Spending the past eight months getting New York City merchants to try accepting bitcoins has taught me a few things.
- Merchants don’t care about bitcoin or credit cards, they just want more customers.
- We as a community need to work together to support the merchants supporting us.
- Feedback is essential to growing any system, be it a video game character or an economy.
We all know that a big part of making bitcoin mainstream is retail adoption. When you can buy a hot dog, groceries and do your laundry with bitcoin then we know we have arrived. Retail adoption is where bitcoin has seen it’s slowest adoption. We have a major weakness here and we all need to begin building the bridges and the tools to fix it.
The Tools we Have
The bitcoin community has really stepped up and built some awesome tools for us.
The current maps and directories have done an excellent job of listing the merchants around the world who are accepting bitcoin. These are good tools but a better definition of what they do is perhaps “lists merchants who at one point decided to try accepting bitcoin”. When one actually approaches those merchants and asks about bticoin, nine time out of then you will get a look of confusion. Sometimes it is a lack of training of the entire staff in how to accept it via their current processor but most of the time they have simply just lost interest.
We here at EasyBitz just wanted to make the Best merchant Point of Sale for Bitcoin.
We built it and signed up merchants around the world. We quickly saw that this wasn’t enough.
As the Hype has worn off it is now time for Bitcoin to grow organically and with a concentrated tactical approach that calls upon the whole of the bitcoin community. The entire community must be mobilized to support those who support us. Good communication is key and tactical planning is paramount.
- Challenge: Every time a new merchant decides to accept bitcoin we as a community must make a focused effort to flood them with business. Result: The merchant will then be trained in how to process bitcoin sales and see bitcoin as a truly rewarding venture.
- Challenge: We need a map that is live, with us seeing in realtime bitcoin transactions in cities across the world. Result: Realtime feedback will actively engage the community in supporting merchants.
- Challenge: We need a way to reward the Bitcoin community for supporting these merchants. Result: A self sustaining system will allow the effort to grow exponentially and dramatically increase the speed of worldwide bitcoin saturation across communities. The Circle will be closed.
The Living Map
We got the idea for the Living map one day when we both decided to check out a place on coinmap.org which was supposedly accepting bitcoin. When we arrived the staff had no idea what we were talking about. Turns out the shift manager decided to try it out a month ago. He just kept the coins and deposited cash into the register. We were on the bitcointalk.org forum the same night and thought it would be nice if we could see how fresh a merchant was just like we do with threads on a forum.
It just began to dawn on us how the bitcoin community was such a powerful thing and yet the community had no real tools or feedback platform for retail adoption. The immense challenge of retail adoption, above all needed a focused community effort to really make it work.
We built the living map to be the feedback loop the community needs to really grow bit coin’s retail presence. Every time a merchant makes a bitcoin sale he will be bumped up to the top of the map and we will all see it in real time, in every city, state and country on earth.