If you're an advocate or supporter of Bitcoin then you my, like me, have wondered how it could be made simpler and easier for people to use, so that they needn't be exposed to the full same learning curve that many of us were.
I'm in no way being paid for this endorsment, I have no personal interest in it beyond seeing how it could help us advance the bitcoin ecosystem by getting new people involved.
One issue for new comers (leaving aside confirmation times, private keys, miner fees etc) is the way they need to copy and paste an address, or scan a QR code. It's a pain, and it doesn't feel intuitive and normal for a lot of people.
One service which brought a novel way to solve the problem to market was Blocktrail, and their wallet allows you to send bitcoin by picking out a contact from your phones contacts list. I actually really like this, because it's intuitive and natural for people who use their smartphones all the time.
However, that's not the reason for todays blog. Nope. Todays blog is all about these guys:
Please, if you've ever found yourself wondering how to get people to interact more naturally with Bitcoin, check this out. It might be the solution you've been looking for!
So what is it, and what does it offer that makes it worth my while writing a whole blog post dedicated to them?
Think social. Social interaction is something we've all grown used to over the last few years now and the team behind Bitholla have utilised that familiarity to create a new social layer which sits over your normal wallet service. To use it you will still need a wallet on your phone (most available wallet applications will work with the BitHolla system).
When you first sign up to the app it creates a profile for you, where you enter your display name, choose a photo and enter your wallet address.
Once you've done that you are presented with a screen showing other BitHolla users, and their distance from you. If they have the feature enabled, you'll also be able to see where they are on the map, which you'll find on the second screen. This map also includes ATMs, shops which accept Bitcoin and Bitcoin related meet up events.
The third tab is a list of all your interactions on the site, including transactions in and out and a history of your chat messages. Ahh...I hadn't mentioned that, had I? It also has a built in chat feature, so if you're nearby to another Bitholla user and are looking to buy, or some local advice, it's as simple as finding them on the contacts list and sending them a quick message.
So, what's it like to use? Well, let's say I select your contact details from the contact list. I'm then presented with a screen which asks me to enter an amount I want to pay (or recieve, depending on which option you picked) which you can specify in either Bitcoin or your local currency. So, if you want to send $10 you specify that, and the software works out how much that is in Bitcoin. Obviously you can also enter a Bitcoin amount.
Once you've entered an amount and included a message, should you wish to do so, you click pay and you're presented with a choice of wallets to open on your phone. Once you select your wallet it'll open up with all the information already entered, the address, the ammount, all there, ready and waiting for you to press send.
The whole process appears to really simplify Bitcoin use and although it's an extra layer between you and your wallet, it packs enough features to make it really worth using for the unitiated. Heck, I like using it mysef, and I've been using Bitcoin for a pretty long time now.
So, next time you are talking to someone about how to use Bitcoin, try them with this. It might just be one of the things which helps us make adoption easier.
Also, credit must be given to Team Locals, on Twitter for the use of their art work in the header image in this post. Check them out.