Can Twitter make bitcoin easier to use?
It is no secret that bitcoin has not been able to gain mainstream acceptance. Although the reasons for this are numerous — it has a reputation of being seedy and volatile — one of the biggest reasons is its high learning curve. At the bare minimum, users need a good bitcoin wallet, a secure password for that wallet and a bitcoin address to send bitcoin to someone else. Several companies have attempted to make the process easier with bitcoin ATMs and apps, and one company — iPayYou — has created a new method to let users send bitcoin through Twitter.
Gene Kavner, CEO of iPayYou and a former director of Amazon Associates, recognized that bitcoin is too difficult for the average user.
“It has so far developed in a way that is too complex for average person. If you talk to people in your life, you are going to get blank stares if you mention bitcoin,” Kavner said in an interview.
The company initially created a method to allow people to send bitcoins via email. For many people, however, an email address is still considered private information, so iPayYou planned to develop a method to send bitcoin payments without exposing any private information. The company chose Twitter due to its popularity.
Known as Pay by Twitter, it is designed so that once an iPayYou completes the payment, the receiver receives a Tweet informing him or her of the payment. The receiver can click a link on the Tweet that redirects to the iPayYou website. The user can then create a profile and choose from there what to do with the bitcoin.
The receiver can choose to keep the bitcoin in his iPayYou wallet for future use, or he or she can convert the bitcoin into U.S. dollars or even send the money to someone else. When iPayYou launched this service in July, the company gave users the chance to try out the service by donating bitcoin to U.S. Presidential candidates.
“We chose to use the presidential candidates as an example of how little information is truly required to send payments over our Pay-by-Twitter feature. It will open the doors for individuals to not only send payment to friends, families and colleagues but also support causes and charities which will benefit from its true peer-to-peer functionality,” Kavner said in a press release.
The sender can also choose to cancel the payment before the receiver accepts the funds.
IPayYou isn’t the company trying to make bitcoin easier to use. Earlier this year, BitAccess announced the launch of a tool to allow 6,000 Canadian retailers to sell bitcoin. Customers can purchase a Flexepin voucher at the stores, which can then be used to purchase bitcoin.
Customers at the store can purchase bitcoins in denominations of $10, $30, $50, $100 or $250 a day with a credit or debit card. The vouchers can be redeemed on the BitAccess website and then added to their bitcoin wallet of choice.
These developments point to a key reality within the bitcoin world. If it is to gain mainstream acceptance, it needs to be user-friendly.