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Author Topic: Get ready for a sharp rise in Bitcoin use  (Read 3421 times)
Bigpiggy01
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September 23, 2011, 04:38:56 PM
 #21

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Yes. Bit-Pay has two customers, one of which is owned by the people behind Bit-Pay. This is the other one.

So they've doubled their customer base in a short time Grin  Bull up man, this is bound to go viral Grin

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MelMan2002
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September 23, 2011, 04:39:15 PM
 #22

You will start to see a lot of merchants with this:
http://i56.tinypic.com/jv54rb.jpg

I'm a Bitcoin fetishist, and even I wouldn't bother to use Bitcoin at a physical POS like this. What's the advantage over using a legacy currency?

Because you don't need to have the legacy currency.  Say you fly to a foreign country.  Would be nice to be able to pay with bitcoins rather than exchanging for local currency or using your credit card and getting charged a nasty exchange fee.
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September 23, 2011, 05:13:32 PM
 #23

You will start to see a lot of merchants with this:
http://i56.tinypic.com/jv54rb.jpg

I'm a Bitcoin fetishist, and even I wouldn't bother to use Bitcoin at a physical POS like this. What's the advantage over using a legacy currency?

Because you don't need to have the legacy currency.  Say you fly to a foreign country.  Would be nice to be able to pay with bitcoins rather than exchanging for local currency or using your credit card and getting charged a nasty exchange fee.

I have made arrangements to do this when I visit Turkey this December. We are meeting at a cafe. I bring a laptop and he brings a bag of local cash.  Cheesy

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September 23, 2011, 05:34:57 PM
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If I hack the client and broadcast a transaction from an empty wallet, wouldn't that also show up as 0 confirmations at first (exactly the same as it would with a regular transaction), until the next block is found? At that point in time I'd be long gone.
No it wouldn't - the receiving client would not accept the transaction, since it could not have contained a valid input. You would have to have the matching private key to an unspent output from a previous transaction in the blockchain to generate a valid transaction - but at that point your wallet would not have been empty anymore because you actually had the corresponding coins.

Don't worry - counterfeiting Bitcoins is actually pretty damn hard Wink
Thanks for elaborating.
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September 23, 2011, 07:26:21 PM
 #25

I'm a Bitcoin fetishist, and even I wouldn't bother to use Bitcoin at a physical POS like this. What's the advantage over using a legacy currency?
I see plenty of reasons. Compared to credit cards it has lower fees and more anonymity. Compared to Electron or Debit cards it offers significantly higher reliability, because the Bitcoin network is so decentralized. Compared to cash it doesn't offer that much except you don't have to have cash, or a wallet at all. Just need your phone.

That's on top of the fact that Bitcoin is a great currency in itself and I'd buy with it if it's not worse than other payment methods. And with these enhancements such as bit-pay it certainly isn't worse.

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September 23, 2011, 11:29:25 PM
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I'm a Bitcoin fetishist, and even I wouldn't bother to use Bitcoin at a physical POS like this. What's the advantage over using a legacy currency?
I see plenty of reasons. Compared to credit cards it has lower fees and more anonymity.
Everyone I've seen accepting BTC at physical shops today convert their USD selling price--which already covers transaction fees for legacy payment methods--to BTC and exchanges the BTC to USD instantly after the sell. You pay the same, the merchant loses on the exchange commission and gets extra paperwork for the USD withdrawal. I could argue that carrying a cell phone and meeting up in person doesn't help on anonymity either, but that'd be silly as we all do it anyway. Smiley

Compared to Electron or Debit cards it offers significantly higher reliability, because the Bitcoin network is so decentralized. Compared to cash it doesn't offer that much except you don't have to have cash, or a wallet at all. Just need your phone.
I have credit on my debit card and can thus use it without electricity or a data connection.

That's on top of the fact that Bitcoin is a great currency in itself and I'd buy with it if it's not worse than other payment methods. And with these enhancements such as bit-pay it certainly isn't worse.
Bitcoin is great on-line because it's remarkably efficient in dealing with arbitrary political borders. But the physical POSs will remain a niche for us enthusiast and will not be the cause of a "sharp rise in Bitcoin use". It'll be the other way around; if/when Bitcoin conquers cyberspace it'll be a hassle not to use BTC AFK.
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September 24, 2011, 12:43:39 AM
 #27

Green addresses could solve the instantaneous 0/unconfirmed transaction problem. If the customer has funds held with Bit-Pay, Insta-Wallet or any other trusted online wallet or escrow service, then the recipient business need not trust the customer any more than the wallet/escrow service.

     Instawallet bitcoin transactions accepted here, but not MyBitcoin

This could confuse the bitcoin brand but does provide instantaneous trusted transactions.

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September 24, 2011, 04:08:18 AM
 #28

It would only sharply increase BTC use if it was widely implemented, which won't happen as the marketing team of a given company has to determine the use of converting something to cash when they can just take cash instead. With such a fluctuating price, nobody would mass produce it as they don't want to jeopardize so much revenue when 99.999% of the customers will use cash anyway.
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September 24, 2011, 11:46:18 AM
 #29

People rarely use cash anymore in Finland, most people use Visa Electron cards. I pay with Electron most of the time as well, and I see some benefits from using this type of system. One has to remember that implementing this doesn't actually require for the merchant to have a phone, QR codes can be printed on receipts and it could also be an LCD screen at the register.

There are many reasons why I would use this payment method instead of the Electron card, 1) It's more reliable, I've suffered multiple malfunctions of Electron systems 2) I wouldn't need a wallet with me, which is convenient 3) It's more anonymous 4) I'd like to use Bitcoins because I support them as a currency, over any fiat-currency.

Now, to say this will be enough for a widespread usage of Bitcoins at physical locations is a bit far-fetched, I know, but thing is, people are in general expecting Bitcoin to become the next Internet or something like that. If that were to really happen, we would see one Bitcoin valued at 3 digits, and very high up on that scale. Maybe even at 4 digits.

These type of systems, even if they do not become really widespread, could increase the size of the real economy of Bitcoins significantly, and the price could very well be stable at high double digits. I see this all the time that people somehow assume Bitcoin needs to take over the world, and if it doesn't, it fails. That is silly thinking. Bitcoin can succeed very well as a niche currency and have a strong base, even if it isn't the most widespread currency ever.

Of course I'd hope for Bitcoin to succeed in a massive way, and it certainly could, but one step at a time. One step at a time.

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September 24, 2011, 11:59:55 AM
 #30

Bitcoin is great on-line because it's remarkably efficient in dealing with arbitrary political borders. But the physical POSs will remain a niche for us enthusiast and will not be the cause of a "sharp rise in Bitcoin use". It'll be the other way around; if/when Bitcoin conquers cyberspace it'll be a hassle not to use BTC AFK.
I don't quite agree with this. The thing is, Bitcoin commerce is not under any consumer protection laws in Finland. We have pretty good consumer protection if you buy with any VISA card, basically you don't have to worry about merchant scams if you order online. Buying with Bitcoins is a bit of a gamble from this perspective and requires significant trust.

As for physical locations such as bars, restaurants, barbershops etc, one doesn't really have to worry about consumer protection. You get what you pay for, right away. With online orders you might not get anything at all, and with Bitcoins you don't get protection of any sort.

But this is the nature of a free market type system that Bitcoin is, which is why it's especially important to have more sites where people review and score Bitcoin merchants. We definitely need those sites. I wouldn't order anything from an online Bitcoin store unless it's guaranteed by many people to be reliable.


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September 24, 2011, 12:03:03 PM
 #31

Because you don't need to have the legacy currency.  Say you fly to a foreign country.  Would be nice to be able to pay with bitcoins rather than exchanging for local currency or using your credit card and getting charged a nasty exchange fee.
This is a good point. Again, it's not something that will make Bitcoin the next Internet but it's one of the reasons these type of systems will at least solidify Bitcoins position as a niche currency.

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September 24, 2011, 12:34:54 PM
 #32

I was thinking about bitcoin and the issue of charge backs today.  Merchants would love a system where customers cannot issue a charge back after receiving the goods.  But from my point of view, as the customer, I like having the ability to get my money back.  Recently I dealt with a solar panel installer that refused to play ball after a deposit was placed via CC.  I and other customers of this company have successfully retrieved our money even after the company refused.  That would not be possible with bitcoins. 

Now one could argue that ordinary consumer law still protects me.  But this consumer law is slow and difficult.  Requires working through the courts and is costly.  It's much easier to fire off a letter to Visa and let them do the work for free on my behalf.

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September 24, 2011, 01:36:03 PM
 #33

I was thinking about bitcoin and the issue of charge backs today.  Merchants would love a system where customers cannot issue a charge back after receiving the goods.  But from my point of view, as the customer, I like having the ability to get my money back.  Recently I dealt with a solar panel installer that refused to play ball after a deposit was placed via CC.  I and other customers of this company have successfully retrieved our money even after the company refused.  That would not be possible with bitcoins. 

Now one could argue that ordinary consumer law still protects me.  But this consumer law is slow and difficult.  Requires working through the courts and is costly.  It's much easier to fire off a letter to Visa and let them do the work for free on my behalf.
+1

This is a very good point. The chargeback issue is complex and there are many ways one can look at it. Is the added benefit for merchants worth the problems it might potentially cause for customers? I used to think the no chargebacks is good but I've started to see this as a potentially big issue, especially when Bitcoin is not even protected by consumer law.

I guess there are ways to bypass this issue, but it would require a 3rd party to handle the payments in some way, right? For now the best way to protect against this is to build good community sites where merchants are reviewed and scored. And make sure everyone knows about these sites. That way people can use the community to know what's reliable and what isn't.

If we build a community that really works, it's a disaster for any merchant to fuck people up, because no one will actually buy anything from them anymore. Bitcoin being a compact, niche community, at least for now, I can see this actually working pretty well.

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September 24, 2011, 02:12:54 PM
 #34

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If I hack the client and broadcast a transaction from an empty wallet, wouldn't that also show up as 0 confirmations at first (exactly the same as it would with a regular transaction), until the next block is found? At that point in time I'd be long gone.
No it wouldn't - the receiving client would not accept the transaction, since it could not have contained a valid input. You would have to have the matching private key to an unspent output from a previous transaction in the blockchain to generate a valid transaction - but at that point your wallet would not have been empty anymore because you actually had the corresponding coins.

Don't worry - counterfeiting Bitcoins is actually pretty damn hard Wink
Thanks for elaborating.

It was a fair question! Vuce, whenever a node receives a broadcast transaction, it will always check if the transaction makes any sense. No client will accept newly generated coins until after many many confirmations. A malicious node can not pretend to send coins that the block chain knows the node never had (all transactions are public knowledge, so you can only send a fraction of coins from an address that is know to have previously received coins).

The only 'counterfeit' attack vector is a double spend. Typically this is discussed as a powerful node overtaking the block chain. But in the case of 0/unconfirmed, a malicious node need only send two transactions to different recipients with the same coins from the same address. Until the network verifies one of them, it is reasonable (I believe) that the double spender might get away with it. The worst that can happen is that the recipient client rejects the transaction. The user would not even be informed (in the current client). The sucker would just continue waiting for the 0/unconfirmed transaction on the network.

If a couple walk into a bar, simultaneously order and pay for two separate drinks, they might get away with a 0/unconfirmed double spends half of the time. So, this Bonnie and Clyde might save 25% on their evil evening pub crawl. I can't imagine it getting worse than that.

Green addresses (if we trust the third party) make this scenario impossible.

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September 24, 2011, 02:36:51 PM
 #35

Soon you will be able to export transactions offline. Imagine a computer 100% isolated from the network with a massive store of bitcoins. It can generate a transaction but instead of broadcasting to the network, it displays a QR code that a user can scan in and broadcast as proxy.

This is similar to the physical coins being sold right now. Except that we have a potentially physical transaction rather than a physical private key.

I could argue that carrying a cell phone and meeting up in person doesn't help on anonymity either, but that'd be silly as we all do it anyway. Smiley

Now that bitcoin client 0.4 has encrypted wallets, a rudimentary system that anyone could do today would be to generate a wallet with one key encrypted with a simple password. This encrypted wallet, printed as a QR code then becomes the bitcoin equivilent of a traveller's check. Signing the check is the act of writing or uttering the password to the recipient who can then immediately transfer funds to another wallet.

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September 24, 2011, 02:44:18 PM
 #36

I was thinking about bitcoin and the issue of charge backs today.  Merchants would love a system where customers cannot issue a charge back after receiving the goods.  But from my point of view, as the customer, I like having the ability to get my money back.  Recently I dealt with a solar panel installer that refused to play ball after a deposit was placed via CC.  I and other customers of this company have successfully retrieved our money even after the company refused.  That would not be possible with bitcoins.  

Now one could argue that ordinary consumer law still protects me.  But this consumer law is slow and difficult.  Requires working through the courts and is costly.  It's much easier to fire off a letter to Visa and let them do the work for free on my behalf.
+1

This is a very good point. The chargeback issue is complex and there are many ways one can look at it. Is the added benefit for merchants worth the problems it might potentially cause for customers? I used to think the no chargebacks is good but I've started to see this as a potentially big issue, especially when Bitcoin is not even protected by consumer law.

I guess there are ways to bypass this issue, but it would require a 3rd party to handle the payments in some way, right? For now the best way to protect against this is to build good community sites where merchants are reviewed and scored. And make sure everyone knows about these sites. That way people can use the community to know what's reliable and what isn't.

If we build a community that really works, it's a disaster for any merchant to fuck people up, because no one will actually buy anything from them anymore. Bitcoin being a compact, niche community, at least for now, I can see this actually working pretty well.

There is no problem with chargebacks if they are a voluntary agreement between both sides of the transaction.
I sell on eBay and have to accept chargebacks even if someone buys with zero positive feedback and has no history. Any good seller of anything will always put the customer first. If you are selling something cheap and it gets lost in the post you take the buyers word for it. If it's expensive, you take out insurance and adjust your prices appropriately.
Charge-backs only occur when one party doesn't know how to communicate properly, or is scamming the system.
I'd be happy to accept chargebacks to give a normal buyer (not a cheat) the confidence to buy in the first place. But I'd like the option of rejecting their purchase if they are suspicious. Both parties need to have good reputation. If you have no reputation and want to buy from someone with good reputation, then it should be the buyer who takes the risk, not the seller.

Edit - hacked accounts are another issue - but with bitcoin, there is no such problem as their is no central authority who can prove it. It's the responsibility of the bitcoin owner to protect their money.
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September 24, 2011, 03:37:00 PM
 #37

Excellent points dancupid. I am perfectly fine with taking a risk and buying online with Bitcoins if there is a way to verify that the merchant has good reputation. This is why I suggested that we should have community sites where people review Bitcoin merchants. Are there any? I think this is very important.

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September 24, 2011, 03:58:12 PM
 #38

Paying with bitcoins like this is like paying with cash except if someone steals your cell phone, it should have enough password protection both in the phone's app and in the service the app connects to so you can basically carry tons of cash but can't be robbed.

Oh and chargebacks are mainly used for "friendly fraud".

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September 24, 2011, 04:08:44 PM
 #39

I was thinking about bitcoin and the issue of charge backs today.  Merchants would love a system where customers cannot issue a charge back after receiving the goods.  But from my point of view, as the customer, I like having the ability to get my money back.  Recently I dealt with a solar panel installer that refused to play ball after a deposit was placed via CC.  I and other customers of this company have successfully retrieved our money even after the company refused.  That would not be possible with bitcoins.  

Now one could argue that ordinary consumer law still protects me.  But this consumer law is slow and difficult.  Requires working through the courts and is costly.  It's much easier to fire off a letter to Visa and let them do the work for free on my behalf.
+1

This is a very good point. The chargeback issue is complex and there are many ways one can look at it. Is the added benefit for merchants worth the problems it might potentially cause for customers? I used to think the no chargebacks is good but I've started to see this as a potentially big issue, especially when Bitcoin is not even protected by consumer law.

I guess there are ways to bypass this issue, but it would require a 3rd party to handle the payments in some way, right? For now the best way to protect against this is to build good community sites where merchants are reviewed and scored. And make sure everyone knows about these sites. That way people can use the community to know what's reliable and what isn't.

If we build a community that really works, it's a disaster for any merchant to fuck people up, because no one will actually buy anything from them anymore. Bitcoin being a compact, niche community, at least for now, I can see this actually working pretty well.

There is no problem with chargebacks if they are a voluntary agreement between both sides of the transaction.

I have never had a charge back like that.  I have only issued 3 in recent history: one through my CC company and two through PayPal.  People bitch and moan about PayPal, but when push came to shove PayPal delivered me my money back from a fraudulent seller.

Charge-backs only occur when one party doesn't know how to communicate properly, or is scamming the system.

In my charge backs one party issued all sorts of excuses as to why they couldn't return my money.  Visa cut through the BS.  The two charge backs through PayPal were for fraudulent eBay sellers who suddenly went silent.  Not a peep from them.  Communication problem?  Probably not.  They took the money and ran.

I'd be happy to accept chargebacks to give a normal buyer (not a cheat) the confidence to buy in the first place. But I'd like the option of rejecting their purchase if they are suspicious. Both parties need to have good reputation. If you have no reputation and want to buy from someone with good reputation, then it should be the buyer who takes the risk, not the seller.

If you have the option for rejecting charge backs then why have charge backs in the first place?  The merchant is always going to reject them.  Why would they approve the customer getting their money back through forced action from the credit card company?  The only thing a merchant should do is present evidence that the goods or services were delivered and then leave it up to the CC company's judgment.  A far from perfect system to be sure, but it usually works.  Merchants are never happy when a charge back arrives for whatever reason, but that's the cost of business.  Bitcoins are asking the customer to carry the risk of fraud.

Edit - hacked accounts are another issue - but with bitcoin, there is no such problem as their is no central authority who can prove it. It's the responsibility of the bitcoin owner to protect their money.

PayPal managed to return my money after a hacker took over someone's eBay account and sold items they never delivered.  No central authority means the buyer is out of luck with bitcoins.  It's the price one pays for freedom from banks.

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September 24, 2011, 04:36:58 PM
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Chargebacks are never voluntary between both parties.  The merchant gets a huge chargeback fee and then are at risk of losing their merchant account for it.

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