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San Francisco Bitcoin Awareness Campaign

Many denizens of San Francisco like to claim that their charming city tends to be ahead of the curve when it comes to arts, social issues and technology. More often than not they are right. Therefore it is hardly surprising that Arisebitcoin chose to kick off its first bitcoin awareness campaign in San Francisco.

Dubbed “Hello San Francisco, Hello Bitcoin,” the project aims to bring bitcoin closer to the masses. It is a self-funded project designed to introduce users in the San Francisco bay area to bitcoin and provide them with the necessary resources to get started. The organisation says it is the first effort to gain the community’s trust and that it is only the beginning.

Arisebitcoin is planning to put up 40 billboards across the bay area, from South San Jose to San Pablo and everywhere in between. Measuring 10 x 22 feet across, the orange billboards will not go unnoticed and the team believes they can put up all 40 posters over the next five days. The campaign officially started 27th December and it is scheduled to end on 27th January.

Arisebitcoin said:

“We live by the motto go big or go home and look forward to proving this to not only the current bitcoin community, but to the world. We thoroughly believe in change and the freedom bitcoin allows. The members of are united by this cause. To accomplish this large but obtainable task, we have determined a set of guidelines and projects in hopes of creating a snowball marketing effect on the world.“

The ultimate goal of the campaign, and Arisebitcoin itself for that matter, is to introduce new users to bitcoin. By attracting and educating new users the organisation hopes to accelerate the awareness and use of bitcoin.

Arise Bitcoin Billboard
Design of the bitcoin billboard going up in 40 locations in the Bay Area.
“Arisebitcoin considers every new user who visits our site due to our ‘projects’ a success. With the support of existing and new users, we will continue to promote bitcoin beyond anything attempted thus far,” the organisation said.

According to a recent Bloomberg poll, 42% of Americans know that bitcoin is a digital currency, but quite a few of them still harbour misconceptions about the nature of bitcoin and its potential uses.

However, 46% said they do not know what bitcoin is, while 6% believed it is an iPhone app. The poll also revealed that people under the age of 35 were a lot more knowledgeable about bitcoin and more likely to favour keeping it unregulated.


Originally posted 2013-12-30 06:08:29.

Argentina Crowdsourcing Platform Accepts Bitcoins

A group in Argentina has creating the first crowdfunding platform that will accept bitcoins. This move once again works to expand the usage of bitcoins, making them more popular. The platform is currently called, and it is set up mostly for artists, musicians and retail projects. Although not philanthropic as a whole, most of the projects have a charitable angle. Although many of the projects have a local focus, they do work with multinational companies as well.

Similarly to other reward-based crowdfunding platforms, allows individuals to launch campaigns to fund projects they are passionate about. They set up a system of rewards for those that pledge money to their projects. When the project is funded, they receive the money pledged, and they are then obligated to follow through we the promised rewards.

According to Pia Giudice, the website was created in Argentina, but is now accessible in seven different Latin American countries. While it is the only crowdfunding platform currently accepting bitcoins, it is also the only platform available in these countries. The website has raised over $750,000 in investments, and they are on tract to raise $2.4 million by March 2014.

To date, they have funded 450 projects and had over $2 million pledged. In addition to bitcoins, pledges can also be made through Paypal or credit cards. According to Giudice, “We’re the only platform that accepts Bitcoins in the whole continent, including US and Canada. Also, our business unit is unique in the world: is the only platform that executes campaigns with multinational companies to fund specific projects.”

The success of may pave the way for other crowdfunding websites to also expand their ability to accept alternative currencies like bitcoins. While many still view bitcoins as very risky, they have shown great success so far.

Accepting bitcoins was a big step within these countries, because the currency in many South American countries is very unstable, which puts people at risk financially. According to Giudice, “With the very limited access to formal capital in Latin American, is essential for the development of our countries.”


Originally posted 2013-12-30 05:58:55.

Shave and a haircut — 0.025 bitcoins?

Sure, its value might rise and fall by the day, but some small-business owners in New York City are buying into bitcoin by accepting the buzzed-about currency at their brick-and-mortar locations. They’re saying the benefits are many, and the disadvantages are next to none.

That’s right, the digital currency — infamously linked to the purchase of drugs and guns — isn’t just for buying illegal goods anonymously online. It’s becoming a preferred method of payment for innovative business owners.

Daniel Lee, owner of Greene Ave. Market in Fort Greene, is even incentivizing with a 10-percent-off discount offer for customers who pay with bitcoin.

Accepting bitcoin is “very low-risk for the merchants,” according to Greg Schvey, co-founder of digital currency research group The Genesis Block.

In April, EVR “gastro-lounge” in Midtown became the first brick-and-mortar location to accept bitcoin. Operating owner Alex Likhtenstein says the fact that EVR is able to process bitcoin with a minimal fee of just 1 percent (compared with the up to 3.5 percent that some credit cards charge), is one upside.

Due to coverage of the volatility in the value of bitcoin, many don’t view it as a payment method but as a speculative currency.

For this reason, “it’s unlikely that [merchants] would understand how easy it is for them to take advantage of … the efficiencies without any of the risks,” Schvey said.
Bitcoin can be thought of as an electronic version of cash. Charge-backs, which allow customers to dispute payments made on their credit cards, aren’t possible. When using the digital currency, customers can’t, say, spend $1,000 on a bottle of champagne at EVR, then dispute the charge simply because they “wake up and decide they didn’t want to spend that much,” says Likhtenstein.

In charge-backs, banks typically take the money back immediately from businesses until they can prove the customer did indeed intend to make the purchases, which can take weeks, said Likhtenstein.

EVR processes up to a dozen bitcoin payments a week. If it has a bitcoin event hosted by enthusiasts like the BitcoinNYC Meetup Group, which now boasts about 800 members, it might process up to 100 in an evening.

Bitcoin payment processors like BitPay and Coinbase allow merchants to automatically convert bitcoins to dollars. And it only takes up to 24 hours, as opposed to the standard 48 to 72 hours that credit card processing can take.

Greene Ave. Market owner Lee (who also owns eateries Lean Crust Pizza and Oxford Kitchen, as well as a convenience store and nail salon) has been accepting the digital currency since March.

For the first few months, Lee says, he didn’t have any bitcoin customers, but now he counts between five and 10 bitcoin transactions a day among his businesses. Though this makes up “probably not even 1 percent” of his business, Lee said, accepting the currency is beneficial.

“In some ways, it’s attracting more business. People have traveled from other places to our stores because we accept bitcoin. A few have become regulars because they only want to use bitcoin,” says Lee.

He chooses not to have the payment convert to cash upon transaction because of the low percentage of daily transactions, but notes that this is an option that would “take away all risks.”

Startups and major businesses alike are attempting to capitalize on the buzz and benefits of bitcoin.

Grouper, a “social club” startup, launched BitBar ( recently, letting bitcoin holders buy drinks in advance from locations across 23 cities. Customers can choose an alias and a bar of choice based on the Google Map provided.


Originally posted 2013-12-30 05:53:18.