What if a Bitcoin-accepting marketplace were welcoming to small merchants, a la Etsy, while at the same time offering the vast wares of online giant Amazon? If all goes according to plan, Purse will compete as just such a marketplace with their launch of Purse Merchants.
Purse Merchants is now in beta phase, offering early access that’s already been claimed by players like Ledger, Trezor, and Private Internet Access. Thomas Hunt, a.k.a. “Mad Bitcoins,” does business development for Purse and gave Bitcoin.com the skinny on how the company hopes the Merchants program plays out.
Bitcoin.com (BC): Describe the Merchants program — will Amazon shopping really be available right on the Purse website?
Thomas Hunt (TH): Purse is already the world’s largest marketplace for Bitcoin spending with more than 65,000 shoppers. With the addition of Purse Merchants, we hope to become the eBay for digital currency, allowing Merchants to list their items alongside Amazon’s already impressive catalog — and in the same search engine — on Purse.
“In the future, when you search for Trezor on Purse, you will see the listing for Trezor on both Amazon and Purse.”
We believe that Merchants should be able to sell anything they want for bitcoins and unlike previous Bitcoin merchant processors, we will not suggest the merchants immediately sell their Bitcoin for fiat, instead allowing the merchants to spend, hold, or sell their digital currency.
BC: With Amazon products on the Purse website, will there be any more need to create Amazon wish lists to use Purse?
TH: The Purse wishlist system is unique because it allows users all over the world to trade their Amazon Gift Credit for Bitcoin. Most people know that Gift Credit is worth less than Bitcoin because Bitcoin can be spent anywhere and for anything, while Amazon Gift Credit can only be used at Amazon.com. You can’t pay your rent or bills with Gift Credit, but you can with Bitcoin.
It’s this difference in value between Gift Credit and Bitcoin that allows Purse to offer an average discount of 20% off Amazon.com. We believe that these large discounts will drive Bitcoin adoption forward. We will continue to offer and improve upon this great program.
BC: Why would a current Etsy or eBay seller want to join Purse Merchants?
TH: Unlike eBay (3.5%), Amazon (5-15%), and Etsy (3.5%), the Purse marketplace is free to use. Purse Marketplace leverages blockchain escrows, which allow the user’s funds to be held in escrow and not delivered to the merchant until the item is delivered, creating the most secure way to shop online.
BC: What specific goals does the Purse team have for the Merchants program?
TH: Our mission is to connect the world through blockchain commerce, providing an open marketplace allowing anyone to buy and sell without the need for restrictive bank accounts and credit cards.
BC: You run a news and entertainment show called MadBitcoins and did so before joining Purse. What attracted you to the company? Did they find you through your show?
TH: I’m very proud of my work with MadBitcoins, the World Crypto Network, and the Bitcoin Group. When I really started researching Bitcoin, I became incredibly excited about the possibilities and wanted to share my excitement with the world and get more people excited. I met Andrew, the CEO of Purse, at one of the San Francisco Bitcoin Meetups, of which I am a co-organizer. He asked me if I had tried Purse. I had tried out the interface but hadn’t made a purchase.
I tried it out a few days later and was impressed when my item showed up quickly and at a discount. I thought that Purse could be a really great way to encourage Bitcoin spending by providing discounts. I was also impressed at the way they leveraged Amazon’s wishlist system to allow users to trade their unwanted Amazon gift cards for Bitcoin. A few months later, when I left the Bitcoin loan company I had been working for, Andrew contacted me about a job and I was thrilled to join the team at Purse.
BC: What are some of your favorite projects in the cryptosphere right now?
TH: While I’m not a coffee drinker, I’m a big fan of FoldApp, which allows you to spend Bitcoin at Starbucks at a discount. Any project that helps people spend Bitcoin helps establish Bitcoin as a currency — a currency that I think has the potential to free people from the silent tyranny of inflation.
I’m also incredibly excited by ProTip, the new project created by Leo Campbell and Chris Ellis. It’s an open source Bitcoin wallet that runs in your Chrome browser and monitors the pages you view for Bitcoin addresses, then automatically tips the content you enjoy at the end of each week according to your weekly allowance.
“[ProTip is] an incredibly easy way to reward people for the content you enjoy without forcing the user to carry the cognitive load of tipping each person individually.”
It’s an incredibly exciting project and I’m thrilled to be involved in even the smallest way. Also since it’s open source and does not track your data, I think this project has the ability to carry Bitcoin far beyond its current userbase and bring a flood of new users to our cause. It’s great for artists, too. All an artist has to do is post a Bitcoin address on their work and tell their audience to try ProTip. I think ProTip could be the killer app for Bitcoin.
BC: What’s the best thing you’ve ever done with cryptocurrency?
“I think the best thing I’ve done with Bitcoin was get over my feeling of missed opportunity and just get involved.”
Like many, I could have bought Bitcoin early, been rich and retired, but what kind of person would have I been then? I would have been a lazy rich person on a beach. Which sure, sounds dreamy, but who would I have helped? What use would have I been to my fellow humans?
Instead of being a lazy rich person, I became a worker. I worked hard to create MadBitcoins, the World Crypto Network, The Bitcoin Group, ProTip and many other side projects and shows. This work brought me friends, fans, and collaborators all over the world. Together we have created a community of people who are excited about the possibilities of Bitcoin and who work together to create shows and discuss their ideas.
To me, this is worth more than all the money in the world. I wouldn’t trade the amazing experiences I have had thanks to Bitcoin for anything in the world. But a few weeks off at a beach would be nice.
Have you used Purse, FoldApp, and/or ProTip? What was your experience? Leave your feedback below!
Image source: Huffington Post