The Buy Bitcoin Button

If you have an app that uses Bitcoin for something, like virtual goods in a game, you need to give your users an easy way to buy the Bitcoin.

Our portfolio company Coinbase has a solution for that problem. It is a “Buy Bitcoin” button, powered by the Coinbase API.

There are some limitations to the buy button right now, which Coinbase hopes to remove over time. They are:

The Buy Widget is currently limited to customers in the United States using debit cards. To enable instant buys with limited KYC, the Buy Widget supports buys up to $5 per day. Each user has also a lifetime limit of $50 after which they are asked to set up a full Coinbase account. These limitations are only temporary and we’ll be adjusting them and adding more payment methods over time to increase limits.

I think that virtual currencies, like Bitcoin and Ethereum, are a great way to create “economies” in your app. So if you want to experiment with this idea, try out the Coinbase Buy Bitcoin button. Details for developers are here.

#blockchain#hacking finance

Comments (Archived):

  1. JimHirshfield

    Mary Meeker Internet Trends Report?

    1. fredwilson

      didn’t see it. that’s not where my head is right now.

      1. JimHirshfield

        You’re ahead of the trends.

        1. fredwilson

          well i would like to be. and i know that studying the current ones won’t help me do that. but i am not sure i am ahead to be honest.

          1. JimHirshfield

            Take blockchain as an example. I don’t recall seeing it in her trends preso. So either blockchain isn’t a trend or USV is ahead on that one.

      2. JamesHRH

        You heard it here first Ws in 5.

      1. Rob Larson

        That’s the 2014 version

    2. Matt Zagaja

      Interesting to see how far ahead Apple and Facebook are of their competitors. Scary to read about the easy macro growth drivers going away. Growth can hide lots of problems. Seeing my home state deal with them now has been especially wrenching. A lot of these startups aren’t scaling the way Uber, Lyft, Apple, Google, etc. are working hard to do.

      1. Lawrence Brass

        I don’t understand why, according to the report, everything else is slowing down but ads are on the rise. Are they cheating with native? As consumers, our capacity to watch ads has not been exhausted yet?

        1. Matt Zagaja

          I think slides 44-45 shows that this growth is driven by money shifting to where the attention is. It’s been benefitting from a reorganizing of the pie instead of a growing of the pie. Desktop growth is flat and the ad industry still puts a lot of money into TV and print.

          1. Salt Shaker

            When I look at slide 45 it says to me Internet/mobile has an effectiveness problem. It’s not getting it’s fair share of ad dollars relative to time spent cause its value prop is questionable. Legacy media still garners a higher cpm in part cause of the legacy but also cause Internet/mobile IMO has a fairly strong commodity perception (driven by programmatic?). Slide 44 tells me unless you’re fb or Google you’re in for a dog fight. It also speaks to the importance and need for developing multiple rev streams on top of adv (e.g., transactional and/or subscription) especially w/ rising penetration of ad blockers.

          2. Lawrence Brass

            i wish disqus had comment highlighting as medium does, to highlight your last sentence.+++

    3. Lawrence Brass

      Nice breakfast read, thanks for the reminder. You are smarter than Siri.

    4. LE


  2. awaldstein

    I’m not a bitcoin fanboy by nature but need to say that this company connects with my ideas of how to build a market from a nascent and assumed market capability completely.More than all the rah rah pundits, I read and watch them as they practice “strategic execution’ well. Curious who their advisory board is.

  3. William Mougayar

    The more native the “Buy” button experience , the more usage it will get. And setup should be easy too, and frictionless.We’re not there yet, but any attempts at improvemens (like the one mentioned) are welcome.

    1. pointsnfigures

      In the niche, yes. To go mainstream there has to be a real use case for the masses. Not there yet and there is still too much perceived risk in the ecosystem (hackers, etc)

      1. awaldstein

        Who says this will need to every be a b2c product to be paradigm changing?Not I.

        1. Girish Mehta

          Can you please elaborate Arnold ?

          1. awaldstein

            Two things:First by definition b2b–think Salesforce or Slack–are as much a game changer for how we work as much as the majority of consumer apps.And more interesting with complete life work balance, the communal nature of work in groups as the norm, the difference is breaking down.The bitcoin world and most of its pundits are notoriously arbitrary about what it is and where it is going. It’s not that complicated.

          2. Girish Mehta

            Thanks, good points. Glad I asked, hadn’t correctly gathered what you were pointing toward earlier.Still remain *very* skeptical of bitcoin per se.

          3. awaldstein

            I don’t know enough to feel past my gut.My question is–if the majority of financial institutions use the technology to build private systems and benefit from the efficiencies but don’t pass this on to the consumer is this a revolution?

        2. pointsnfigures

          Consumer always more risky than business; but bigger market and bigger return. Facebook bigger than LinkedIN

          1. awaldstein

            Equally risky.Not true that by definition a bigger return though a costly process to sell.This is common knowledge I don’t ascribe to from my own experience.

      2. William Mougayar

        IMO, Bitcoin as an alternative payment option is not the killer usage scenario. It needs to be part of an App where it’s the only option, eg OpenBazaar.

        1. ZekeV

          For the consumer, this buy button would not be any different in experience from paying directly via a stripe tool that wraps ACH transfer. I suppose the value here would be on the merchant side. Could be useful for companies with no US bank account who want to be paid in btc, assuming they can sign up without too much hassle or legal restriction. But yeah, I am also more excited about applications where bitcoin is uniquely required. This buy button seems like a modest way for coinbase to test another customer acquisition method, not fundamentally disruptive.

          1. jason wright

            “customer acquisition method, and not fundamentally disruptive”yes.

  4. jason wright

    21’s bitcoin mining app approach has to be the way to go with bitcoin (not that i like mining. forging secures networks at a fraction of the cost).Coinbase seems like a complete contradiction of the decentralisation trend.

  5. Lawrence Brass

    I think that bitcoin will rule micropayments, the most significant roadblocks to achieve this are the uneasy access to currency exchange and perhaps the lack of a common API.Looks like a smart move in the right direction.

    1. jason wright

      Waves is attempting to solve the currency exchange problem.

  6. kidmercury

    game economies will eventually disrupt real world economies, thus ushering in the golden age of platforms and the end of the nation-state era. but the currency needs to be native to the game or online platform, for both usability and maximum economic efficiency.

  7. LE

    This is great. But it would be a good idea at some point for coinbase to have a list of developers (of all different levels) that can implement some of these things for small or large website owners. [1] Right now this is driven by what a developer will do for an existing client or their company, not by some “drive by website owner” that thinks “hey I’d like to do this” [2] who may or may not have a developer (and that developer may or may not be on board with the entire concept). Make it easy even if it means coinbase has to employ the developers and take the risks of something undesirable happening.[1] Remember how Microsoft ended up ruling the world by having an entire ecosystem of tech people that earned their living by supporting and pushing Microsoft products.[2] As an example I am sure you might have thought to put a “buy bitcoin button” here at AVC even as a test. Given the instruction set and having to find someone to implement that it becomes non-trivial and time consuming.

  8. JLM

    .The world is not going to notice — or be changed by — anything rationed at the rate of $5/day. That’s not even 2 lattes.It is, however, two senior coffees at an excellent Scottish restaurant, McDonald’s.In other news, Foggy Bottom was reported as being ……………………. foggy. Film at 11.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. Lawrence Brass

      We can build an empire jist chargin tae,5 poonds a month. An’ och aye, we accept bitcoin. At leest ‘at whit th’ spreadsheit says.

      1. JLM

        .Top marks for the accent, guv.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. Lawrence Brass

          Nae me brither, it is a site Ah hae bin usin’. Pretendin’ it is me woods be… sleazy.…I am practicing in case I have to execute plan C:Brexit + The Wall is built —> Move HQ to Glasgow.Would you coach me in Glasgow? 😉

          1. JLM

            .I would move to Glasgow.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          2. JLM

            .Pretty damn……………………funny!What are the names of the oceans off Scotland?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          3. Lawrence Brass

            According to my father, we were related to ancient Brass shepherds buried at the Orkney Islands, so it is a shame I don’t know.

          4. JLM

            .The North and the South Minch.JL MinchJLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  9. JimHirshfield

    It’s the maximum for a minimum amount of time. Does that clear it up?

  10. LE

    Why introduce obstacles like the implied approval process?Because it’s new, it involves money and they want to alpha the kinks out prior to the spigot of demand being turned on.The temp lifetime limit is a good catch however I parsed that as simply “lifetime limit of $50, subject change”.

  11. Richard

    Lifetime limit was totally borrowed from health insurance lingo, just call it current daily maximum and current cumulative maximum (create urgency and scarcity)Once again Bitcoin community just can’t get there arms around marketing