Blitz's Slack tipbot: where the rubber hits the road

Tuesday 08 March 2016

Tipbots are cool, but UX is king. Here’s what Blitz are doing and why I love it.

There are countless applications for block technology, but three major ones I see on the immediate horizon:

  • Remission. No brainer. Sending money with crypto is fast, low-cost and borderless. It’s particularly useful for freelancers who take on lots of small jobs for clients around the world (as I know from experience).
  • Reward tokens/private money. Companies are going to start issuing crypto loyalty points - much like Frequent Flyer miles, Sainsbury’s reward points, Starbucks points, and so on, but with the difference that they will be transferrable to third parties and fully tradeable. This effectively makes them a form of private, company-issued money.
  • Tipping. Sending someone a tip via social media is an extremely powerful proposition. Like a post? Want to reward someone? Send them a few digital cents to say thank you.

Of course, these are not mutually exclusive. This is why I’m excited about Blitz’s tipbot. ‘Tipbot’ is just a fancy way of saying a payment mechanism is integrated into a platform - in this case, Slack. A lot of collaboration, in crypto and in the wider business world, is happening over Slack nowadays. I’m a member of several, including the SuperNET Slack - a collection of some of the coolest crypto projects out there. I pick up a fair amount of freelance work here and there through forums and Slacks and get paid in crypto, naturally. I've used other tipbots in the past, integrated into forums, but they have tended to be a little clunky (and, in one case, prone to being hacked). Do it properly, and you've got something really worthwhile.

Pink

Ever heard of velocity of money? Then get tipping, Pink.

What entry barrier?

The real power of tipbots is the way they can dramatically lower the entry barriers for crypto. It’s all about the UX. Integrated tipping in Slacks and other social networks is, I believe, going to be a huge application for crypto. It’s the intersection of those three use cases above: remission, reward tokens and tipping. Sure, you might tip someone a few cents over Twitter for a humorous gif of a cat dancing the Argentine Tango, but if you’re working then you’re probably using Slack - and it makes sense to get paid through the same platform if all of your other communication is happening that way.

Slack is text-based (you’re mostly typing messages) so that’s how commands are entered, rather than via a gui. It’s as simple as typing @blitztip @johnsmith 20

This tells the blitztip bot to credit user johnsmith with 20 blitz. It will confirm it’s been done with a message. You can DM the tipbot to check your balance and learn what commands are possible.

The cool thing is, Slack users don’t even need to sign up for an account. It’s all taken care of by the bot (again: what entry barrier?). You wouldn’t want to keep a lot of crypto on a centralised bot service, but you can easily withdraw it to your wallet with a DM to the bot. That involves installing a client, but that’s pretty straightforward with the Chrome extension lite wallet - or, of course, you could send it straight to an exchange to cash out.

Culture

The other reason I’m pretty sure tipping is going to be a big deal for crypto is because it makes it fun. One of the reasons Dogecoin became so popular was because they loved throwing coins around, tipping each other for every reason and none. It was just part of the culture - and it made a difference. Compare that with the hoarding mentality of certain other cryptos. More seriously, tipping isn’t just about fun, it’s about velocity of money (which is kind of important if you don’t want an economy to stagnate). The Blitz guys have airdropped over 60k coins since its inception. You want to kickstart the crypto economy, this is one way to do it.


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