Apologies if this has been already discussed to death...The problem
Lets consider a newcomer wannabe-btc-consumer. They come across an awesome product/service which is sold in BTC only, so they think to themselves `great! let me get $20 worth of bitcoin so I can get me this hella-cool product`.
A quick google search for `getting bitcoin` soon leads to disappointment...
- "You mean it is practically impossible to buy bitcoin with a credit card nor paypal?"
- "You want me to go to my bank and wire over some money to some random bank account number I found on the internets??"
- "Aah I can use Dwolla, brilliant .... oh no wait, I do not live in the US! damn."
Consumer is quickly put off and finds similar almost-as-cool product elsewhere and pays with paypal/cc card.
We need a frictionless way for consumers to get hold of small amounts of bitcoin so that they can buy products/services.
Since we know that paypal/cc cards are not gonna happen for this, lets make it easier to have cash based transactions by encouraging in person trades.
I see that btcnearme had a similar objective, but it does seem a little dead! https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=54522.0Rough proposal
- Create a centralised service with web front end
- Allow consumer to find BTC traders in their region
- Allows traders to advertise their services for particular region, along with their exchange rate etc
- Trades are booked online, BTC goes into escrow
- Trader and consumer perform cash transaction in meatspace, BTC is released by trader from escrow
This would probably be enough for a simple service, but the consumer may want to get a `receipt` from the trader to prove the fact that the cash transaction took place...
- Mobile application for performing real life offline cash transaction
- Mobile app allows trader to create a digital receipt and give it to the buyer to show that cash received
- Mobile app allows consumer to verify digital receipt is valid
- Mobile application could also serve as wallet, using some existing open source code/online wallet service
This digital receipt could be the key that allows the BTC in escrow to be released.Today's consumers become traders of tomorrow
- Easily allow people to set up shop as trader in their neighbourhood
- Take small percentage of transaction for escrow fee
- Centralised escrow service does not have private keys to do any btc transaction. Escrow is released by trader's key/receipt
- Trades with small quantities of cash to mitigate risk of being robbed!
- Reputation system for traders/consumers
- Could offer some dispute resolution service, but then again we are just doing small transactions, reputation might be enough
- Entering keys only happens using signed open source applications - e.g. applet on website, signed android app etc
- To help mitigate against bad code getting private keys of users in the case of server compromise