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Author Topic: Proposal: Bitcoin Acceptance Policies  (Read 941 times)
casascius
Mike Caldwell
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November 29, 2011, 07:44:24 PM
 #1

I wanted to make a proposal for Bitcoin Acceptance Policies: a predefined set of terms with acronyms that quickly describe to potential customers how a business accepts Bitcoins.

I feel there is a need for this, because as I scroll through the list of businesses that accept Bitcoins, I have no idea whether I would WANT to use Bitcoins without an in-depth analysis.  Some merchants will give their best deals for Bitcoins (which is good), and others will only give you what they could sell your Bitcoins for fiat for (which is of little use, I may as well use my Visa and retain the right to chargeback if I need it).  I see a value in being able to tell the difference at a glance.

So, I propose the following.

https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Acceptance_policies

And as an example, since I price my Casascius Physical Bitcoins in Bitcoins, I might list (FBP) on my entry in the Trade page.

In addition to encouraging honest up-front disclosure of exchange rates, I believe that my list of policies might have two valuable side effects: 1 - encourage businesses to give more favorable exchange rates than what they could get by liquidating the Bitcoins at an exchange (which I have referred to as "LIQ"), and 2 - that they should feel free to suspend acceptance of Bitcoins during the most volatile times, if necessary.  This would be so so that they can feel free to offer a more favorable rate during stable times that they don't have to inflate to hedge the risk of accepting BTC 24/7, particularly where someone could dump large amounts of BTC on them when it is clear the price is about to fall.

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 29, 2011, 10:03:24 PM
 #2

There is too much complication with the mass of acronyms, the normal user will not want to learn them. No offense, but I think that is a reasonable choice. Simplicity is a feat on its own; better let the merchant explain his policy in one or two clear sentences everyone can understand than use some cryptic code and link to an explanation site, which might then explain another ten codes nobody uses anyway.

We could use one phrase to distinguish businesses that prefer Bitcoin and give better deals in Bitcoin. "Cheaper in Bitcoins" may be a candidate. But I'd still not try to enforce it as some sort of motto. Let's keep doing things the Bitcoin way and promote freedom for the merchants.

I believe that keeping things as simple as possible is extremely important. And by "simple" I do not mean "short": for example, writing "fixed Bitcoin price" is readable to anyone and easily short enough. Why write "FBP" instead?
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November 29, 2011, 10:28:07 PM
 #3

Why write "FBP" instead?

Because it implies a customary arrangement and automatically answers lots of the questions without the verbosity.

Kind of how merchants in meatspace will say "OAC (On Approved Credit)", which is shorthand for saying "We are making you an offer, but it is contingent upon us checking your credit history and determining that you meet our creditworthiness standards, and if you don't, the offer is null and void".  Or "FOB Shanghai", which is shorthand for "Title to the goods passes to you as they leave Shanghai, so if anything happens to them before then, it's our problem.  Anything afterward, is your problem."

"LASTR" would basically say, in one word or less: plan on being given a fair MtGox spot price any time other than when the market is having a stormy day.

I'm not looking to invent unnecessary alphabet soup, but there needs to be a way to quickly differentiate merchants in the list who accept Bitcoins (but it's not worth your while to bother, because you're going to get the worst possible exchange rate for them, e.g. LIQ), versus ones that like Bitcoins because they "save on taxes" so they will give a discount, (i.e. CASH).

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 30, 2011, 09:50:23 AM
 #4

Most of those become irrelevant with a large futures market.
Jered Kenna (TradeHill)
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November 30, 2011, 11:15:13 AM
 #5

Most of those become irrelevant with a large futures market.

Exactly, that and when Bitcoin grows it won't be much different to the average user than say a credit card or paypal etc.
For example 99% of the world doesn't care what an "interchange fee" is or a "gateway". Someday it might be the same for "block chain". I'd see this as a big success as long as Bitcoin exists in it's intended form.

Still I appreciate the effort but we can't expect people to educate themselves just to use Bitcoin, they won't.

Jered

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