Could you provide realistic examples - niche markets/applications that come to mind? Do you think that gambling, gaming, and adult industries do not provide a reliable stepping stone or even a testing ground? Or do you think that Bitcoin simply needs a PR effort to diminish negative perception by business people (Ponzi schemes and such)? It's hard for me to believe that a serious businessman would be turned off by how some people misuse a technology, instead of focusing on how he can use it.
All good questions, and it is ones that I have been pondering myself.
To start I would like to comment that you don't need to look for niche markets as of yet, all bitcoin seems to have is niche markets. In fact the niche’s are getting so full that I wrote them off a while ago as a potential area of development that I would be interested in.
For the volume of trade we seem to have enough Exchanges, Lotteries, Instant Payout, Term Investment (“Ponzi”) & Porn sites. (Sorry if I missed your favorite bitcoin activity)
What I see a great lack of is the more mundane stuff, good and services that I use every day. Just opening my eyes and looking at my desk I see a few things, my mouse, my iPod and a bottle of coke, you probably see similar things.
These markets are not niche markets, they are day to day markets that we use constantly and they are wide open. Next time I need a new mouse I will go online to some store like newegg and in the next few days I will have one, same goes for a new MP3 (or whatever your format of choice is) except it will be instant. We need to make it so that it would be just as easy to do these things with bitcoins as it is with your credit card.
Bitcoins will have truly turned a corner when I go to the vending machine and perform some sort of key exchange (by some method unknown to me at the moment) and boom, I have a bottle of coke.
I think those are the type of opportunities we should be looking at, bugger the “new fandangle” type approach for now, let’s just stick with things that we know work because we use them every day.
As for an example, I think the first guy that has the balls to write a simple script on a simple website that allows me to buy an iTunes Gift Card with my bitcoins would have my business. That person would have to have the balls (and $ and BTC
) to put themselves and their company out there in a transparent manner though, get Cyber Insurance, put their address on their website and stand behind their service and not act like the proverbial Snake Oil Merchant, in short, do it in a professional manor (and pay my a 1% of net royalty fee
Once again, just my opinion though.