A new way of buying anything with any coin
Tuesday 25 February 2014
Looking for how to spend altcoins other than bitcoin? How about Dodgecoin, Peercoin, Namecoin or Terracoin? We interviewed the developers behind the latest altcoin payment method.
Finding places to spend our coins
As an enthusiastic cryptocurrency user, I feel eager to one day be able to spend my coin(s) wherever I please. Unfortunately, we aren’t quite there yet as many merchants have still yet to embrace bitcoin, let alone smaller cryptocurrencies. There are merchants who use a service by the name of CoinPayments, which is an altcoin payment processor for currencies such as litecoin, megacoin, quark, and so on; however, the main issue with it is that merchants must be willing to integrate CoinPayments into their website. As so many merchants have yet to accept bitcoin, finding merchants who accept both bitcoin and smaller cryptocurrencies may be discouraging. Fortunately, finding a way to spend our coins may not have to be an issue with a new service by the name of BongoCoin.
How BongoCoin can help us spend our coins
BongoCoin is a means of paying for items online with various cryptocurrencies, despite the business not accepting cryptocurrencies directly. The skeptic in me naturally hesitates though, as BongoCoin would require users to send the fiat equivalent of a cryptocurrency to them so that they can order an item for you and send it to a specified shipping address. People may find this kind of a business model difficult to trust and understandably so, however it may be worth just a try to test its legitimacy. If you would like to know a bit more, BongoCoin has a youtube video which explains their service and how it works.
How to use BongoCoin
To order an item, first you would paste a link to the item you wish to order, followed by the exact fiat value of the item (including shipping). Next, you would choose a cryptocurrency you would like to pay with. You can also get a realtime exchange rate for your chosen cryptocurrency so that you know how much you are sending to them. Lastly, you would enter your shipping information like you would with any other online store. You can take a look at their ‘order now’ page which, given these steps, appears to be very simple and easy to use.
More about BongoCoin
I had the opportunity to speak with Felix Forster, the CEO of BongoCoin and ask about their service and their outlook on the future of their service.
Daniel Mestre: When did you come up with the idea for Bongocoin?
Felix Forster: Fall last year, we met for a nice wine at my favorite winery and discussed the opportunities that appeared with the rise of the cryptocoin ecosystem. For us, now, the time is comparable to the internet boom/hype at the end of the 90, where most of today’s large Internet companies (Google, Amazon, etc.) were founded. However, trading with cryptocoins (or as others refer to it: speculating) is not the way to build a sustainable company in this space.
My business partner, at that time, was heavily long in LTC and was complaining that he couldn’t use it for hardly anything than speculating. But, apparently the more possible usages a currency has, the more valuable it is.
And the most basic usage of a currency is buying goods. We don’t think, that there will be a broad cryptocoin retailer integration comparable to Paypal or credit cards in the near future. Hence, it makes sense to enable customers to be independent of the offered payment methods. That’s how we came up with the idea of Bongocoin. We handle all the needed exchanges of (fiat- and crypto-) currencies in our backend so that the customer can pay with his cryptocoins at every online store around the globe.
DM: What is the main difference between your service and a service like CoinPayments.com?
FF: In a nutshell, it is the B2C-version of CoinPayments & co.
Usually, cryptocoin owners make up for only a very small slice of the whole revenue share of an online store. Consequentially, the incentive for a cryptocoin payment integration is very asymmetrically distributed among retailer and cryptocoin owners. That is the reason why we see the future in services as ours, which enable customers to spend coins everywhere without forcing retailers to do anything. In conclusion, users can shop with cryptocoins at all online stores no matter whether they accept cryptocoins officially.
DM: Can you tell me more about the team behind Bongocoin?
FF: We are a team of experienced entrepreneurs from different industries. The passion for alternative financial systems brought us together in a workshop about the bitcoin ecosystem. We decided to invest time and money in a promising idea which will foster the whole cryptocoin ecosystem.
DM: Do you see trust being a particular issue in attracting more customers?
FF: In the Internet space, trust is always an issue – particularly if you do not have a big name in the “scene”. However, we see a steady increase in orders and many happy customers tell others about us, thus, trust shouldn’t be a problem for us in the near future.
DM: Do you have any benchmarks or goals set for 2014?
FF: In terms of transaction volume, we want to quadruple it every month in the first half of 2014 as we assume an exponential growth mainly through word-of-mouth – and we are on track so far. Going further, at the end of 2014, we want to be market leader for B2C – Altcoin payments.
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