Which makes it rather difficult to obtain bitcoin in the first place.
> Knowing you can now exchange bitcoin for Xbox points makes accepting bitcoin a lot more attractive.
One major reason for the popularity of the cards you can buy in various grocery/department stores providing points/credit for the various stories (Google Play, iTunes, Nintendo, Xbox, etc) is precisely because you can buy them with cash, redeem them at the online stores, and use the resulting credit to make purchases, all without using a credit card. This really doesn't solve that problem, it just shifts that problem to "how do you obtain bitcoin?"
Idea for a business model: make Bitcoin gift cards, and get them into the various grocery/department stores.
True, but now with Bitcoin a teen can do work for pay over the internet (I assume minors cannot easily get a paypal account). I've seen teens draw incredible art, make avatars, do minecraft related tasks, light programming, etc. So while it's not easy, there is a way for them to obtain it.
I remember scheming for ways to make money online when I was a teen, but my only options were to get someone to send me cash in the mail, or have my parents cash a check (after asking me a bunch of questions as to why someone was sending their 14yr old a $100 check).
Hop over to btc-e and watch thousands of teens daytrade altcoins while chatting, it's eye opening.
They are notoriously difficult to work with as a vendor. I had someone pay for the last milestone of a project, then after the goods were delivered, filed a chargeback with their credit card company. The CC company ruled in his favor, and Paypal offered no way to dispute. I was left with the -$1,500 balance
They can, very easily. I've had one of my accounts banned after applying for their debit card, but I was able to open another one with the same SSN and still haven't been caught.
These are a stop gap measure. Say I have $500 and I put $400 into Xbox points and $100 into Steam points. Then some new game comes out on PC but I'm out of cash because its all tied into Xbox points. This transfer is one-way, so my money is now stuck.
With bitcoin, or some other non-vendor middle-man, I have value sitting in my wallet ready for any transaction that accepts this currency. For someone without easy access to credit, buying a couple bitcoins (or some other cryptocurrency) seems like the better move.
Once you can purchase content directly using XBT, instead of merely using it as a funding source, you might have a use case.
Otherwise, most people would just buy a prepaid Debit card. It solves actually the same problem you're saying XBT solves, but it's accepted at vastly mere merchants.
There's still a big problem out there with foreign transactions and the credit card system. Paypal kinda handles this in some scenarios, but it still is unsolved, especially when you're discussing non-trivial amounts of money.
That said we also have pre-paid debit cards in some stores now, so it's even easier to have one of those.
(Also it is not uncommon at all for teenagers to have a debit card)
Not true. They just need to sell something illegal online and they got bitcoin. :trollface:
On a global scale the issue is even worse, there are billions of people without access to proper banking services. I can't even begin to imagine how much time/energy/value/productivity is wasted globally due to that. Bitcoin, or another similar solution, may be the key to helping to bring those billions out of their economic exclusion and into a more prosperous reality .
 https://www.economicinclusion.gov/surveys/2013household/ (2013 National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked)
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAxL4TB6pmQ (Spent: Looking For Change (Documentary))
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NfNwjJfrOg (What Bitcoin Means For Unbanked Economies)
 https://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/cell-phone-connected-unbanke... (The Cell Phone Connected the Unbanked, Bitcoin Will Bank Them)
The losses from this would easily be in the tens of millions and possibly in the hundreds of millions. We are lucky (Our company account has a credit card) but this is the biggest roadblock facing every young hacker/freeelancer/startup founder, especially those starting at the college level- You can't even open a Google play developer account. On the other side, there are millions of Indians who are blocked at the last mile while trying to purchase apps, ebooks, music on the Play store or iTunes (Microsoft Store seems to work but i cannot confirm this) with no explanation given other than a cryptic "Transaction rejected by bank" . If you are an app developer wondering why so few purchases come from India - this is the biggest reason why.
It is quite baffling why the likes of Google or Apple can't get off their butts and implement 3d secure (which is becoming widespread everywhere but the U.S.). People are begging Google and Apple to take their money and being rudely turned away.
Credit/debit cards work in a fundamentally flawed way from a security perspective, you essentially give everyone your "money password" each time you pay for something and have to trust them to not abuse it. Because of that a large number of expensive middlemen, checks and barriers are needed inside the system to ensure that the trust is not abused.
One of the easiest and most obvious ways to prevent abuse of a system is to limit access to that system to only trusted actors. And one of the quickest ways of identifying trusted actors is unfortunately discrimination based on things like prosperity and nationality. That's one of the reasons why so many people are prevented from using bank cards, letting them access the system is considered too high of a risk. I guess that's why the Reserve Bank of India require 3-D Secure for debit cards - as a way to mitigate some risk of abuse.
The reason why so many stores don't implement 3-D Secure is actually pretty logical. The extra step in the order process 3-D Secure adds results in a decrease of completed transactions of up to 30%. The only reason why 3D Secure was created in the first place is because the system it was built on top of is so damn insecure.
Bitcoin will help solve this issue, since it removes the need for trust completely. When paying for something with Bitcoin you don't have that fear that the person/company you send money to will grab more money from your card than you allowed, and he/she/they doesn't have to fear that you won't pay.
Because of this Bitcoin may end up creating a much freer financial world open to anyone, no matter their nationality or prosperity.
>>results in a substantial increase in transaction abandonment and lost revenue.
Right now 100% of all debit card transactions in India are abandoned due to lack of 3-D Secure. Almost all Indians who have a bank account have a debit card. A very small minority have acccess to Credit cards.
I think the biggest reason for merchants like Google and Apple to avoid 3-D secure is that they cannot pull money from your account without your permission. Each individual transaction has to be authenticated.
The issue is not the currency, the issue is the bank. Who will start the bank and accept the risky customers? Just because the currency changes does not change the causes of being underbanked.
A user in the Phillipines can create a wallet for nothing. Their relative in the US can send them bitcoin, then they exchange it for cash in the phillipines. they dont need a bank just a local trader who will trade bitcoin for cash, this will become more widespread as adoption grows so finding someone to trade with will be easier.
What services does a bank provide? it holds your money, it sends your money, it allows people to send you money. all of these can be achieved by bitcoin.
Outside of these functions everything else is a finacial service; loans, overdrafts, mortgages etc. all of which attract fees and charges, these are products you are being sold, this is not banking.
hnnewguy says that banks accept risk, well the risk they accept is not you, not if you are the one depositing money with them. you are taking the risk by letting them hold your money. they do assume risk but that is when you are taking out a loan or an overdraft, bitcoin does not replace these fucntions. bitcoin replaces, holding, sending and receving money, it does this far cheaper than a bank does, especially for the poor who are hit unfairly with charges that are very high in comparison to their income.
It also provides an audit trail for where money comes from and where it's going, and assumes some of the responsibility as an intermediary during those transactions. Believe it or not, that's vitally important to businesses.
Banking isn't about making payments. It's financial intermediation, and will not be usurped by Bitcoin. If anything, it will merely adopt Bitcoin into its practices.
>especially for the poor
Maybe I'm dense, but how exactly are the poor paying for things with Bitcoin?
I agree, bitcoin is not out to replace banking but it can offer banking facilities to those who cannot get them and banks will adopt bitcoin for the benefit it provides them, in all likelihood bitcoin will underpin financial transactions without the end user knowing particularly with regard to international transfers.
It is not about paying for things with botcoin, for the poor most banks won't touch then because they are not financilly viable, ie their income is to low for the bank to safely lend them money (loans, overdrafts, credit cards) as a result they don't even get to access the basic hold, send, receive money services.
Think of international remittance, a worker wants to send money home, he wants to send $50, Western union charge 10% of that, a bank would probably charge 20% to send it to Philippines. This second option requires the person in the Philippines to have a bank account, which is not always the case. The first option cones at significant expense for the sender.
If I send money to someone unintentionally or undeservedly, how does the block-chain rectify that charge?
My bank simply reverses it. That's powerful.
>This second option requires the person in the Philippines to have a bank account
True, but Bitcoin requires a cell phone or consistent internet access, doesn't it? And there's no recourse to having your money stolen or lost? I'm not sure those are appealing scenarios to the poor, either.
Transaction fees aren't high "just because". Otherwise anyone could open a lending facility of some sort and kill it. I mean, it's not like Western Union is making excessive profits. There's a matrix of risk involved with the movement of money. Bitcoin solves some, and creates others.
You don't need constant Internet access to use bitcoin. If you have an address for payment you can receive payment to it without being online. Next time you check the address the funds are there.
There is recourse to theft, the same ones available to people now, law enforcement. Yes you cannot guarantee the return of funds at present however insurance and insured wallets will be available and in some cases already are. Also security in the area is improving significantly all the time.
Western union make about $200 million a year in profits. So it is making a good profit. But transaction fees are high because the infrastructure needed to send payments internationally is extremely entice to build. Or it was before bitcoin came along. People forget that bitcoin is as much about the Blockchain technology as it is the currency. It is the Blockchain that makes transaction fees low and it is one of the primary reasons that bitcoin will "kill it" in the end.
The poor pay more for banking services than the better off do. This means they pay a higher percentage of their income for bank fees. I did not say they were buying things with bitcoin. Just that bitcoin allows them to transact far more cheaply than traditional banks do.
A bank isn't a vault to store money, it's a service provider. They provide services for money, including the assumption of risk. Whether those services justify the fees charged is another story. But you certainly aren't "banking" with bitcoin any more than putting cash in your wallet is "banking".
I'd start playing Magic: The Gathering again if the digital cards I bought were colored coins or counterparty-style tokens that I controlled, and could trade outside of the game.
If the game itself was open source and p2p, even better - there would be no worry of the company shutting down the servers/abandoning the game. The community could take over and make improvements to the client if needed. The initial creation of the game would be funded by selling the digital cards.
I think every card they print will eventually be represented as a member of a blockchain.
But what could we call such a site?
We're (I'm the founder) doing what you've outlined. Though the Deckbound-specific games are proprietary, the APIs and services are open -- and you can use the Deckbound card identities to make your own games. Ultimately we plan on p2p game clients as well -- and are building on top of other projects to deliver that.
The initial concept is focused on Trading Card Games and built on the Bitcoin blockchain, but there are very interesting medium-to-long term plans that are very much in the spirit of what you suggested.
The medias will love it.
So this is apparently for Microsoft partners who want to accept Bitcoin. Any idea which partners do? Microsoft's site is rather unhelpful; it keeps demanding a login.
Which certainly sounds like normal usage of a Microsoft Account, getting stuff for Xbox. Maybe they meant you can't buy like Office or Windows with it.
Which now includes Microsoft.
If you didn't know, Microsoft has chosen to accept bitcoin through their payment provider (otherwise that option would not appear). So I guess I don't understand what your point is.
The simplest way to rebut your assertion is to link to the official announcements by Microsoft  and their bitcoin payment processor (BitPay) .
Having come from they heydays of Facebook gaming, and having seen the rise and fall of numerous payment providers, I'm not sure how you draw that conclusion.
Implementing a new form of payment is trivial, especially one that's now relatively "mainstream", as Bitcoin is. I doubt there were many late nights in the board room considering this decision.
I hope those BC vending machines get more popular here.
Biggest issues are A: your general geo location is known (though remailing adds one more party to penetrate, OTOH, if the post scans every piece of mail, auto correlation could be easy). B: buying stamps is getting harder, anonymously. Cameras all over. Automatic machines require credit cards.
Source: I was thinking of operating a hidden service for hosting. I wanted to see how much work it actually was for potential customers to buy anonymous BTC and spent a few days attempting to do so. For people wanting to have strong (state level) security, it seems very difficult to get it right.
Edit: A real solution is, if zero knowledge proofs are real and can scale, is to have an active market that uses that tech. Then you go and trade in and out and can get lost in the noise, if enough transactions are occurring. But we'd need serious buy in, otherwise it's pretty unique behavior. But it could be a great extra layer.
And yes. I had similar thoughts. The only local seller I came up with in my area that would sell smaller ammounts wanted to meet in person. Which is...I don't know. I have a bad feeling about that.
Since I "only" want to pay an VPN with them (maybe some space also if that works out), I would probably take the mail-way you've described if it would have been aviable.
I now think about paying the VPN with vouchers I can buy in a local shop somewhere but no idea if that works with vouchers I buy here in Germany.
Similarly, let me know if you're in Thessaloniki!
FYI: most of them are drug dealers.
anyway to obtain them truly anonymously you can buy from an exchange using your bank and then mix them so the coins you are sent back are in no way related to the coins you bought on an exchange. further you could sell them for an alt-coin e.g. litecoin, transfer the litecoin to a different exchange (that only deals in cryptocurrencies and so does not require your real details) and buy bitcoins. these againw ould be totally unlinked to your original purhcase. Voila anonymous bitcoins.
A very easy way:
Go to localbitcoins.com
find a seller
buy bitcoins using your bank account
send coins to HELIX/Bitcoinfog or another mixer of your choice.
*Retrieve coins from the mixing service.
If so try bitcoin.de they are partners with Fidor bank and make purchasing coins very easy.
You may also want to consider if yiu even need to mix the coins. If you want to pay for a VPN I'm assuming you have looked into a privacy friendly provider. They will not keep logs of bitcoin addresses. If you transfer from bitcoin.de to another address e.g. Electrum wallet or blockchain.info Web wallet then send then to the VPN it is incredibly unlikely that anyone could link you payment to your original purchase conclusively. If you really think that the alphabet guys care then use a mixer like Helix and they I'll never be able to conclusively link your VPN purchase to you.
Danke ich schaue mir das mal an.
You can't purchase laptops:
The closest thing i found was by an article about shitexpress on http://goo.gl/4ri1B5 , they added paypal as payment method and their revenue was +370%.. So Bitcoin/Dogecoin/... was only 21,2% on day 1 of adding Paypal as payment option.
If you had asked anyone to implement PayPal support 10 years ago, you would probably not experience +370% increase in revenue. It would probably be more like 21,2%.
But because it stuck around and gained traction, it is now a sort of "default" for non-credit card payment. Which explains the 370% figure.
But PayPal is "evil" and we know this. It is a centralized outside your control. It can seize the funds in your account. It can be corrupted by governments. It can be instructed into what it can and can't support by credit-card companies, etc etc.
That not how currency is supposed to work. You own it. You exchange it. You give it to who you like to give it to. Your money is yours to do with as you please.
So we need a new approach which addresses the centralized nature of PayPal and the ownership issue of the funds. And BitCoin does just this!
Today it is 21.2%, but who knows? It may stick around and completely decimate PayPal if it becomes a new "default" for non-credit card payments. After all, if BitCoin is supported and has zero costs and a lower risk, why would anyone need PayPal?
That's a big "if". As it is, neither of these things are true.
There's no such thing as "free"; services have to be implemented, infrastructure must be built, systems must be supported. Hopefully Bitcoin will be cheap, cheaper than the alternatives, but it won't be free.
I kind of wish I bought Bitcoins when I heard about it a year or so ago (just like I wish I invested in Facebook). I did read an article explaining Bitcoin. Parts of it made sense, but other parts still left me confused. I wouldn't say that should deter anyone. As many things out there that we want or have, the results of the product is sometimes more important than its inner-workings.
>You can only use Bitcoin to add money to your Microsoft account and then purchase digital goods at select Microsoft online stores. You can’t use Bitcoin to purchase Microsoft products and services directly at this time.
the miners are the people that produce new bitcoins and secure the network.
Avoid the risk of purchasing bitcoin (either through mining hardware, or directly on exchanges), but gain the chance of capitalizing on bitcoin.
Think about it for a second.
Now look back at Bitcoin 5 years ago and compare where we are today. You're really not putting things into perspective.
So it's like saying an accurate thing?
A small business won't accept credit because of the risk, so a third-party will pay the business - for a fee - and take the risk of the credit themselves. The business isn't accepting credit as you point out.
Here MS aren't accepting bitcoins they're accepting the use of a third-party that will pay them in dollars on your behalf.
What's the point of that distinction? Well if MS truly accept bitcoins themselves then they would have holdings in bitcoins rather than in dollars, they would then be [capable of] trading in bitcoin and would legitimise it somewhat. Here they're not legitimising it to any useful degree, they're allowing BitPay to do all the bitcoin elements.
tl;dr - Call me when MS \buy\ something using bitcoins.
What we have here on HN is me, who over a year ago when Bitcoin was worth $460 said it was worthless ( https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6753545 ), and we also have the scam artists who were hyping it then, are hyping it now etc. The potential Bitcoin investor suckers who listened to me would have saved themselves from losing the $100+ dollars on each Bitcoin they bought since the current price is below $360. I've been prescient, they've been wrong, but they're still running their scam and will downvote me to oblivion - they still have some suckers to fleece. The real thing to note is how hard the big names in the Valley are pushing these hashes that they know to be worthless, which has been surrounded by an architect who hid his identity, and multiple ripoffs and police raids. Supposedly the Valley is about people who have insights that others don't. In this case though, the big names and big money have one insight, this is a scam, and try to hush those pointing that out, as there are still suckers left to fleece.
Your hypothetical day of a bitcoin worth $0.00 will come when something better replaces bitcoin, not because bitcoin failed against fiat/national currencies, but because it was superseded by a superior product.
What would you have said in 2011?
Commodities are assigned the value humans agree on, according to market. Bitcoin is no different. It's a digital commodity, but a commodity nevertheless. It will have its bubbles, but they are fueled by human greed, not the nature of bitcoin per se.
You mean other than in jewelry and electronics?
Even money has no value whatsoever. Money is a promise from a government to grant some goods or services.
I think you are using a strange definition of "no value".
Another way of thinking this one through would be to say, okay, gold may be desired for jewelery and electronics, but so are many other metals, so why did gold become a principal money and other metals didn't? The answer doesn't have anything to do with gold's desirability for jewelery/electronics - it has to do with gold's: good mix of abundance and scarcity, impossibility to forge, durability, friability, etc.
It's a rhetorical exercise necessary to make people understand that while Bitcoin may just be a bunch of numbers someone invented, the combined decision of humans to value it gives it its real value (facilitated of course by its suitability as an exchange technology.)
Let the apocalypse happen and see how valuable that paper money is, along with that bitcoin, and that bank account, and that credit card. That's when real, valuable things like salt, non-perishable food, fuel, certain metals, tools, and so on will have barter value. But the idea of a currency will (for a time at least) go away under those circumstances. Modern wealth is really a very fragile construction when you think about it; it's all just perceived value in the end.
So now you say, but the US government isn't anyone special. Countries come and go in dominance, why is the dollar worth more than any other currency? Because their really is no other country with which everyone else wants to trade with on a massive scale. Americans are willing to give more money for work than any other country, so it is in other countries best interest to take dollars, which in turn increases the demand for said dollar.
Wouldn't it be useful for a digital currency like bitcoin to replace all of that? Not really, unless it has actual ties with actual money. A digital currency's only real value is being able to send and receive money, fast. But once it gets wherever, it still has to be converted back to the local currency. Gold and other commodities have physical values with physical properties than can physically do things. That in itself makes them have a base value, when they go up or down, that's just the market being the market.
You could start talking about how more companies (like Microsoft) are accepting bitcoin, so potentially you'll never have to convert it back to local currency but that conversation leads to the dollar being essentially worthless and the US government could collapse any minute and you should save all your money in bitcoin. Which sounds stupid and goes into pump-and-dump territory.
If that were 100% true, I could make more money digging ditches than your average mid-level manager. But it's not that simple.
> In fact it's illegal for someone to not accept legal tender.
Bullshit. From the Federal Reserve's website (emphasis mine):
"Section 31 U.S.C. 5103, entitled "Legal tender," states: "United States coins and currency [including Federal reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal reserve banks and national banks] are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues."
This statute means that all United States money as identified above is a valid and legal offer of payment for debts when tendered to a creditor. There is, however, no Federal statute mandating that a private business, a person, or an organization must accept currency or coins as payment for goods or services. Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether to accept cash unless there is a state law which says otherwise."
(1) A tender of payment of a debt in legal tender currency, with some caveats and provisos, fulfills the obligation under the debt whether or not the person to whom the debt is owned wants to accept the currency, which has an effect if that person later tries to enforce the debt through the courts.
(2) If a US court awards damages, even if the injury consisted of deprivation of some other currency than the legal tender currency, it is going to award them in dollars. If the currency you actually hold is something else, you'll have to trade it for dollars to satisfy the debt thus created, unless the other party is willing to enter into an agreement to accept the other currency as a substitute.
Yet the people with the most money get that way by minimizing the amount of work they have to do?
Money _should_ represent the _value_ of decision-making exchanges. It represents whatever it takes to overcome barriers to cooperation and communication. You might call that 'work', but that's a very narrow view of the matter. Anytime someone overcomes a barrier to communication or cooperation, they are producing value.
_Most_ of this value is not captured by any monetary system, and in fact, most of our monetary systems capture biased and unrepresentative portions of that value, and thus can be manipulated far easier than desired.
It has nothing to do with 'work.' Manipulating measures of value doesn't overcome barriers, it reinforces them. Creating unnecessary obstacles for people is not valuable, even if people are payed to do it, despite the fact that it is work.
Government money represents debt, not work, that's why it's called IOUs. And I wouldn't say actual money (eg: gold, Bitcoin) represents something. It's just a resource useful for trading and saving, because it has certain properties like scarcity, fungibility, etc. 1 Bitcoin doesn't represent $354 US dollars of work in 2014. 1 Bitcoin represents 1 Bitcoin, if anything.
> When you do work, you get money.
So what happens when you don't work and you get money? Fatal error? What does the new money printed by the government every year represent?
> That's fundamentally what our economy runs on.
No, that's just what the owners of the world taught you through the education system they regulate.
No, its not illegal not to accept it (that is, the law does not punish failure to accept a tender of payment made in the currency designated as legal tender), however, the tender of payment in such currency may discharge the debt whether or not it is accepted, which would leave the party failing to accept the payment without any recourse through the legal system to collect the debt in the form it would prefer.
Again, it's perceived and agreed value. Gold is valuable because we decided it is. Jewels are as valuable as the fashion agrees them to be. In fact, you can find jewels worth thousands of dollars that are made of steel. Their intrinsic value for the material is a few cents.
> Even money has no value whatsoever. Money is a promise from a government to grant some goods or services.
I think you are using a strange definition of "no value".
What I mean is that the value is just what the system agrees on. If the system decides that the US are insolvent, or can't back their currency (which is a _promise_ to deliver) its value goes down, potentially to the value of the paper it's printed on.
In the end, the value of something depends on what people agree it's backing in terms of goods and services. It's an agreement, a child's game among adults, and can change in a whim.
What % of Golds value do you think is based on usage in jewelry and electronics? Hint, not much.
"In 2010, jewelry accounted for approximately 54% percent of gold demand, which totaled 3,812 tonnes, according to the World Gold Council and The London Bullion Market Association. ... Another 12% of demand is attributed to medical and industrial uses for gold, where it is used in the manufacturing of medical devices like stents and precision electronics like GPS units."