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Author Topic: Bitcoin for Christmas Gifts  (Read 1566 times)
BradZimdack
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November 05, 2011, 05:37:10 PM
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I've been inspired by www.BitcoinsForChristmas.com to give Bitcoins for my holiday gifts this year.  It think it will be a much more worthwhile gift than some disposable consumer electronics product and more interesting than a sweater.  The trouble is, I'm trying to work out the best way to present these gifts.

I want the recipient to:

1. Recognize the value of the gift.  I plan to give $100-200 worth, so I want the response to be, "wow, this is awesome," and not "I got you something cool and you got me some worthless coupon."

2. Be able to actually redeem and use the coins for something fun and worthwhile without the "gift" becoming a complicated computer science homework project.

I like how BFC makes #2 fairly easy (although I did have considerable trouble installing Multibit on my Windows netbook, and in the end it didn't work).  However, a simple e-mail seems a little flimsy for the value of this gift.  Maybe BFC is just better suited for smaller amounts.

I haven't purchased any of the Casascius coins yet, and I think those would do a much better job of fulfilling requirement #1.  A tangible metal coin would clearly convey value.  But, I'm very unclear on how they can be redeemed, and everything I've read on importing private keys sounds quite complicated -- certainly beyond the capabilities of my intended recipients.  I'll consider it an accomplishment if I can get them to install the client and wait a week for the block chain download.

As a fall back option, I suppose I could set up my own Bitcoin gift certificate redemption web site that issues coins from my own wallet based on a gift code I'd print either on nice certificate paper or a plastic card like the ones I'm selling at www.PayMyAddress.com.  Although, I would prefer a ready-made solution to save me the effort.

So my first question is, How does one redeem the Casascius coins?  Is there web site (other than Mt.Gox) where the key can be entered along with a receiving payment address?

Second question is, Does anyone have some sort of brochure or info-graphic that explains Bitcoin in the simplest of terms for someone who has never heard of it, who doesn't understand the fundamentals of money or economics, and who doesn't understand more than the basics of turning on a computer?

My ideal gift would be a nicely wrapped box that contains:

1. Certificate, coin, card, etc. with the bitcoins or equivalent redemption code on it.
2. Brochure that explains in ultra simple terms what the heck this is for and how to use it.
3. CD with the client installer and recent copy of the block chain.

Any thoughts on how I can most easily make any of the above happen before Christmas?
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Dan The Man
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November 05, 2011, 05:58:21 PM
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I think the ideal gift would be a card with a flash key that has all of the wallet and bitcoin client on it. Of course keep a backup yourself incase they lose it. I have a father that would probably be confused by how it works. But he supports Wikileaks and would probably be happy if he could just donate it all to them and see it work.

BradZimdack
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November 05, 2011, 06:04:40 PM
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I think the ideal gift would be a card with a flash key that has all of the wallet and bitcoin client on it. Of course keep a backup yourself incase they lose it. I have a father that would probably be confused by how it works. But he supports Wikileaks and would probably be happy if he could just donate it all to them and see it work.

That's an even better idea!  I hadn't even thought about just including the wallet file like that.  Can the client be run directly from a flash key to avoid the hassle of installation?
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November 05, 2011, 06:05:13 PM
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Nice idea, I really like the Christmas spirit on the website.

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November 05, 2011, 06:17:31 PM
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I agree with the flash key idea, excellent thinking!

Brad, curious what went wrong with MultiBit on your netbook...? We clearly need to hammer that out or we can't be recommending it to people.

What if BitcoinsForChristmas added a link in our confirmation email (when we receive the coins), that would send users to your site and let them upgrade their gift to a card or a Flash key for an extra $10 or $20? The link would tell you what day they wanted it to arrive and how much they were sending. We could give you a code snippet for your page so that whenever anyone ordered a physical gift with one of those codes, our system would automatically send you their coins and cancel our email delivery.

Does that make sense?

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November 05, 2011, 07:04:32 PM
 #6

1. Certificate, coin, card, etc. with the bitcoins or equivalent redemption code on it.
2. Brochure that explains in ultra simple terms what the heck this is for and how to use it.
3. CD with the client installer and recent copy of the block chain.

If you can get these designed all of these are easily produced in volume send me a PM and we can discuss exactly what you want to do

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If you found that funny or something i said useful i always appreciate spare change
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BradZimdack
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November 05, 2011, 11:34:23 PM
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Brad, curious what went wrong with MultiBit on your netbook...? We clearly need to hammer that out or we can't be recommending it to people.

First, I didn't have Java installed, so I was stopped from installing MultiBit until I got that taken care of.  That wasn't too big a deal, just an extra hassle I hadn't anticipated.  After I did get Java installed, I ran the MultiBit installer and it appeared to install fine through the last page of the installation program.  However, I then got a Windows system message that said something to the effect of, "the program you just installed may not have installed properly."  I ignored that warning and started MultiBit.  The splash screen appeared for a fraction of a second, then closed.  I tried opening it several times, tried reinstalling several times, tried reinstalling java, but couldn't get it to work.  I didn't spend any more time trying to diagnose it because I mainly just wanted to evaluate how easy it would be for a new user.

I'm speaking in more general terms here, but we certainly need a simple, quick way for new users to get started.  For those of us who work with computers every day, it's very easy to overestimate the common man's aptitude to perform even simple tasks.  For a lot of ordinary people, even just going to a web site or sending an e-mail is barely within their capabilities.  Installing software is something they call their IT guy in to do.  I'm not at all exaggerating here.  One of our clients is a software company, so I occasionally do phone support just to stay in touch with the guys on the ground.  I can say to a customer, "go to our web site at www..." and he'll respond, "ok, how do I do that?"  One way or another, these people will need to be included in the Bitcoin economy if Bitcoin is to become what we all want it to be, and I don't think user education is going to get us there.


What if BitcoinsForChristmas added a link in our confirmation email (when we receive the coins), that would send users to your site and let them upgrade their gift to a card or a Flash key for an extra $10 or $20?

That makes sense; I like that idea.  I can do the cards, but I'm not well equipped at the moment to do the Flash keys.  I need to experiment with that a little more to see if the entire client can run directly from the flash drive.  Even if it does, I could see yanking it out while the client is running could lead to some potential problems.

I'm also thinking the wallet file could come locked with the new encryption feature in v0.4.  A nicely printed certificate or card could be included with the pass phrase on it just to make the whole thing seem more meaningful and important.

I can also work on the brochures, unless someone with more design talent than me would like to volunteer.  I'd be willing to front the cost of a bulk order and then offer them in smaller packages.  Even after Christmas has passed, it would be nice if this could become a general Bitcoin gift set or something of a new user starter kit.
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November 06, 2011, 01:12:53 AM
 #8

I'm speaking in more general terms here, but we certainly need a simple, quick way for new users to get started.  For those of us who work with computers every day, it's very easy to overestimate the common man's aptitude to perform even simple tasks.  For a lot of ordinary people, even just going to a web site or sending an e-mail is barely within their capabilities. 

Here's what I'm anticipating:

Bitcoin users will not send Bitcoin gifts to people who are not, at the very least, capable of installing software on their own.  Bitcoin is not ready for the grandma-crowd just yet, however, we can easily target the Facebook-level-of-computer-savvy crowd and still have millions of people who could potentially become Bitcoin users.

That being said, if YOU couldn't get MultiBit working, there isn't much hope for our target market.

We'll need an alternative.

garyrowe
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November 06, 2011, 01:49:40 PM
 #9

Thanks for the feedback regarding your experience with the Windows installer for MultiBit - we really need this kind of information because we only have a limited number of different environments that we can test against.

Although the installers are labelled as Windows, Mac and Linux it is possible to use the Linux one on pretty much any operating system. Once unzipped (through EzPack) the multibit-exe.jar can be double-clicked to start it. However, as an earlier post points out, this kind of work is way beyond the average user.

There are some big improvements coming in MultiBit, and as part of that we'll work to make the installation process as seamless as possible for all concerned.


Bitcoin enthusiast and Java programmer contributing to https://multibit.org and http://bitcoin.stackexchange.com
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November 06, 2011, 02:15:30 PM
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Gary, is there any chance we might see a fully compiled executable that addresses the Windows startup issue within the next couple of weeks? Moving towards December we're expecting more people to start picking up gift coins and needing an easy way to store them. Currently, we send them to this page, describing how to set up MultiBit:

http://bitcoinsforchristmas.com/receive.php?hash=123

We've discussed sending people to an e-wallet site as an emergency fallback, or even acting as a one-way wallet ourselves; but the whole idea with BitcoinsForChristmas was to get more people having their own wallets in an easy way and becoming active Bitcoin users, not one-timers. It defeats the purpose of the gift if people never get their coins and are just viewing it as a balance in an e-wallet.

The consensus among the other merchants I've spoken with is that a full download of the satoshi client & block chain is a no-go for newbies. We're desperate to give people something easy to use, and MultiBit looks like it. For the record, the OS X version of MultiBit works great; but the audience we're aiming for is non-technical and mostly on Windows. But we need to decide what to recommend as soon as possible for the holiday push and tailor our sites accordingly...

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November 06, 2011, 02:22:00 PM
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Quote
We're desperate to give people something easy to use
Good luck, normal people simply do not want to use a computer, let alone learn how to use it...

Using any software is like using alien things for them, they just know the procedure to send an email but if something change, their procedure fail and suddenly no more know how to send an email.

They even have PROBLEMS using facebook...  Roll Eyes
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November 06, 2011, 02:31:24 PM
 #12

We are as keen as you are to get this working, believe me!

As I mentioned earlier, our main problem is the lack of test environment for Windows since we develop with Macs. If anyone is in a position to help testing with a Windows environment then that will certainly help us zero in on issues with the installer. Ideally, we need someone to be online through chat (GMail, Skype) or GitHub and for them to send us screenshots of the failures (if any) they encounter.

The MultiBit team is UK based and we work within the GMT+0 timezone if people need to co-ordinate when they can be online.

Would you (or anyone else monitoring this thread) be able to help with this in the next few days?

Bitcoin enthusiast and Java programmer contributing to https://multibit.org and http://bitcoin.stackexchange.com
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November 06, 2011, 04:29:39 PM
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Hi,
I've been talking to joshstrike and Gary about the MultiBit Windows install bug.

I am just putting together the last month or so of work into a new beta and then will be spending the next few weeks mainly on bug fixing and generally improving the existing code rather than new features.   I think this will match the required timescales for Bitcoins for Christmas.

There was one bug reported that is still outstanding that might be what you are seeing: if you install in an account that does not have administrator rights there are problems with the 'write rights' for the log file.
I plan to put in a 'datadir', similar to the Satoshi client, where the default wallet, blockchain and log files are written to fix this particular problem.

BradZimdack << If you could PM me the log file 'multibit-debug.log' from your log directory wherever you installed MultiBit I will have a look at it.

The profile of the downloads of Multibit are about 50% Windows, 25% Mac, 25% Linux. As Gary mentioned, we both use Macs as our primary development machines but I think I will pick up a little Windows netbook to be a test machine.   So far I have been using a Windows XP VM on my Mac for Windows testing but I think it is time to have some real, separate, test hardware.

 

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November 06, 2011, 04:32:46 PM
 #14

There's always Physical Bitcoins... no computer needed.

Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper wallets instead.
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November 07, 2011, 01:15:15 AM
 #15

As someone who has seen the 25BTC Casascius coins in person,

I can honestly say that they are the most beautiful coins I have ever seen.


Anyone will be taken aback by their beauty when they see them for the first time, and will be happy to receive them as a gift weather or not they have ever heard of Bitcoins.

Mike,  can you post some photos of these?
Specifically the side where the holograms are attached.
I've never seen a photo of these online before.

I love the idea of making a gift set using these.

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November 07, 2011, 01:39:18 AM
 #16

Physical Bitcoins --> Great Christmas Gift

BitcoinsForChristmas.com --> Creating new Bitcoin users.

Both good, but completely different goals.

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