Bitcoin Gone Social: The Emergence of Pay-By-Twitter
A new Seattle-based startup company is currently engaged in an ambitious endeavor to exponentially boost the ease, safety, and usefulness of bitcoin for consumers worldwide. Launched in May of 2016, iPayYou is an online platform and digital wallet that boasts a bevy of features designed to fuel bitcoin as a desired method of payment.
The proposition behind iPayYou is simple: It allows users to hold, buy, send and receive bitcoin at strikingly low costs through a simple and secure website housing their personal bitcoin wallet. There are two features that make iPayYou a particularly valued tool. For starters, payments can be sent via email without the recipient possessing an already established bitcoin account. Secondly, which is a biggie, transactions can be canceled instantly in the event of a payment process mistake.
Now, in a move to integrate a social element into bitcoin’s meteoric rise, iPayYou just recently launched a new Pay-by-Twitter feature, the first and only full-service wallet platform to facilitate peer-to-peer payments over Twitter, boasting more than 300 million active users over the past 18 months.
Here’s how Pay-By-Twitter works:
Through an amazingly simple authentication process, anyone can pay or receive bitcoin through their Twitter account. For example, users can initiate a payment by entering the payee’s Twitter handle instead of an email or bitcoin address, so that transactions can be completed without exchanging private information. This Tweet provides a connecting link to the iPayYou website allowing the payment recipient to claim the bitcoin sent to them through an existing or newly created iPayYou account.
Once the bitcoin claim has been successfully executed, the recipient can now either hold the bitcoin in their wallet, send it to someone else in the bitcoin community, or sell their bitcoin in US dollars for deposit into their bank account.
And there’s more. For the sender, there is the added benefit of a unique and exclusive cancellation feature in the event that the person does not claim payment or follow up on it. In other words, this provides the sender with the added security that the bitcoins they’ve forwarded are not simply going to disappear into thin air if the intended recipient doesn’t claim it for one reason or another.
Will Bitcoin’s Alignment With Social Boost Consumer Adoption?
iPayYou, along with its feature Pay-by-Twitter, is the brainchild of Founder and CEO Gene Kavner, former Amazon Executive and the Worldwide Director of Amazon Associates, the world’s largest affiliate program. With a broad swath of previous experience including prominent positions at Microsoft and Expedia, Kavner created iPayYou with the goal of addressing a growing need for a simple bitcoin wallet with easy-to-use features and low costs for the consumer.
“I’ve had the pleasure of developing a lot of interesting technologies over the course of my career, all with the intent of bringing value to consumers,”says Kavner in a recent interview with BTCManager.
“For me, the question has always centered on how a consumer friendly interface can be built so that an average person with a non-technical background receives a really good experience from it.”
From the standpoint of integrating the worlds of bitcoin and social media, he touts Twitter’s repute as one of the most widely used social media networks worldwide and notes that despite the speed of technological innovation in the 21st Century, no other full-service bitcoin wallet has provided a Pay-by-Twitter feature until now.
Kavner says that the key rationale behind iPayYou and the Pay-by-Twitter tool is to extend the reach and adoption of the bitcoin ecosystem beyond just the people who love and know bitcoin. He and his team want everyone to feel comfortable in taking advantage of it.
“More than anything else, what we’re attempting to do is break down those boundaries and barriers that make it difficult for people to sell and buy services peer-to-peer and country-to-country. By achieving this we will not only create opportunities for businesses to bring new services to the market but we would have allowed this to occur in a way that doesn’t require them to have a bank account…”
That’s where Twitter comes in – it’s the one medium he says that we currently have today that is completely public – where anyone who has a Twitter handle is visible to others throughout the world.
“… I personally believe that tools like Pay-by-Twitter will provide a primary means of alleviating poverty over the next 50-100 years because, for the first time, you’re really enabling people to participate in the world economy by allowing them to create a value and sell it no matter where they live.”
Commenting on the July 14th announcement about the Twitter enhancement, Bitcoin evangelist and iPayYou investor Roger Ver said,
“iPayYou is one of the most exciting new companies in the bitcoin industry which is directed at consumers. Their new Pay-by-Twitter feature is just one example of how iPayYou are paving the way to promote the mass adoption of bitcoin.”
However, an important factor preventing the mass adoption of bitcoin is a general lack of technical knowledge on how to store bitcoin securely, as well as inertia toward learning about and using bitcoin. Kavner says that people are hungry for new ways of making and receiving payments.
“All of our work ensues from our belief that today’s bitcoin ecosystem is not just for a small group of people who are highly technical, politically motivated, or a part of the libertarian community. We want to expand it to everyday people who may have no idea as to what bitcoin is so that it can bring value into their lives. We endeavor for it to open the doors for individuals to not only send payment to friends, families, and colleagues but also support causes and charities which will benefit from its true peer-to-peer functionality.”
He believes there is real value in enabling people to facilitate transactions through mechanisms like Twitter that they’re already familiar with. He also notes that iPayYou is going to be adding additional options mechanisms such as Facebook and other social media tools very, very soon which will also allow people to make payments.
“In the end, our overall premise is to bring the easiest, safest, most powerful bitcoin wallet to the world market. Everything we do encompasses that vision. That has been our mission from the start.”