“I was ready to throw in the towel.” That’s how a New York Times reporter described his attempt to live off of bitcoin for thirty-six hours. His experience highlights just how difficult it is to make everyday payments with bitcoin — and just how much the world needs a better cryptocurrency payment solution like Digits.
In an April 16 article, Jonathan Wolfe explains how he bought $50 worth of bitcoin on Coinbase, then attempted to use the bitcoin to pay for everyday purchases — coffee, haircuts, and the like — over a thirty-six hour period in New York City.
Wolfe’s story emphasized several negative aspects of his experience:
- Purchasing bitcoin on Coinbase was a hassle; it required a transaction fee, the trade took an hour to complete, and Wolfe had to upload a photo ID.
- Although many merchants accepted bitcoin, they lacked a universal bitcoin transaction solution. Wolfe had to juggle multiple apps, and sometimes rely on ad hoc solutions, in order to pay with bitcoin.
- Not all merchants accepted bitcoin.
For Wolfe, paying exclusively with bitcoin proved not to be practical, even in a city that is very bitcoin-friendly, comparatively speaking.
These challenges underscore the issues that are currently hampering bitcoin’s ability to fulfill its creators’ vision, which is for it to become a payment solution for everyday transactions.
Living on Bitcoin with Digits
The issues Wolfe described also highlight why the bitcoin payment solution available from Digits is so promising.
With Digits, Wolfe could simply have linked his credit or debit card to a cryptocurrency wallet (or multiple cryptocurrency wallets, if he wanted), then paid for goods and services using the card just as he would in any other kind of transaction.
For Wolfe, Digits would have enabled:
- A simple, user-friendly bitcoin payment solution.
- A single payment solution that would have worked with all the merchants Wolfe visited. There would have been no need to use different apps for each merchant.
- A way to pay with bitcoin even at merchants that don’t accept bitcoin. As long as they accept credit or debit cards, Wolfe could have paid them with bitcoin.
In short, Digits would have made Wolfe’s experiment in living off of bitcoin eminently successful. It would do the same for everyone who wants to use cryptocurrency to pay for the things they buy every day.
In this way, Digits is poised to help transform bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies from speculative assets that only investors care about to payment solutions that every John and Jane can use to buy lunch or pay for a movie.
So, thanks, New York Times, for helping to demonstrate why conventional bitcoin payment processes are so broken and giving us the chance to show just how Digits can help.