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Author Topic: A proposal: Bitcoin address directory  (Read 1345 times)
anfedorov
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July 21, 2012, 08:31:21 PM
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Say you want to send bitcoins to someone on a forum like reddit, Hacker News, Facebook, or by e-mail, and they don't have a bitcoin address. I propose a public service which will accept bitcoins on behalf of someone, reaches out to verify their ownership of the recipient account, and allows them to clam the bitcoins and set up an address to forward their bitcoins to in the future.

Would this be useful? What are the downsides?
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July 21, 2012, 08:59:38 PM
 #2

Downside #1:  It compromises the anonymity concept of Bitcoin.  You provide a great nexus for tracking who sent coins to where.

Downside #2: It compromises the "no trusted third party" concept of Bitcoin.  You simply walk away with all the coins.

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July 21, 2012, 09:16:23 PM
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A similar idea was hatched for the following service: https://thewalletlist.com

Instead of actually receiving the coins, the service would email the user asking them to input an address for an email. Not sure how I feel about a service that just holds funds for a particular user without them first creating the account.
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July 21, 2012, 10:17:05 PM
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Yeah, I would not trust it.

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July 21, 2012, 10:43:00 PM
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either get involved with bitcoin or don't receive bitcoin.

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July 21, 2012, 10:49:23 PM
 #6

Say you want to send bitcoins to someone on a forum like reddit, Hacker News, Facebook, or by e-mail, and they don't have a bitcoin address. I propose a public service which will accept bitcoins on behalf of someone, reaches out to verify their ownership of the recipient account, and allows them to clam the bitcoins and set up an address to forward their bitcoins to in the future.

Would this be useful? What are the downsides?
If you have their email address, use http://coinapult.com/

There is also some Facebook apps, but I haven't tried any of them.

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July 21, 2012, 10:53:40 PM
 #7

I need to reply again and stress just how stupid this idea is.

"Say you want to send bitcoins to someone ... and they don't have a bitcoin address."

The person you want to send bitcoin to probably already knows about bitcoin through you telling them. So why they haven't set up a wallet yet is beyond me.

And if you want to send a stranger bitcoin and you don't know if they even know what bitcoin is just asking for trouble.

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July 21, 2012, 10:58:03 PM
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I need to reply again and stress just how stupid this idea is.

"Say you want to send bitcoins to someone ... and they don't have a bitcoin address."

The person you want to send bitcoin to probably already knows about bitcoin through you telling them. So why they haven't set up a wallet yet is beyond me.

And if you want to send a stranger bitcoin and you don't know if they even know what bitcoin is just asking for trouble.
Take a look at coinapult, it does an awesome job of making bitcoin-to-noob-via-email transactions work really well.

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Bitcoin Oz
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July 22, 2012, 12:22:34 AM
 #9

Coinapult.com

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July 22, 2012, 08:14:02 PM
 #10

Coinapult.com

Coinapult sends to any e-mail address or mobile (U.S. and Canada):
 - http://www.Coinapult.com

Blockchain.info also does this, to e-mail as well as to nearly any mobile anywhere:
 - https://blockchain.info/wallet/send-via

They even will send to a friend on Facebook:
 - https://blockchain.info/wallet/send-via

If you only have a Twitter account:  
 - http://www.BTCTip.com

With BTCTip and Coinapult, if the recipient never claims the coin, they are returned to the sender after a period of time (like 30 days).  With Blockchain.info, the sender can redeem the private key, essentially to cancel the transfer if the recipient never claims the funds or any other reason.

You can also share the private key for an address so that the recipient can redeem the bitcoins.  Here's an easy way to create a paper bitcoin wallet:
 - http://www.BitAddress.org

Physical bitcoins can be sent to a party that doesn't know what a bitcoin is yet.   Casascius is one provider of a physical bitcoins:
 - http://www.Casascius.com

There are also redeemable codes from exchanges.  These too can be passed to somebody who can redeem the code to obtain the value stored against it.
 - http://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Redeemable_code

Now any bearer codes, like the paper wallet's private key or the redeemable codes need to be transferred securely.  You wouldn't want to send a Mt. Gox redeemable code through e-mail where anyone sniffing the network between you and the recipient can spend the funds.  But used properly, these function just fine for transferring bitcoins (or USDs, EURs, GBPs, etc., etc.  as well, from the exchanges and wallets that offer them) from one person to the next without knowing the recipient's bitcoin address or account number, e-mail, or anything else.

Low security, instant wallets like Instawallet and Easywallet.org require no username and password -- you just need the URL.
 - http://www.Instawallet.org
 - http://www.Easywallet.org

For your specific use cases, you could send the URL as a private message (PM) to the party you wish to send funds to.   Hacker News is the only one that you listed that has no PM method, but most everyone on HN using their own identity also uses some other social media which you could send the funds through.


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July 22, 2012, 08:22:58 PM
 #11

For your specific use cases, you could send the URL as a private message (PM) to the party you wish to send funds to.

And I almost forgot ... Propster, probably would work well for many of the scenarios where unsolicited "props" can be given.

 - https://propster.me/content/howto.html


Stephen Gornick
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July 22, 2012, 09:10:25 PM
 #12

Say you want to send bitcoins to someone on a forum like reddit, Hacker News, Facebook, or by e-mail, and they don't have a bitcoin address.

Also, there have been bitcoiners who are members of those communities (e.g. Reddit, Stack Exchange, etc.) that have suggested incorporating bitcoin into the site itself, but then the fireworks begin.  Some hate the idea as Bitcoin is seen as a threat by some and they go ballistic at the thought of bitcoin encroaching upon their community.  Others hate it because a good reputation on these forums currently must be achieved through merit.  If money gets involved, the type of participation changes and the quality might suffer.  For instance, some think the introduction of Quora credits really hurt Quora, rating it as being not much better than a Yahoo! answers type of site now.  

Witcoin was the first community site to integrate bitcoin.  It was such as small community then and the site ended up closing.   Ogrr.com probably does the best job of this today.  But there are other examples -- Rugatu, and in many ways, the signatures here on the BitcoinTalk forum are frequently used for this since the forum software itself doesn't support associating a bitcoin address to a profile yet.  It does display the URI handler though.  So if I show a bitcoin address here, such as the Faucet's: bitcoin:15ArtCgi3wmpQAAfYx4riaFmo4prJA4VsK it gets formatted nicely for use by your URI-enabled client.

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July 28, 2012, 08:26:19 PM
 #13

To Death and Taxes,

1. A directory only affects people who register with it. It doesn't change bitcoin's anonymity level in the slightest. A directory of users, coupled with applications that tapped into it would be a help to getting acceptance with the general public.

2. Agree completely with the 3rd party aspect. It's the banks, paypals we're trying to be free of. A directory should only be a way of connecting people who want to be found, not an payment intermediary.


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July 28, 2012, 09:01:07 PM
 #14

I have to agree that

1.  Not having to install local client
2.  Not having to download the blockchain
3.  Having an intermediate "label" or email address to abstract the big, scary, confusing bitcoin address

will be essential to engaging mass market general users

I've not used coin-a-pult but Coinbase (for general UI) and blockchain.info (for technology and security)  seem to be leaders in this movement.
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July 31, 2012, 02:59:00 PM
 #15

Downside #1:  It compromises the anonymity concept of Bitcoin.  You provide a great nexus for tracking who sent coins to where.

Downside #2: It compromises the "no trusted third party" concept of Bitcoin.  You simply walk away with all the coins.


I agree with D&T completely. If you want to send someone bitcoin, just get them to generate an address and then send it to them.

It is anonymous, secure, and just as easy.

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