84SfChQ-S8 .

More details and explanations, the code and a number of screenshots can be found on the project's page on GitHub: https://github.com/javgh/greenaddress-pos-tools .

Looking forward to your feedback! :-)
This could be great for automatic point of sale eg. vending machine because there would be no need to store and transport cash, and goods selling price could be lower!
jav
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August 23, 2011, 07:40:59 PM
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Hey! Thanks for your great comments! :-)

What do you think, how cheap could a hardware solution based on this be put together? I'm thinking old, used laptop (maybe an Eee PC) plus smallish external monitor. Maybe all in all for $150? Maybe less? .. I think we could reach the point, where this is a straightforward and

Jav, your work is really exciting. but the space is a problem. If a merchant has to find a place for another PC or Laptop in their store, it will not be the ultimate solution.


I'm not sure how much of an issue the space requirement really is. I mean, a cash register can be pretty clunky as well. But it all depends on the situation I guess, and I agree, that a smaller solution would be much nicer. One reason this is open source is to be able to iterate towards a better solution. I think there are many options to be explored: Maybe a Sheevaplug could be used in combination with a USB touchpad and a USB display. Or maybe even a cheap Android phone to which a USB display is somehow hooked up (not sure how feasible that is, but I have seen some hacks in that direction). The latter would require to port the GUI parts to Android.

There's green addresses, but also all other online wallet solutions seem to have instantaneous and free transfers within their system (flexcoin does, I think vibanko does as well, infamously mybitcoin used to use the feature as a selling point).

Instantaneous transfers among users of a specific service isn't really that special (Instawallet has it as well) and doesn't - in my opinion - really lead anywhere. Take the example of Flexcoin: Nothing against it, but merchants won't be limiting themselves to a small subset of possible Bitcoin customers. Unless that subset is close to all of Bitcoin customers and that is simply not going to happen. Bitcoiners are much too wary - and rightfully so - to let a single payment processor get so powerful.

So what we need is an open protocol that allows to split this responsibility over multiple payment processors. It should have a fairly low barrier of entry for new payment processors and it should be easy to get rid of established payment processors should they start to become annoying. The green address technique is an attempt at formulating such a protocol. It could be implement by Flexcoin and Vibanko and the merchant would then see "Verified by Flexcoin" or "Verified by Vibanko" and it's up to the merchant to decide whether that's good enough.

Hive, a beautiful wallet with an app platform for Mac OS X, Android and Mobile Web. Translators wanted! iOS and OS X devs see BitcoinKit. Tweets @hivewallet. Donations appreciated at 1HLRg9C1GsfEVH555hgcjzDeas14jen2Cn.
Andre Jensen (World Bitcoin Exchange)
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August 24, 2011, 03:40:40 AM
 #14

I think maybe the only missing piece in the puzzle would be automatic exchange to the merchant's local currency (e.g. USD) to have it be a complete worry-free (regarding exchange rates) solution. It might be interesting to interface with a Bitcoin exchange here.

Hi Jav,

Well done.

I'm interested in completing the missing puzzle (automatic exchange) and adopting your solution into our structure, id be interested to know if this would work with World Bitcoin Exchange, please PM me when you get sometime.

Andre
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August 25, 2011, 09:24:32 AM
 #15

This is the most promising short-term solution for instant payments IMO.
A web of trust between payment processors could make it better. For example, the merchant trust flexcoin but not instawallet. If flexcoin trusts instawallet, the transaction could be like this:

1) Payer spends its funds in instawallet
2) instawallet pays to flexcoin
3) flexcoin pays to the merchant.

I don't remember if I've already suggest you this. Step by step, first having this working.

Congratulations!

2 different forms of free-money: Freicoin (free of basic interest because it's perishable), Mutual credit (no interest because it's abundant)
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August 25, 2011, 12:44:55 PM
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Hey! Thanks for your great comments! :-)

What do you think, how cheap could a hardware solution based on this be put together? I'm thinking old, used laptop (maybe an Eee PC) plus smallish external monitor. Maybe all in all for $150? Maybe less? .. I think we could reach the point, where this is a straightforward and

Jav, your work is really exciting. but the space is a problem. If a merchant has to find a place for another PC or Laptop in their store, it will not be the ultimate solution.


I'm not sure how much of an issue the space requirement really is. I mean, a cash register can be pretty clunky as well. But it all depends on the situation I guess, and I agree, that a smaller solution would be much nicer. One reason this is open source is to be able to iterate towards a better solution. I think there are many options to be explored: Maybe a Sheevaplug could be used in combination with a USB touchpad and a USB display. Or maybe even a cheap Android phone to which a USB display is somehow hooked up (not sure how feasible that is, but I have seen some hacks in that direction). The latter would require to port the GUI parts to Android.

There's green addresses, but also all other online wallet solutions seem to have instantaneous and free transfers within their system (flexcoin does, I think vibanko does as well, infamously mybitcoin used to use the feature as a selling point).

Instantaneous transfers among users of a specific service isn't really that special (Instawallet has it as well) and doesn't - in my opinion - really lead anywhere. Take the example of Flexcoin: Nothing against it, but merchants won't be limiting themselves to a small subset of possible Bitcoin customers. Unless that subset is close to all of Bitcoin customers and that is simply not going to happen. Bitcoiners are much too wary - and rightfully so - to let a single payment processor get so powerful.

So what we need is an open protocol that allows to split this responsibility over multiple payment processors. It should have a fairly low barrier of entry for new payment processors and it should be easy to get rid of established payment processors should they start to become annoying. The green address technique is an attempt at formulating such a protocol. It could be implement by Flexcoin and Vibanko and the merchant would then see "Verified by Flexcoin" or "Verified by Vibanko" and it's up to the merchant to decide whether that's good enough.

Would it not be possible to make that option accessible to the customer with a message that says: Do you have an account with Vibanko, Instawallet, MtGox, Tradehill (insert whatever new solutions might come here)? Then the customer can choose that particular QR code and the transaction is instantaneous.
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August 25, 2011, 03:00:25 PM
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Would it not be possible to make that option accessible to the customer with a message that says: Do you have an account with Vibanko, Instawallet, MtGox, Tradehill (insert whatever new solutions might come here)? Then the customer can choose that particular QR code and the transaction is instantaneous.

The merchant's QR-code can contain the valid options and the smartphone software can know your preferences in advance and pay with the valid option you prefer automatically.
Going back to my earlier proposal, at this point, if you don't have an account with any of the valid options, you could send them to your payment processor and he can ask a partner processor to do the payment for them. If the partner can't do the transaction neither, he can ask to other processors. In the end, payment processors will establish an effective ripple network.
The bitcoin community could gain a lot by supporting the decentralized implementation of Ripple.

Again, this green addresses idea is very promising.

2 different forms of free-money: Freicoin (free of basic interest because it's perishable), Mutual credit (no interest because it's abundant)
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August 26, 2011, 12:09:31 AM
 #18

Again, this green addresses idea is very promising.

The only thing I don't like about green addresses is that as a recipient if I refuse to take the money and send it back, it is not charged back to the person that sent it to me.

I had a discussion about donations to a political party as it might turn out to be very funny with the laws in place in Germany:
Parties are not allowed to take anonymous donations above 500€.
Immediately returning the money counts as not taking it.
If they can't refuse to take them (as they went to them cash in an envelope/in a mail with a bitcoin wallet attached/sent from a green address) they have to give the money to the president of the German Bundestag.
I would love to see what this guy dues with bitcoins Smiley

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August 26, 2011, 07:27:22 AM
 #19

For donations you don't need green addresses nor instant payment.
It would be nice to see the president of the German Bundestag with bitcoins, but 500€ is an expensive joke.

2 different forms of free-money: Freicoin (free of basic interest because it's perishable), Mutual credit (no interest because it's abundant)
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October 13, 2011, 09:45:55 PM
 #20

Very cool!  I really like the idea of green addresses.

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