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Author Topic: How to Help Bitcoin take over a Local Area  (Read 1474 times)
PrintCoins
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December 01, 2011, 12:37:40 AM
 #1

I started compiling this for a thread regarding my locality, but it seems general enough to apply to any densely populated area. I will continue to edit this post to keep a summary of other user's comments.

Many users wish to try to get merchants to accept bitcoins.

I think instead just asking merchants to accept it, a good idea would be to ask them to accept it, and come by on a regular basis offering to buy the bitcoins off of them for cash. If bitcoin exchangers were stopping by the food carts willing to take bitcoins off of merchants, then merchants would have no qualms about taking the coins.

So here is how I would convert my local area one merchant at a time:

* Pick a tightly packed area of food and other merchants to target.

* Create a sign for https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/File:WeAcceptBitcoin.png (maybe one of your first targets should be a print shop)

* Stop by a merchant and ask if they have an android phone. I might move on if they don't, because I don't know a better handheld solution than Bitcoin Wallet for android, but feel free to chime in iPhone users. A computer is just too much to deal with in this setup. Be sure that you have good 4g coverage in your target area.

* Give a little pitch for Bitcoin, but try not to get too technical. Basically, state it is a type of money that can be transferred via their smartphone. See if they will install the software on their phone, and give them a bitcoin (wait till they have the full blockchain first... wait times are embarrassing). Try to act out a simulation with them so they can work out the kinks with you. I would recommend they take payment before cooking something if they are a street vender. It will make things more seamless. Also customers should be urged not to remove the default transaction fee (maybe include this in the sign). It sucks when a miner skips a transaction in a block because there is no fee.

* Pull out your little sign, and ask them if they would run an experiment with it up for a little while and see if they can sell some goods. Give them your phone number and email, and be willing to act as tech support.

* Post up to the forums here and try to convince people to go there and buy things.

* Come by once in a while and collect bitcoins from them for cash. They need to feel that they can rely on this. If you feel you can make a little profit, go for it, but don't undermine the cause.
  ** A good idea would be to copy their public key for their wallet. This way you can check block explorer and magically show up whenever they have some bitcoins.

* Set up additional merchants, and make your rounds once a week. Create a web page or just a text document listing all of the locations in town that accept it, and print this out. See if the merchant will also have this next to their sign (after they are established). This can be a handy directory that will make consumers realize how usable this currency is.

Level 2

If you really want to push the envelope after all of this, see who he typically buys things off of locally, and go after them. Try to go for big fish too. A local grocery store manager might be interested in something that will convert to more sales. Good luck with chains and franchises, but remember there is little to lose, and if a big supplier converts over, you will get many little merchants that will follow along. Try to talk to owners of establishments, and not people that don't have the authority to make the change. Be willing to provide training.

If you get the suppliers to join up, the merchants will no longer need to sell the coins to you as they can use them to buy what they need.

Ideally a nice google maps site would be great for managing locals and helping visitors find merchants. I put this out for a fellow geek with more time than me to implement. If you do, send me a pm. Otherwise I might just build it myself when I get the time.

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BitPay Business Solutions
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December 01, 2011, 12:49:08 AM
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This is a great idea, but remember a merchant doesn't have to have any clue what bitcoin is, or how it works, to accept it.  Most businesses are too busy trying to run their business, and don't have time to be a currency trader.

So you can present it like this:  "There are over $20 million worth of bitcoins out there that people want to spend.  Would your business like to take their money?"

They could use a service like Bit-Pay where they never see or handle the bitcoins, or figure out how to report them on their books.  We sell them for the business immediately, and put dollars into their bank account every day.  So their accounting is simplified, only dealing with one currency, and they don't have to mess with anything technical.  The average store owner is not going to want to be stuck with handling IT and banking while trying to run their business.

You can show them this video with the 2 girls in the restaurant. 

https://bit-pay.com/aboutMobile.html

Or just have them email us or call us.  I will help any way I can.

BitPay : The World Leader in Bitcoin Business Solutions

https://bitpay.com

Does your website accept bitcoins?
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December 01, 2011, 01:15:27 AM
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Nice product bitpay. It seems that you act as a bitcoin merchant system that handles the conversion of cash via bank transfer and the handling of a wallet on a server.

I am not sure I would recommend this to a vender that is running his own store that needs some convincing to get their feet wet. A simple smartphone wallet app might be sufficient for starting out. When leading them to the path of bitcoin enlightenment, bitpay might be the way to have them handle their own cashing out if things work well for them.

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December 01, 2011, 01:24:43 AM
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i wonder if doing that guerilla style even would work ... put the stickers up yourself and let the customer inquiries convince the merchant to consider bitcoin.
  

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December 01, 2011, 01:27:05 AM
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Quote
Re: How to Help Bitcoin take over a Local Area

The only guaranteed way to take over a local area with bitcoin is to commission a casascius coin the approximate size of said area and drop it from a plane.


You can show them this video with the 2 girls in the restaurant. 

I want to make a 2-girls-1-coin video.

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December 01, 2011, 01:35:11 AM
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* Create a sign for https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/File:WeAcceptBitcoin.png (maybe one of your first targets should be a print shop)


https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?action=profile;u=23737  < operator of a printting service accepting bitcoins
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=45203.0 < link to his thread
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=43664.0 < thread with the poster you probably want

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December 01, 2011, 01:47:45 AM
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I think your strategy makes sense.  And there are ways for a reluctant merchant to test it out with little risk. They could, for example, offer a special item of the week for sale in bitcoin.
I would add that if you can convince the shops to spend their bitcoin rather than convert it to USD we could have an even more complete economy.

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December 01, 2011, 02:30:47 AM
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Good idea,
like salesman for integrate purchase
for free.

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December 01, 2011, 02:44:38 AM
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I think your strategy makes sense.  And there are ways for a reluctant merchant to test it out with little risk. They could, for example, offer a special item of the week for sale in bitcoin.
I would add that if you can convince the shops to spend their bitcoin rather than convert it to USD we could have an even more complete economy.

This is exactly my thinking:

Quote
I would add that if you can convince the shops to spend their bitcoin rather than convert it to USD we could have an even more complete economy.

A merchant need not convert Bitcoin to USD, or other, to make it work for them. By accepting Bitcoin, they're apt to get business they would not normally get. With that source of revenue, they simply buy something online that they would normally buy with cash/cc. Also, business owners don't quit buying gifts because they now own a business. They still have family and friends to buy gifts for. Alpaca socks and computer equipment immediately come to mind. Coffee is an an excellent gift idea.

To recap, a business owner currently sells his wares and deposits the day's revenue into their bank account. Now, they need to take some of that cash out of the bank to buy a gift or something needed for their place of business. That same something that they may be able to purchase with Bitcoin. By accepting Bitcoin, when something needs purchased, they just transfer the amount needed. No touching of that nasty, smelly money. And, like the early years of purchasing online, a unique tax advantage.

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December 01, 2011, 03:22:56 AM
 #10

Hey what about this. Let's say our merchant has an ice cream stand. He accepts bitcoin for purchases and now can exchange or spend them.  But what if instead he sells them at his stand. just put up a sign that you accept and sell bitcoins. If our guy is careful It might even become a separate revenue stream.

The gospel according to Satoshi - https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf

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yossarian
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December 01, 2011, 07:27:32 AM
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For accepting Bitcoin locally, the best idea seems to build small communities of vendors where a couple places accept Bitcoin. @freeborn made this announcement on reddit: Waiting for some decent clients, before we start shouting "use your bitcoins over here". You likely will be able to use bitcoins most places in town by late spring(local pub, grocery, computer shop, bed and breakfest already on board). His main problem is that most people use Apple products but there's no easy Bitcoin solution for that just yet.

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December 01, 2011, 08:30:38 AM
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Everyone seems to be missing the main point here, what do we already have?

Enthusiasts wanting to use bitcoins ie buying power. 

So thats where you need to start, there is no point getting a shop to accept bitcoins if nobody goes into the shop to ask to pay with them.

Start by gathering together everyone in your area that uses or is willing to use bitcoins (sell some coins to your friends with android phones).  Target a place you are all happy to spend money, ie the local coffee shop or whatever it is.  Once you pick your target, start spending.

I was discussing with Tony from Bit Pay about a website that could coordinate these things, have a directory, each shop is given a red/green/yellow light to indicate its progress.

Join together, that's got to be the first step.

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December 01, 2011, 10:47:08 AM
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First and foremost we need smartphone apps that can import private keys. Online services are fine for us geeks, but Joe Blow at the hardware store ain't gonna set up an account at Magic the Gathering Online Exchange.

Any significantly advanced cryptocurrency is indistinguishable from Ponzi Tulips.
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December 01, 2011, 01:49:45 PM
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i plan on doing something practical by providing bitcoin service on a local flea market / jumble sale.

i will provide assistance by installing apps on their phone for both merchants and customers, showing people how to use it etc.. also i will provide conversion BTC<>EUR for a fixed rate during the day, so that they have no currency risk.

this will help people as change money is always a small problem at flea markets.

also i plan on selling good food exclusively for bitcoin.

what is still missing for my plan:
  • i need a client that will accept 0 confirmations transactions - the transactions will be face-to-face and very small amounts so i don't see any chance of double-spend risk.
  • i need cheap (maybe used) smartphones to lend to people.
  • a wireless 3G hotspot that can support ~100 people and run via battery for a whole day


i think this kind of environment is a very good testbed for bitcoin
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