Monday, December 9, 2013

Elephants and strippers love bitcoin

The internet has always been an elephant in most board rooms. It's big, popular, sometimes ugly and very energetic. The internet elephant uses more bandwidth than all the financial sector put together. Grows faster than a gold mine and adopts radically new business forms every few years. Though one nut the internet has found hard to crack is a simple universal micro payment method. Until now. The digital economy may just about to become turbo-charged.

A relatively new way we can feed jumbo is with a virtual currency and early indications show it's working a treat.

As is so often the case online, look to the online sex industry for an answer to a challenge.
Interestingly the digital porn industry has been suffering from it's own popularity. There are more terabytes dedicated to erotica that anything else. More importantly once a photo or film is taken it's replicated easily by hundreds of others who increasingly dilute the market and drive down the value of a "popular body of work". So much so that most 'bodies of work' are now free. The only commodity left is 'live' shows. These are strip shows where the viewers can login after paying, then 'chat' with the performer, who can choose to interact or ignore the heated banter. How though does the performer get paid?

Enter the challenge of quick, fast and relatively anonymous online micro payments.
Bitcoin and it's sister virtual currencies have recently gained a foothold, fast becoming seriously popular and useful. In the case of live shows it makes good sense to quickly transfer an entry fee to the performer and watch for a fixed time. This is happening too in the live online gaming space with platforms like Twitch.TV broadcasting live games to interested viewers around the world.

It's relatively easy to set up a Bitcoin wallet, there are several providers out there - once you've set that up you have a unique address to send payments to and of course ways to send requests to a bitcoin currency exchange to cash them out in 'real money'.

With the US reserve accepting that Bitcoin is now a semi-legitimate currency isn't time to feed the elephant with virtual 'nuts'. Weird, perhaps but it's happening and growing in popularity.

The author makes no apologises for using such huge, nutty metaphors about elephants. Instead he strongly suggests a small online payment to:

Images are used under a Creative Commons licence via from their respective owners. Click on images to view sources.

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