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Author Topic: Bitcoin and Kiva  (Read 4878 times)
mrchilly
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October 11, 2011, 05:55:47 PM
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Hi all,

I work at Kiva (http://www.kiva.org) as a software engineer.
I'm interested in talking more about Bitcoin and Kiva, and considering the rules here, although I am no stranger to Bitcoin, it seems it may be best to give a few posts about what sort of things are going on that can bring the two together.

There are 3 engineers here in addition to me who own Bitcoins and have an interest in spreading their use further. One of the ways we realized we could do that is by first educating the organization about what Bitcoins are. Kiva has a neat concept of self-run "Brown-bags" where anyone can discuss a topic (sort of like a Google tech talk), so we put together a presentation to educate fellow Kivans on Bitcoins, both their benefits and drawbacks.

Later on I realized some of our lenders were interested in Bitcoins as well, though as you can see, they also know that there are both benefits and drawbacks: http://www.kivafriends.org/index.php?topic=5789.0

In my next post, sometime later today, I'll discuss sort of a roadmap of how Kiva could start getting a Bitcoin project going.

Don't be led astray though, I know that any project to implement Bitcoin would take at the very least 6 months, and more likely a year, mostly due to the non-technical hurdles (like legal and auditing). So in a third post, I'll talk about why those things are an issue.

Cheers,

mrchilly
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October 11, 2011, 05:57:05 PM
 #2

I just want to say I adore your charity! You're the first people I go to when I want to give somebody a gift! Your gift card program is so fun for me, the person who receives it and certainly the person who gets the loan! I have never seen a service that enables so much happiness! : )

Thank you! I can't wait for the day you guys use Bitcoin!

+1 as my favorite charity.
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October 11, 2011, 08:10:03 PM
 #3

Eh, bump. This is a big deal guys. If Bitcoin is used in micro-lending like Kiva, it will have a huge impact on Bitcoin and small economies as a whole.

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October 11, 2011, 08:20:06 PM
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I really like this idea, but I see a lot of problems with the implementation, mainly due to bitcoin's small market and price fluctuation.

For example, a couple of days ago the price went down 20%. How would you deal with that? Bit-pay is a recent company that tries to solve this problem by converting the bitcoins paid by the customer into a fixed USD price before paying to merchants, but they only work within the US. Which this leads me to the second problem: how exactly do you plan to convert bitcoins into the country's currency? Besides USD, EUR and GBP, there aren't many bitcoin markets with a large transaction volume.
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October 12, 2011, 01:59:06 AM
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Wow, finally a company with a bit of infrastructure to get involved! Thought its unfortunate I do not think Bitcoin is ready yet for this, as the fluctuation of the market is too wide. I would agree that as time moves along there will be awesome opportunity for this!


+1 for Bitcoin Interest/Involvement
mrchilly
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October 12, 2011, 01:59:23 AM
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Howdy! Thanks for the interest. I am going to cheer on some Kivans at trampoline dodgeball shortly, so have to make this short.

I'm happy to see the interest and happy to know of fellow Kiva lenders!

Been starting to have more discussions with co-workers already again about Bitcoin. It's an exciting topic, especially since we have an innovation iteration coming up. This is a time in which Kiva engineers can work on any project they want, as long as they think it would benefit Kiva. Thus, I'm going to be putting up the suggestion to make a proof of concept, though I'll really have to hash out what the smallest possible proof of concept would be (I'm thinking a simple payment gateway for accepting Bitcoin donations). It's important to keep the goals small to begin with, as trying to do something too large right away (like trying to convince Kiva to supplement current payment methods for Bitcoin) would fail outright.

That said, I'm pretty confident that given enough time, we'll see some proof of concepts getting built, which would allow us to approach our Legal and Audit teams to discuss what the hurdles would be there.

Also, while the enthusiasm is great, I'll continue to repeat my realism, which is that any such project would have a long timeline.

The more buzz there is though, and the possibility of a bounty, definitely lead to engineers here being more interested! Smiley

Look forward to continuing the conversation tomorrow.

P.S. May I have permission to begin posting in the other forums?
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October 12, 2011, 02:10:58 AM
 #7

Hi all,

I work at Kiva (http://www.kiva.org) as a software engineer.
I'm interested in talking more about Bitcoin and Kiva, and considering the rules here, although I am no stranger to Bitcoin, it seems it may be best to give a few posts about what sort of things are going on that can bring the two together.

There are 3 engineers here in addition to me who own Bitcoins and have an interest in spreading their use further. One of the ways we realized we could do that is by first educating the organization about what Bitcoins are. Kiva has a neat concept of self-run "Brown-bags" where anyone can discuss a topic (sort of like a Google tech talk), so we put together a presentation to educate fellow Kivans on Bitcoins, both their benefits and drawbacks.

Later on I realized some of our lenders were interested in Bitcoins as well, though as you can see, they also know that there are both benefits and drawbacks: http://www.kivafriends.org/index.php?topic=5789.0

In my next post, sometime later today, I'll discuss sort of a roadmap of how Kiva could start getting a Bitcoin project going.

Don't be led astray though, I know that any project to implement Bitcoin would take at the very least 6 months, and more likely a year, mostly due to the non-technical hurdles (like legal and auditing). So in a third post, I'll talk about why those things are an issue.

Cheers,

mrchilly

mrchilly,

I've been using Kiva for many years now and I believe in what they do.  So props to you for working for/with them to make their stuff happen.

If you haven't already, I would encourage you to join the bitcoin channels on the Freenode IRC network.  (Freenode.net #bitcoin, #bitcoin-dev, #bitcoin-otc)   You will find many of the developers of the software online in those channels and will be able to answer any questions you might have in a more back/forth near instant format as compared to the forums (not to say that the forums aren't useful).

Coming Soon!™ © imsaguy 2011-2013, All rights reserved.

EIEIO:
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=60117.0

Shades Minoco Collection Thread: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=65989
Payment Address: http://btc.to/5r6
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October 12, 2011, 05:28:33 PM
 #8

sounds very interesting..
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October 12, 2011, 08:17:00 PM
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This is a great idea..

For Canadians by Canadians: Canada's Bitcoin Community - https://www.coinforum.ca/
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October 12, 2011, 09:54:32 PM
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New to Kiva
PatrickHarnett
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October 12, 2011, 11:51:32 PM
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I would like Kiva to take Bitcoins.  I've done 30 or 40 loans and this would be a nice addition.
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October 13, 2011, 04:13:06 AM
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Eh, bump. This is a big deal guys. If Bitcoin is used in micro-lending like Kiva, it will have a huge impact on Bitcoin and small economies as a whole.



don't expect that. The bitcoin will have to be exchanged to their local currency, and when they pay it back, they are suffering the exchange rate risks. The bitcoin can only be used as a payment tool in kiva case, which is not so meaningful for the kiva.

Atlas, once you ask donation for Advertise on the WSJ, where did that funds go?

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memvola
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October 13, 2011, 05:01:05 AM
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Eh, bump. This is a big deal guys. If Bitcoin is used in micro-lending like Kiva, it will have a huge impact on Bitcoin and small economies as a whole.

don't expect that. The bitcoin will have to be exchanged to their local currency, and when they pay it back, they are suffering the exchange rate risks. The bitcoin can only be used as a payment tool in kiva case, which is not so meaningful for the kiva.

Well, it can start as a payment method and the lender can take on the exchange rate risk. I would. It's not utilizing Bitcoin's sweetness, but it's not not meaningful. It's just a beginning. There is a potential for this to become the de facto standard micro-lending method, but it would take a looong time. Someone has to start somewhere.
HorseRider
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October 13, 2011, 06:22:06 AM
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Eh, bump. This is a big deal guys. If Bitcoin is used in micro-lending like Kiva, it will have a huge impact on Bitcoin and small economies as a whole.

the lender can take on the exchange rate risk. I would.


Are you sure? 20% per day?

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memvola
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October 13, 2011, 07:17:36 AM
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the lender can take on the exchange rate risk. I would.
Are you sure? 20% per day?

Why not? With that logic, I wouldn't spend bitcoins on anything, since I am making an exchange. Still, Bitcoin is my preferred method of payment. So I buy something today, and price goes down 20%. I win. Same with loans that are converted to local currency. The problem here is, you don't know where the exchange rates will move. If the probability is uniform, then it will even out in the long run, so I don't think about it. And it has to be uniform, or else the price would be different. :-)

Sorry for being off-topic but, if you know that price will move downwards, spending makes sense. If you know that price will move upwards, you can buy as much extra as you want and continue spending coins, the "extra" portion would be worth less if you hadn't exchanged in the first place. Not the best logic though, because you never know. I trust in the law of large numbers instead. Wink

Anyway, I think people that already have bitcoins would be interested in this. In the long run though, it might allow direct transfer, which is actually decreasing the risk. Volatility is not an inherent property of Bitcoin either. I understand that it's not automatically a match made in heaven, but can't see any downsides. (And the apparent upside is the additional number of lenders. Me for starters. Grin)
EhVedadoOAnonimato
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October 13, 2011, 07:48:24 AM
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Well, it can start as a payment method and the lender can take on the exchange rate risk. I would.

True, particularly because it is a sort of charity anyway, if I understood it correctly.
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October 13, 2011, 07:51:12 AM
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Well, it can start as a payment method and the lender can take on the exchange rate risk. I would.

True, particularly because it is a sort of charity anyway, if I understood it correctly.

Exactly.
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October 13, 2011, 09:01:29 AM
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the lender can take on the exchange rate risk. I would.
Are you sure? 20% per day?

 If the probability is uniform, then it will even out in the long run, so I don't think about it.


Do you know anything about how kiva works? Do you have any sence about what is "risk" and "uncertainty", which are both people like to avoid in some circumstances.

 If you're living in a developed country and have a decent job that earns lots of money, and you won't be bothered by the "short term" exchange rate fluctuation, because you have the choice to look forward the long run. You do not HAVE TO sell your bitcoin or have any obligation buy back bitcoin at any time.

However, for the people living in the developing countries, and even need go to kiva to lend some money to start their own business and committed to pay back the money in 6/12/24 month. What do you mean by "long run"?  Maybe the people who lend the bitcoin from kiva cannot afford a "long run". if the ppl borrow 10000 bitcoin at the beginning of the 2011 to raise some little chicken. He successfully feed the chicken and sold it 6 months later, but he find he cannot get enough bitcoins to pay back the debt.

It's not a bitcoin only problem. For the Mexican ppl, they should keep their eyes open and really think about it before they borrowing money in terms of USD. What if the USD suddenly jump up against their local currency?

You want to push bitcoin into mainstream so much that decided to lie about the truth. Don't do this. bitcoin have its own destiny and killer applications, no liar and quibble needed to make people feel the false confident.

I think bitcoin is fine as a low cost payment tool, but the Paypal charges a special low fee to the kiva, which was a charity organization. So bitcoin just won't work in this case, at least right now.


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EhVedadoOAnonimato
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October 13, 2011, 10:17:09 AM
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It allows donors to make their contributions anonymously, that's a plus over paypal. And not being dependent on a single centralized means of payment is good for Kiva too.

And no, the contracts do not need to be quoted in BTC, they can be quoted on more stable currencies, BTC is just the means of payment.
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October 13, 2011, 02:30:55 PM
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I think bitcoin is fine as a low cost payment tool, but the Paypal charges a special low fee to the kiva, which was a charity organization.

Actually, Paypal doesn't charge anything to Kiva. It's free.

I also see bitcoin as a mean of payment method that is instantaneously converted to another currency. Kiva can instantaneously convert the bitcoin to dollars at exchanges, or use something like bit-pay to get it up and running quickly (they don't charge fees for donations as far as I know).
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