Tipping Tuesday

One of the most promising use cases for Bitcoin is micropayments. And one of the most promising use cases for micropayments is funding content. There are two primary ideas for how to do this with micropayments.

1) A paywall that requires a tiny micropayment to read something (like a penny or less).

2) A tip mechanism. Think of a facebook like or a twitter star with money attached.

We are testing out the latter on AVC starting today. Our portfolio company Coinbase launched a tip button today.

You will notice a tip icon at the bottom of this post (and every post at AVC). If you click on that tip icon, you will see this dialog box:

coinbase popup

For those that don’t know, CSNYC is a non-profit I helped to start that is bringing computer science education to the NYC public school system. They will be the beneficiary of all tipping here at AVC.

300 “bits” is 0.0003 bitcoin, or roughy 10 cents. If you are logged into Coinbase on the web or on your phone, you will see the option to use Coinbase wallet to send the money. If you are not, you can type in a bitcoin wallet address and send the money. If you enable one click tip, you will send 300 bits every time you click on the tip button. You can also do this on William’s blog.

Since not all AVC readers have Coinbase wallets or own Bitcoin, we are doing a Bitcoin giveaway today on AVC to jumpstart the bitcoin tipping thing. We will give away $10 in bitcoin to the first 200 people to raise their hands, virtually, for this giveaway.

Here’s how the AVC Bitcoin Giveaway works:

1.) Send an email to [email protected]
2.) Receive an email back from Coinbase to “claim $10 worth of free bitcoin”
3.) Create a Coinbase account with that link
4.) Receive funds

Please don’t send that email if you don’t think you will go through this entire flow as you’ll be taking one of the 200 spots.

I think that’s all there is to say about this right now. Let’s see how this goes. Should be an interesting experiment. Here are some other blogs you can tip at today:

#hacking finance#Weblogs

Comments (Archived):

  1. William Mougayar

    Tipping Tuesdays is the new Follow Fridays #bitcoineconomy

    1. BillMcNeely

      that”s a tweet ready to happen

      1. William Mougayar

        🙂 or Tipping is the new Liking. I don’t want Likes, just Tips please.

        1. BillMcNeely

          That’s me driving with Uber on a Saturday night!

          1. William Mougayar

            You get real tips. We get peanuts here. I would stick to Uber if I was you 🙂

        2. Salt Shaker

          Yeah, money talks. And asking for money back is the “new” down vote.Gives being cash flow positive new meaning.

        3. awaldstein

          You think that micropayments will become sentiments and an emotive gesture?I think the power behind this is huge. I don’t see that is how this is playing out.The tendency to analogize is honestly hurting the adoption of bitcoin not helping it.

          1. Twain Twain

            “Put your money where your heart is” so micro payments could indeed become sentiments and an emotive gesture.

          2. awaldstein

            We shall see…My bet is that is not how this will play out.Death by a million analogies often points to the core truth of lack of understanding of both the value and the customer.

    2. Semil Shah

      good one, william!

  2. Richard

    A page out of paypal’s book. Nice.There is opt in, opt out and then there is show me the money!

  3. Brandon Burns

    The free giveaway: the oldest marketing trick in the book.I couldn’t care less about bitcoin, but you got me to sign up (yes, I’ll do the whole flow). Well done.

    1. Chimpwithcans


    2. Brandon Burns

      I’m super impressed with the flow of this experience. After sending the email, I opened it, clicked one button in the email, filled out one form field + clicked one button on the resulting web page, and instantly had my wallet and free bitcoin. Few things are that easy. That must be a back-end engineering nightmare. But the customer experience is flawless.However, I had to scroll up and down several times on this blog post to find the tiny, tiny tip button at the bottom of the page. If you’re going to do this Fred, commit! Give that button some visibility! Better, more obvious placement + larger size = more clicks.

      1. fredwilson

        great feedback. i will see how we can do that.

        1. William Mougayar

          Some people like Semil have it on the top side margin more permanently visible.

        2. Brandon Burns

          I think I also may have originally missed the button due the button loading slower onto the page. Not sure though.This is such a great experiment. I hope you report back on metrics. I’d love to see the conversion funnel: page views (to this blog post) –> sign ups (folks who sent an email) –> completed Coinbase registration from the email –> tips made here on AVC. And, separately, how many folks went back to Coinbase to play around and see what’s there.

        3. Supratim Dasgupta

          I got the email but not the $10 bucks. It says “Complete your account to unlock Buy / Sell, and receive $1 worth of free bitcoin!”Am not sure if I will give routing and account number to coinbase at this time

    3. falicon

      Ah! is *this* marketing or hype? 😀

      1. JimHirshfield

        Hahahahah!! Marketing, duh. You didn’t listen to your Hooked on Waldonics tape last night, did you?

        1. falicon

          I started to, but the voice talent in combination with the over-indulging in wine choice recommended for the listening caused me to fall asleep early ;-)I do agree though – marketing. However, it’s what I would call loss-leader marketing or buying initial customers/users…both can be *great* options if you have deep enough pockets (and are sure you are targeting the *right* people to buy — BTW: Not sure that’s the case in this specific case).

          1. JimHirshfield

            I definitely think there’s some wheel greasing going on here on purpose. And nothing wrong with that.What wine goes well with Hooked on Waldonics? Nothing bubbly, I presume?

          2. falicon

            You have to buy the book to find out…natural wine recommendations for each chapter are in the forward…and remember ‘read responsibly’!

          3. JimHirshfield

            Obviously nothing too dry.

      2. LE

        Would have been interesting to do it as a contest rather than a give away.Assuming that $10 * 200 is the total cost is it better to offer 1 prize of $1000 and 10 prizes of $100?Would you get more signups that way (which is the point)? I think you would.I don’t think having 200 signups is enough of a primer.I would have done (with Fred’s money):1 prize of $100010 prizes of $1001000 prizes of $5… with unlimited signups. Give it a week and let it spread and pick the winners in 7 days.Total cost $1000 + $1000 + $5000 = $7000Much better publicity as well.

        1. falicon

          Oh don’t even get me started on the things I would have done (with Fred’s money)… 😀

  4. Richard

    Can you talk about the security measures in place for giving up ones checking account number.

    1. fredwilson

      well first of all, i was wrong about that. you don’t need to link your account to get the $10 of bitcoin. so i took that out of my post after the initial publish. but i’ve had my bank account connected to coinbase for several years now. they use ACH, i believe.

      1. Richard

        Great. Here is the problem with giving up ones checking account number: companies can and change the “user agreement.”There is a company that changed its user agreement to allow ones checking account to be the default payment vs the credit card on file.This was a either a careless or negligent move on their part.I’m working on the answer to this…

        1. ZekeV

          Right! It’s absurd that the same info (bank account, routing number) necessary to *send* money is also the seekrit code for withdrawing money. Amazing that there is not even more fraud and abuse of the banking system. Of course, bitcoin avoids this problem by using PGP (which you then reintroduce if you share your private keys with a wallet provider). But I see no reason why traditional banks should not *also* use payment auth / request systems that rely on private/public key pairs. This technology is not unique to bitcoin.Unforgivable lapse of security, and so wasteful. My cynical view of the situation is that banks are willing to pay enormously for payments fraud, even though they could fix 90% of the risk using PGP (or even requiring a pin to auth payment). They do this b/c the weakness also makes it easy to chisel people on fees without their really noticing too much, as they would if asked to authorize each withdrawal.

  5. William Mougayar

    This was a very interesting point from the Coinbase blog today: “over 30% of orders on Coinbase are $1 or below.”Funny thing is we were talking and trying micro-transactions in 1997 with cybercash schemes, but that never took off. It’s taken 17 years for Internet micro-transactions to get a 2nd chance.

    1. Richard

      One of the reasons tipping works is that the options are few, 50 cents, $1 etc, With 300 bits = 10 cents, the options (including the option of “this wont really help” will hurt not help the tipping at scale.

      1. William Mougayar

        also, that credit cards aren’t good for micro-tipping. bitcoin is perfect for that. the applications are numerous. I think anything under $10 will be considered as a micro-tipping of sorts, and will fly under the radar of credit card or paypal transaction fees.

        1. Richard

          My point was that microtipping probably won’t work because of the optionality (choice) problem.

          1. William Mougayar

            i don’t totally understand why the optionality is a deterrent? you can set the tipping amount in your account and keep it fixed. (or you can change it during tipping, later I think)

          2. Richard

            It has to do with behavioral finance…lots written on the subject. I’ll look for a good source.

    2. Barry Nolan

      Interesting. Compare to credit card fees.

      1. Richard

        But, this is essentially a fraud insurance premium, something that most users can not afford to be without.And most importantly, bitcoin is not a revolving credit type account.

        1. JimHirshfield

          Fraud protection not needed on the Blockchain, they say.

        2. Barry Nolan

          Not necessarily. It’s the rake the card payments marketplace charges. Chargebacks are another participation fee for merchants in this marketplace.

        3. LE

          Noting also that there is an overhead to dealing with a large number of transactions of a small dollar amount. [1] By the way people don’t want to have credit card statements that are 40 pages long with micro charges either.[1] So if you are a business and you are selling a product for .50 to 100,000 people you are going to as a general rule have more customer service questions and things to deal with than if you are selling a $10 product to 5,000 people. Now if you are giving something away to 100,000 people the expectations of the customer are less so it’s not the same as selling something for .50. The extra labor you would need might exceed the $50,000 in revenue.

      2. William Mougayar

        That says it all.

  6. kidmercury

    outside of the whole x-rate issue, the permanent problem/opportunity for all things bitcoin and probably blockchain related, is the transaction fee that will be experienced as mining dries up. bitcoin lead developer gavin andresen estimates the transaction cost will end up being $0.41 USD for average transactions. so basically, more than credit cards.but wait! what about off chain transactions? yes. though then it is the same thing as paypal, transfer without the blockchain. and it won’t be cheaper than paypal or chase quickpay either, which are also at zero in terms of transaction cost.

    1. Richard

      One thing is clear about bitcoin…let’s just say that, beyond the algorithm, it’s using a ready, fire, aim approach (often times needlessly).

    2. Barry Nolan

      I was thinking the same – a shamefully massive amount of processing required for the smallest of transactions. But the counterpoint is the massive datacenter/hosting infrastructure that today supports the banking/funds transfer industry. Wonder which is larger.

    3. JimHirshfield

      Crystal ball high beams this morning?

      1. JamesHRH

        Hey, usually the Kid is pulling at the thread of someone else’s tapestry.That’s pretty good stuff from him today, no?;-)

        1. JimHirshfield

          For sure. The link to the article is interesting, but can’t say I get it.

    4. Nick Tomaino

      The great thing about Bitcoin is its open-source and constantly evolving. Given that fact, there is a good chance that Bitcoin developers will solve the problem that Gavin is alluding to.There is an implementation of BitcoinJ called “micropayment chanells” that is worth reading up on if you’re interested in learning more: https://bitcoinj.github.io/…TLDR: trusted gateways will aggregate micropayments and only add the txns to the blockchain when a certain threshold is met

      1. kidmercury

        the thing about constant evolution is that it works both ways. it creates new solutions, but opens up new bugs…….

      2. Ryan Walker

        I would tend to agree and put my chips on the side of open-source developers and innovation. Sidechains is one such blossoming innovation that is only beginning to be explored and may point towards solutions for lower transaction fees.

    5. Antonis Polemitis

      It is an impressive to find a way to quote the most bullish man in the world re: BTC’s future potential (Gavin) to support the conclusion that BTC will be useless in the future 🙂

      1. kidmercury

        I didn’t say btc will be useless. I only implied that btc advocates, especially those who believe it is a viable microspend solution that solves a current problem, are willfully ignorant.

        1. Antonis Polemitis

          There are a lot of variables in the question of “if/when will tx fees have to rise” – including, at a minimum, network propagation speeds at the time, the price of BTC at the time, size of the blocks, hashing difficulty, block rewards at the time, any changes made in the interim, number of transactions in the system and so on.I respectfully submit that I have no idea what transaction fees will be 10 years from now and neither do you.Let’s start by looking at the mechanics of the calculation you cite as support for your view that tx fees will rise:Gavin’s thought exercise is based on the current data and calculating the opportunity cost of adding extra tx to a block at the risk of losing the block reward due to slower network propagation and the block being orphaned. And despite that theoretical calculation which is based on *today’s data*, miners are not demanding $0.42/tx right now, so it is, in fact, a very conservative, worst-case scenario calculation.In a world where block rewards are lower and network propagation speeds faster (aka, the future), the opportunity cost of losing the block reward may well be *lower* relative to the opportunity gain of picking up the extra transaction fee than it is today (all depends on the number of transactions). So, this specific calculation might very well become more favorable to low prices over time, not higher prices.There are, of course, other ways to attempt to model tx costs in the future. Pretty much every one that I have seen had enough unverifiable or incorrect assumptions embedded in it as to make it worthless (aka, assume that block rewards drop and hashing power increases but transaction volume does not increase)So, the most anyone can say today about transaction costs 10 years from now is “we will have to see”.In the meantime, tx fees for micropayments with BTC are lower than any system of comparable openness and scope so it is fair to be excited about that.Separately, in tech, predictions of “this system works great now, but it will all fall apart in the future” have a pretty poor track record of being true, whether it has been Moore’s Law ‘running out’, bandwidth get clogged ‘when everyone gets online’, spam and viruses making the internet unusable and so on. If true bottlenecks emerge, usually workarounds do as well.

          1. kidmercury

            In the meantime, tx fees for micropayments with BTC are lower than any system of comparable openness and scope so it is fair to be excited about that.that would be false. paypal to paypal is free.of course, it all boils down to the exchange rate, which is fairly obvious, in spite of the profound lengths btc advocates go to ignoring this simple truth. nobody uses btc today because of the x-rate (among other concerns, but if it was truly cheaper, it would have greater adoption — but when you factor in x-rate, it’s not cheaper). btc advocates do their own cause more harm than good when they ignore obvious problems rather than addressing them head on.

          2. Antonis Polemitis

            1/ Paypal is free is free for domestic non-commercial use. It is 2.9% + $0.30 for commercial use and other charges apply for int’l personal use. And once you get international, FX rates and spreads are also relevant since no place on earth can you go around your daily life just using paypal.2/ FX rate is a different issue than tx fees. But I am happy to discuss that instead. I think it is an issue hindering adoption today.But is one that will likely improve over time with greater liquidity. Right now, exchanges for BTC are tiny, largely located offshore, not accessible institutionally and so on. That will change over time, bring liquidity into the system, reduce spreads, reduce volatility.I would not have expected a whole new currency to spring, fully formed, and with the $5 Trillion of daily trading that keeps traditional FX spreads somewhat in check. This will take time.

          3. kidmercury

            sure, we can always say it will be better tomorrow because it will grow and be open, and that the fx rate will magically stabilize in spite of no historical precedent for volume equating to price stability. let’s assume all that is true. can you give one — just one! — use case/customer segment for whom bitcoin is better today? like who is the initial customer base for bitcoin (aside from criminals, who are routinely shunned in spite of them being the only real customer base with a true use case).

          4. Antonis Polemitis

            here, off the top of my head, five classes of tx that are better today, not in the future:1. Micropayments: Despite FX volatility, costs still far lower than 2.9% + $0.302. Sensitive online transactions: HIV test, pregnancy test, pornography, political speech (wikileaks contribution), etc. AKA things that you may or may not want on your permanent credit card/debit card/paypal history.3. International Remittances: Many country pairs are in the 800-1000 basis points, particularly for low-USD transactions. Even with 100 bps in/out to sovereign currencies, intra-hour volatility is 9/10 times much lower than that (and, is balanced up/down, as opposed to fees that are always higher).We have students in Africa trying to send our university in Cyprus 200 euros. Effective transaction fees on that approach 25-35% of the transaction at times.4. International online retail (many countries are banned explicitly by payment networks or effectively by merchants trying to manage charge backs) – BTC is money-good in an hour so a merchant can ship fearlessly5. Machine-based/software agent based transactions: Only mechanism I know where you can embed a wallet/tx engine into a piece of software and let it go offThese to me are absolutely 100% clear winners and if BTC does nothing more than impact these markets, it would be one of the most successful ‘startups’ of the decadeIt won’t stop there, IMHO, but you don’t have to believe *any* improvements to the bitcoin ecosystem to believe in these. Obviously, the thought that the 5 years in ecosystem is now done and will not improve is unnecessarily conservative, like judging the viability of online video in 1996 (“yeah, Polemitis, you *say* that bandwidth will be higher in the future, but…”), but I think the above are valid even under those constraints.

          5. kidmercury

            1, 3, and 4 are essentially the same thing, and it’s not true. currency1 to btc wallet to btc wallet to currency2 are the steps. the currency in and out fees have enormous fx rates involved and that is why no one is using them for those purposes. if there was a real audience using it for those purposes, you’d see an alibaba or uber style growth curve. i agree that if someone can fix x-rate #1, #3, and #4 become real use cases.#2 is sort of legit, although we all know btc blockchain is not as anonymous as it is sometimes advertised (when it is not being advertised as a tool for transparency, that is)#5 is not a benefit, it is a technology. what is the advantage

          6. Antonis Polemitis

            1/ The math works for 1,3,4. I have seen real-life tx, particularly internationally, taking all of your points into account. I suspect you are a bit US domestic oriented in your thinking here, where tx fees are pretty low. Lots of country pairs such internationally2/ Glad we agree on 2. Anonymous it might not be, but more anonymous than American Express it is5/ I am working under an assumption (I believe valid) that we will have more non-human agents (software or physical) in the next 5-20 years. The benefit is that they can *use* a payment mechanism like Bitcoin and can’t use a payment mechanism like a credit card that requires a legal/natural person to be the signatory.In any case, the wonderful thing about these type of debates is that they are not theological and forever unknowable. In 1/3/5/10 years we will discover if BTC fades into irrelevancy and we are all using Paypal for our e-transacting needs or if BTC is part of the panoply of payment methods and general digital value transfers.My bet is that it has a role to play, but we will have to see 🙂

          7. kidmercury

            1, 3, and 4 is probably worse outside the US. is there a bitcoin company that you know of that is good at this for non-US users that you can share with us?

          8. Antonis Polemitis

            I assume you mean an exchange or merchant processor, because Bitcoin wallets work worldwide by default.Euro-zone is well covered by Bitstamp (and Coinbase and BitPay are making huge strides there) and transfers in/out to Bitstamp from Euro-zone banks much easier than any equivalent in the US. Bitstamp quite frankly is far more developed than any US exchange and is the one of / the main backend of the US players. BTCe also reasonably sizedTons of activity in China as well -> in fact by far the most active BTC exchanges in the world are yuan-denominated but China is an odd duck in all currency related matters so I don’t want to go down that rabbit hole. Japan also has its firms, even post Mt Gox -> Kraken just opened yen-based trading there and there is another consortium in progressThere are 2-3 firms making decent progress in the Philippines (huge remittance market); India/Africa/LatAm about 12-18 months behind from what I can see but we are seeing the startups emerging (Unocoin, etc). Singapore has an excellent firm (ItBit) and Australia has a couple of exchanges.So, by currency importance, the major markets all have at least 1 firm (US/EUR/Yen/Yuan) and 2-3 years from now, we should have the “global” VC-funded firms (like Coinbase) and/or local players in almost any 2nd tier currency zone/market where regulators have not been actively hostile.

          9. kidmercury

            do you know the shortest timeframe a person can undertake the four major steps — currency 1 to BTC wallet to BTC wallet to currency 2 is? out of the leading companies you mentioned. just an approximate if you know

          10. kidmercury

            oh, i just found bitpesa.co. that’s the first example of a non-illegal use of bitcoin that i think is actually legitimate and makes sense and is disruptive. wow. i’m going to start referring to that in bitcoin conversations since it’s hard to find a bitcoin company that is interested in boring things like having a purpose and solving a problem.

  7. falicon

    I’m not going to claim one of the spots (I’ll leave that for the bitcoin enthusiast who haven’t had the funds to get involved yet)…but I am interested in how the experiment works out.The spike will be large…but it’s where the platform levels off at in a few days/weeks that I’m interested in hearing about…so please do post a follow up around the end of the year 😉

  8. JimHirshfield

    Love this application of BTC/Blockchain…not only as payment for content, but the good cause aspect to it as well. My problem: Ready to give, but forgot my password…awaiting wallet p/w reset email…still waiting…still waiting. Some problems never go away.

  9. Andrew Kennedy

    gamification + monetization. you should consider linking upvotes to this as well.

    1. JimHirshfield

      I’ve had that thought for a long time now!

  10. LIAD

    …application layer here we come.this is where the good stuff is at.

  11. Jason

    I just tried the Giveaway. I got the e-mail reply from Coinbase and went through account setup, but then it just said ‘We could not find that account.’ The balance remains at 0.0 BTC. Did anyone try this and actually have it go through?

    1. Jason

      Oops never mind, I saw further down someone’s went through. Oh well, no big deal~

  12. Salt Shaker

    Any idea how the MIT Bitcoin Club experiment is progressing? Bet they’re selling a lot of “bit beer.”http://bitcoin.mit.edu/anno…

  13. Mike Lally

    Thanks, Fred, for the free bitcoin. I went to each link mentioned and tried to tip. I could not readily find the tip widget on the following:- jupiter- daslee (bad link?)- hunterwalk- zapchain (and come on! how about a login with onename.io?)- BKI love this idea. Love!

  14. William Mougayar

    Wow…the tips are pouring on my blog posts. I’m going to get rich on tips! 🙂

    1. JimHirshfield

      Can you share details?

      1. William Mougayar

        see the above image…but it’s anecdotal. novelty rush. Received 10 tips so far across various posts, for a grand total of $1.00 …yeah!! yes, we’ll email on that one, as there’s another topic about tips in comments.

        1. Ben Kinnard

          Dammit, this was my idea for the #CS183B lecturehttp://captainkinnard.com/2…If you take it all the way, then tipping in bitcoin could help the internet shake its dodgy reliance on advertising and all the clickbait crap that comes with it

          1. JimHirshfield

            Likely only to the same extent that support of Public Television has displaced TV advertising. :-/

          2. Ben Kinnard

            Fair point (although gut reaction is different being British – *cough*BBC*cough)

          3. JimHirshfield

            Correct me if I’m wrong, but BBC funding by UK citizens is involuntary in that it’s a tax, right?

          4. Ben Kinnard

            yep, i got your point and BBC is involuntary (if you have a TV) – I’m just in the mood to watch some Sherlock tis all

          5. jason wright

            ‘Aunty Beeb’ as the BBC wants us think of it. as kindly, benevolent, and benign. truly twisted.yes, it’s a collective consciousness tax. it’s detector vans go around neighbourhoods up and down the island sweeping their radar for illegal television signals, plot a bisect to pinpoint the offending residence, and then swoop. people still go to court and even prison for not paying the licence fee. it’s an Orwellian institution, created to replace the lost authority of the Church of England. the huddled masses stopped attending, so it was decided to exploit the new invention of telly to reach the peasantry and guide their thought and perceptions of British society and economy for the continued benefit of the elite class.GCHQ now seems to have assumed this role in the age of the web.

          6. JimHirshfield

            GCHQ should launch their own channel or app.

        2. JimHirshfield

          Cash flow FTW!

        3. JimHirshfield

          (Face-palm)Didn’t see the image at first.You might want to consider the privacy issues related to exposing who has tipped you. I know it’s only 10 cents…and I guess transactions on the blockchain are public, but….?

          1. William Mougayar

            but i didn’t expose their address, keys, email, user name or anything else. was just a sampler. mind you, on the blockchain there’s a lot of openness. You can send money to any address, but you can’t take it out just because you know that address. it’s like I know your email, so what?

        4. Drew Meyers

          what do you think would happen, if people HAD to tip to leave a comment?

          1. William Mougayar

            hmm….good question. not sure, but worthy of an experiment. may not be needed here, because it’s such a good community, but if you look at places where many comments are garbage, then it would be a good way to deter many trashy comments.

          2. Drew Meyers

            agreed. Many communities could benefit from such a mechanism.

    2. James Ferguson @kWIQly

      @wmoug:disqus intended to tip you at http://startupmanagement.or…But could not see tipping icon (am I blind , stupid or do older posts not carry it )?

      1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

        Aha Moment@wmoug:disqus it is on your blog but not on your articles !So found a way of making it work (Dont spend it all at once !)

        1. William Mougayar

          That’s right. It’s only on my blog posts for now, but will probably place it in the margin somewhere. thanks for the 300 bits. I’m up to a full $2 for the day.

          1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            Huh – I found myself thinking how ridiculous because it sounds like nothing (to you, me and most AVC readers) until you realise that a huge proportion of the inhabitants of our globe live on less per day – That’s where the real disruption this may offer starts to pay off !Here’s hoping !

          2. William Mougayar

            it’s definitely early days. the possibilities are there!

  15. BillMcNeely

    Thank you Fred for the free Bitcoin. The process was pretty easy but my bank does not have support instant verification so I will have to wait a few days to tip.

    1. Greg Cote

      I choose not to give my banking credentials, so I have to wait as well. Other interesting facto is that it took easily an hour + to set it all up with 2 factor authentication, settings, related website etc.. To the point made by others, you really have to believe there is value beyond what you can do with PayPal or other services to go through the process. The good news, Fred, is they gave me $11 so I got a raise (not quite min wage yet). Thanks!

  16. Greg Kieser

    Thinking about asking my web team to do this… I work for a nonprofit that produces quite a bit of content.edit: we already accept bitcoin donations via coinbase.

  17. Jason Gelman

    This is awesome! One piece of feedback – next to the “BTip” button it says the amount that *has been* donated to the post but I read that as “if you click on this button, this is the amount *you will* donate so I tried to edit that amount in the little white box. Did anybody else get confused by the UI or am I alone there?

    1. Dave

      I had the same thought. It is confusing.

    2. James Ferguson @kWIQly

      Me too – until I saw it change (first time hmm bait and switch, second time I am a moron, this time “ah a tooltip would help”)

  18. BillMcNeely

    One thing I noticed signing up. I had my gmail and my convoyer email opened up. My user name comes from the gmail account I signed in with my email of record is the Convoyer one.

  19. Anne Libby

    Thanks for the BTC Error message loop on signin, telling me to confirm my device by clicking on the email link — then clicking, and and getting same message…(also, I have a onename acct, which I thought set up a coinbase wallet for me. Issue?)please excuse mobile device error terse tone…)Fun to experiment! I’d definitely add this to one of my blogs.

    1. Anne Libby

      Resolved. (though onename handle goes where?)

      1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

        +100 for a bit of help to understand how the jigsaw goes togetherI think I have two onename accounts (ironically) two bitcoins wallets (no idea where I put the first one) and a total credit of just over 10 bucks less three hundred bits in the other (thank you fred)Some sort of “state of my bitworld browser” would certainly help me a little.Honestly I live in a pretty randomly dichromatic worlda) I have the money – lets do it (or not)b) I do not – lets find something better to do (money isn’t everything)The problem is sometimes my cash is in another jacket pocket, or I left my wallet on my desk or etc etc.This same confusion has just leapt up a few notches !In the “bitcoinworld” I have a feeling of “I think I own some conceptual right to part of something mined somewhere – I am sure other people could testify to it, if I knew how to ask, but otherwise how the heck do I keep track of it when I want to I can spend it”

  20. dave

    Thanks. Signed up for Coinbase the other day (maybe I was anticipating something like this). Now I have some bitcoin to spend.

  21. jason

    I created my Coinbase account many months ago, but didn’t eagerly dive into the ecosystem. I’ve been waiting for an uncontrived situation where it’s genuinely more useful than traditional payments, and this is the first one I’ve seen.I hope it remains cheap enough (as mining gets harder) for micropayments to make sense on a large scale.

  22. JimHirshfield

    OK…consider yourself tipped! Pop-up UI needs some work. Not intuitive as to which buttons to push first. Specifically, why does the 2-step auth code entry field precede the button to generate the code? Gimme a 1-2-3 visual please.

  23. Brandon Burns

    What’s stopping any big credit card company or bank from offering this feature for non-bitcoin transactions?Or what is stopping PayPal or Venmo or Amazon to offer one-click payment on any site, especially since Amazon can already offer it on its own?

    1. JimHirshfield

      Transaction fees

      1. Brandon Burns

        I don’t see a transaction fee has a big hurdle in this use case. If it’s legitimately necessary to charge one, it’s not that hard to bundle it into the purchase amount.

        1. LIAD

          u want to tip 10cents but receiver has to pay 25cent fixed fee & 2.5%

          1. Brandon Burns

            Transaction fees are pretty much arbitrary. For example, Chase charges fees for lots of things, but Chase Quick Pay is free.What fees to charge and when and how are up to the entity processing the transaction. The banks and credit card companies can lower those fees at will, just as much as bitcoin companies can raise them at will.Or maybe I’m not looking at the whole picture? Of not, enlighten me.

          2. LIAD

            microtransactions have never been feasible online due to the number of parties who need to be greased for doing their part in the transaction. just not worth it for them to make microtransactions viable. bitcoin on the other hand is p2p, save for miners fees there is no other party which needs to be paid

          3. kidmercury

            so aside from the mining fee, there is no fee. very true. of course, aside from the banking fee in the normal system, there is no fee. so looks like it’s about the same, except that mining fees are estimated to be higher, and transaction times are estimated to be longer.

          4. Brandon Burns

            Got it.Do we think micro transactions will be big enough of a thing for any of this to matter long term? Fred’s experiment is nice because its a great marketing stunt to get a lot of Coinbase signups / donations, but I don’t think the amount of the transaction mattered all that much. And in reality, won’t people want to transact more meaningful sums of money?Again, if I’m missing something, please enlighten!

  24. Eric Friedman

    Tipped. Easy process as I already have an account. I have seen so many of these micro transactional services that I feel a bit jaded on them, but with bitcoin something feels different (for the better). If the transaction fees can be kept low enough, I could see someone creating a chrome plugin to automatically tip based on reading habits to support content. These things also have their challenges, but its nice to see a new take on an old problem.

  25. FlavioGomes

    Need help. Got the 10 bucks but the tip icon is not launching. Also i want to donate the entire 10 bucks, how do i do that? On Iphone 6.

  26. Semil Shah

    thanks for including me and excited to try it out.

  27. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    That is possibly the best bits I have ever spent – In fact it is definitely the best I have ever spent as it is the first I ever spent ! :)Smooth transaction, for a good cause (whatever sceptics may think), and broke my bitcoin virginity in about five clicks from beginning to end.Also left a small feeling of a need to pass some more goodness around.Well done Fred@fredwilson:disqus – presumably this tipping mechanism also comes with a “Here’s how to sign up to bitcoin” tool as a fallover for those without wallets (not everyone will be as generous as you). – Can you confirm ?Thanks James

    1. Benjamin M. Brown

      I sense you guys may use some of that next round of funding to pick up a company that rhymes with “RangeBlip”. Lots of users and usage there that would benefit coinbase.

      1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

        ?? @benjaminmbrown:disqus I missed the joke / ideaWe are not related to Bitcoin or coinbase (UPDATE: we accept on our blog :)So I cant guess the rhyme – and re next round of funding – We have bootstrapped to first revenues so I guess aqcuisition is more likely the other way around ( for now :)Please do explain what I missed !

        1. Benjamin M. Brown

          Was responding to @fredwilson’s response 🙂

          1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            Ah – that was me mentioning Fred – not his comment (hence confusion easily misread no matter:)

  28. jason wright

    am i too late? probably

  29. jason wright

    bimpy, but i like it

    1. BillMcNeely


      1. jason wright

        edited. too fast 🙂

        1. JimHirshfield

          I missed what it said before your edit….”pimply”?

          1. jason wright


  30. pointsnfigures

    great. is this button downloadable at wordpress yet. (I need to clean up a bunch of buttons on my site anyway)

    1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

      I just copied from script herehttps://www.coinbase.com/ti…It looks like it works – will let you know if I start getting very slightly richer !

  31. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    Hi allI just tried to add to my blog – (top of right hand panel)If anyone would mind tipping me (any amount I’m not proud :)http://blog.kwiqly.com/2014…I would love to check it works, and when it does I will happily write a promotional HOW TO blog post to show how others can they can do it too – thanksJames

    1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

      SOLVED!Thanks to Craig at coinbase – I may be only slightly wealthier – but life is now far richerNo more donations (unless you simply love my content 🙂 – Well someone’s got to !

  32. Felix Dashevsky

    Interesting twist (on the old idea: cf. flattr, kachingle, paypal donate, etc.). Does Coinbase make money off the tips? If so, how (and how much)? Thx.

    1. Felix Dashevsky

      I worked on a my own (pre-bitcoin) variation of this idea as well, seeing if there was a way to piggyback on existing buttons (FB, Twitter), rather than adding “yet another button.” Very interested to see how it develops.

  33. Twain Twain

    Ok I got it as soon as I read “Think of a facebook like or a twitter star with money attached.”One of the criticisms about the like and share button is the issue of “How does it measure intent and monetizability?”Coinbase button starts at micro-level and then becomes the de facto payments signaling button?Got it.

    1. awaldstein

      You have it right in concept but the idea that the Like or Fave will be replaced by a tip is I think not going to happen.Believer in these micropayments and blockchain for certain.They are just different behaviors to me.

      1. Twain Twain

        Yes and sometimes people just click the like or +1 button just to say that they’ve read the content.

  34. Niv Dror

    Fred, how would you say tipping on Coinbase affects companies like ChangeTip? (expands the market, limits the opportunity for other tipping services, etc)

    1. fredwilson

      coinbase hopes this opens the market for companies like ChangeTip and they would like nothing more than to see ChangeTip build a huge business in this sectorthey are just trying to jump start the market with this

  35. Drew Meyers

    I put this on Geek Estate today – http://geekestateblog.com/n…I hope it puts some dollars into the hands of great content creators.

  36. kirklove

    Darn, I thought this was about “tipping”. I’m a hardcore 20% min unless service is abysmal, and even then I toss them 15%. I usually roll 30% but that’s because I used to bartend and wait tables so I feel their pain.Related tip: Always over tip for your first round, especially if the bar is crowded. The bartender will make sure to take care of you first before other folks.PS: Bitcoin hurts my brain.

    1. falicon

      Rocky Racoo…ooo…ooo…ooo…nnnn… 😀

      1. kirklove

        You know how much I loathe that song buddy ;p

        1. falicon

          I am going to get you back on it…The wheels are already in motion on my plan…

  37. Nick Tomaino

    The AVC community is amazing, thanks for all the comments and feedback guys. There’s as many comments in here right now as there is on R/bitcoin.If you claimed the bitcoin this morning, just a reminder to pay it forward and support some creators who are using the button!

  38. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    To play my part wrote a very simple step-by-step HOWTO for implementing in Blogger (with pictures : )http://blog.kwiqly.com/2014…

  39. ShanaC

    Ok, we still need the gum equivalent – getting closer, but no cigar.

  40. jason wright

    i wonder, how many of the successful two hundred have yet to make even a single contributing comment on avc?

  41. John Rhoads

    Been waiting for some kind of penny browser that I can use to give cash to folks for their ideas and efforts all over the web. Why aren’t you using this for girls who code or something top that effect?Thought philanthropy was an area of interest to you regarding these services?

  42. Guest

    Alright, posted on my site as an experiment: http://www.hayesconner.com/player.It was seamless to integrate. My only frustration is that the tip pop-up box doesn’t fit, or change based on where it is positioned — for me, it only pops up below and to the right of the button. I would have liked to put the tip-button under the player/story section on our site, but then it would not be accessible. Aesthetically, this is less pleasing.Still, needless to say, a good start.