recommended reading

Bitcoin Could Become the Go-To Currency for Digital Tipping

Flickr user antanacoins

A lot of the hype around Bitcoin involves the crazy, illegal, or mundane things you can buy with it. But the digital currency could come in handy for an old-fashioned practice: tipping.

According to an informal survey of 1,000 Bitcoin users published last April, users ranked gifts and donations as their most frequent transactions. At 36%, these categories beat out illegal drugs, gambling and the catch-all “other legal goods.” Of course, there’s no way to verify these results, but there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence. A growing number of charities are accepting Bitcoin donations, and other cryptocurrencies have contributed to high-profile fundraising. For example, last month Reddit’s Dogecoin community raised $33,000 dollars worth of the digital currency for the Jamaican bobsled team’s Olympic campaign.

But another theory, floated yesterday on the Bitcoin blog CoinDesk, is that cryptocurrencies are becoming the web’s standard for the so-called gift economy. The best example of the gift economy, writes Brett Scott, the post’s author, is to imagine a sidewalk busker: “The busker does not expect anything back from any particular person who walks past, but the fact that they leave a hat out for tips shows that they hope that in general some people will be inspired to give back to them.”

On the web, this could benefit bloggers, artists, and software developers who put their work out for free, but ask that people who enjoy their work click the donate button and leave a digital tip.

Scott argues that traditional web transaction services are too cumbersome for small, impromptu donations—otherwise known as tips. It’s not hard to imagine how filling out a credit card form might seem like more trouble than the tip is worth. PayPal, by far the most common way to donate, takes a bite out of every dollar a digital busker receives. With both services, writes Scott, the formality kills the spontaneous feelings that inspire tipping.

His theory doesn’t mention new micro-exchange services like tinyGive and Venmo. But, both of those services still charge fees and go through traditional bank accounts. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are web-native, so they operate more like cash.

To new users, figuring out a Bitcoin transaction is more trouble than its worth for these humble shows of appreciation. But for established Bitcoin fans, it might be the closest thing the web can offer to the feeling of tossing a few coins to the guy playing bucket drums on the train platform.

Reprinted with permission from Quartz. The original story can be found here

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

    View
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    View
  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

    View
  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    View
  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

    View
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    View

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.