I live from my couch. It is where I do my best thinking. It’s the office where I work. It’s where I shop. Most of my purchases are made on my computer and my phone. It’s where I buy my books, my music, and my movies. It’s where I read the news.
Most of us consume the majority of our media online, but there are significant limitations on our ability to purchase small dollar items. It makes for an unpleasant experience. $.99 is the minimum payment accepted by credit cards, an arbitrary amount, set to accommodate the minimum $.30 transaction fee. This is why individual tracks on iTunes cost $.99 and, if over a short period you make multiple small purchases, iTunes will bundle them into one transaction to save on their fees.
Also, I have a strong aversion to signing up for monthly subscriptions. Even with Trim asking me whether I’d like to cancel my monthly rental payments (Yes, I would!), I fear that I will remain subscribed forever to services I no longer use, slowly bleeding my savings dry. I’d much rather pay for content like news, videos, and songs as I go.
Many of the things I want are worth less than $.99. I don’t want a monthly subscription to the New York Times but I’d pay ten cents for an article, however I can’t charge less than $.99 to my card. Even if I could, with our current system I’d still have to get up off the couch, physically find my credit card and type in all those numbers. We’ve created an artificial point of friction: you can’t transact at these smaller amounts because our financial system is archaic and inefficient.
Looking beyond my selfish desire to remain sprawled on my couch, this archaic system prevents content creators such as musicians, photographers, and writers from effectively monetizing their content on the internet. Either they get paid almost nothing by corporate content providers that do little to reward the actual creators, or the creators build personal websites filled with ads and pop-ups, or give their content away for free.
Bitcoin solves this problem. It is a near-infinitely divisible digital currency, has low to no transaction fees, and can be sent anywhere in the world. This is why, selfishly, I cannot wait for the Bitcoin revolution. A native, friction free, in-browser option for shelling out sums of money greater and smaller than .99 cents will revolutionize my relationship with the internet.
Imagine your browser with a Bitcoin plug-in that allows you to browse the internet and view content without ads or paywalls. You can give you browser a daily budget and automatically pay content creators directly for the digital content you consume.
Most people, when I talk to them and tell them I worked at a Bitcoin startup, they’ll say– “Oh, I don’t understand Bitcoin.” This is coming from engineers, people who are very tech-savvy saying “why should we care?” and it is a great question. It doesn’t matter if you are interested in the technical details or not: A native internet currency will fundamentally change how we interact with the digital world; building upon it people will create new technologies and new opportunities.
All you really need to know is Bitcoin is money for the internet.
Here’s the analogy I use. When I’m playing Candy Crush, it has gold bars, and my 99 cents worth of gold bars is the smallest amount of gold bars I can buy to keep playing my game. I don’t care about the mechanics of that. I don’t care how that gold bar is digitally represented. I’m not particularly worried about gold bar security. I don’t feel the need to be in the details; I just know that my gold bars make my Candy Crush experience better. Very few people can explain how the dollar works and yet they still manage to pay for a pack of gum. So here is my view. Bitcoin is the future. I can see it from my couch.