Bitcoin donations?

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circleio
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I realise this has been brought up once before but am wondering if this has been given some more thought.

Bitcoin donations are far easier and cheaper for both sender and receiver. There are no complicated or varying rules of what you can or can't do, unlike PayPal etc.

Can I please ask that this is at least looked into before the idea is discounted. The only loss would be the time it takes to look into it.

All you've got to do is put a bitcoin address on your donations page (and optional QR code), that's it.

You don't need worry about price volatility because, a) something is better than nothing, and b) if it really does concern you, you can use a service like BitPay to go straight into cash.

Your thoughts please. Thanks.

paul
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No plans to use Bitcoin. The time factor is a huge issue at present, and should not be discounted so easily. This project is incredibly low on resources for something of this scope and complexity. And this is not an answer that is given without thought, I am just keeping it short to save time.

circleio
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Have you used bitcoin before?

circleio
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Paul, I am going to base the following on an old comment of yours about bitcoin (Oct 2013), "I have no plans at present to accept bitcoins. The currency fluctuation of bitcoins relative to the currency I need to use to eat and pay for clothes and heating fuel is currently too great for me to deal with".

First of all, in the time it takes us to debate this, you could of installed a bitcoin wallet on your phone (Bitcoin Wallet or Mycelium) or on to a Linux, Mac or Windows computer (Multibit) - all of which are open source. After installation (no further downloads), all you have to do is paste a bitcoin address to your donations page. No purchases, no accounts and no APIs (fancy integration is completely optional)... you would literally be done within 30 minutes tops.

You don't need to buy bitcoins or pay any money upfront. You don't have to install any code, front or back-end. There's are no costs to receive bitcoins or part of a bitcoin. You can send or receive any amount, huge or tiny... the cost to the sender is literally just a few cents. You don't need to worry about price fluctuations because on any day you decide to cash out, you would end up with more than you started. Straight off you would probably get two donations, from myself and (I guess) from programLyrique who originally suggested it to you back in October 2013.

You would effectively receive more from your donors as they don't have to deal with PayPal's rubbish fx charges and margins. Or with their convoluted policies based on country.

Like I say, in the time you think about this or debate this, you could be done pasting a bitcoin address to your donations page. If for some reason you still think 30 minutes is too long, you have a couple of options; you could allocate the 30 minutes and just try what I say, or alternatively, maybe you should consider delegating the financial aspects to someone else.

circleio
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And I'd just like to quote the MultiBit website https://multibit.org/features.html

"If you are an ordinary user of Bitcoin and simply want a wallet that just works without hassle, then MultiBit is the right choice for you.

You can download it using the links on the right and be up and running with Bitcoin in 5 minutes."

seablade
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First of all, in the time it takes us to debate this, you could of installed a bitcoin wallet on your phone (Bitcoin Wallet or Mycelium) or on to a Linux, Mac or Windows computer (Multibit) - all of which are open source. After installation (no further downloads), all you have to do is paste a bitcoin address to your donations page. No purchases, no accounts and no APIs (fancy integration is completely optional)... you would literally be done within 30 minutes tops.

No 'fancy' integration really isn't to optional since there are benefits for most people that choose to subscribe or donate, namely the ability to get a ready to go binary package of Ardour.

This is the part that takes time. Telling people where to send money, not so much.

Seablade

circleio
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I was addressing Paul's concern that accepting bitcoin (or any other payment method) might take too much time. Sure, you can do deep integration with bitcoin but it doesn't have to be that way. When you consider all the effort he's put into PayPal so far - dealing with the varying policies by country etc - then 30 mins work to reach more potential donors seems quite trivial. I'm not suggesting he drops PayPal, nor am I discounting the value of subscriptions. I'm simply saying he can potentially reach more donors and get more money because there aren't the big losses you'd normally see, namely rubbish fx rates and additional foreign currency handling fees. I've done enough foreign currency payments - PayPal and others - to know where it hurts.

And as previously said, if he's still not got enough time, then maybe he should think of delegating the fund raising (and other parts) to other people. I would love to see Ardour flourish. I'm offering solutions here, not looking for problems.

seablade
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Sure, you can do deep integration with bitcoin but it doesn't have to be that way.

As I said above, yes it really does for the way Ardour is structured financially at the moment. It doesn't take long to set up a Paypal account and let people donate into it, or a half dozen other solutions like flattr, etc.. It DOES take a while to integrate that into logins on the site, and downloads of Ardour for people supporting Ardour. The same is true of Bitcoin, there really isn't much different except that Bitcoin is far more volatile (Several exchanges having issues, going out of business, etc.) and the APIs needed to do so are not as established(Again several exchanges having issues, etc.)

The point isn't that it can't be done, but that noone has demonstrated enough benefit to warrant the time required to integrate into the site. Bitcoin was discussed at length for some time in fact and discounted at the time, and not to much has changed since then. Some has certainly, but not a huge amount, especially given recent history.

And as previously said, if he's still not got enough time, then maybe he should think of delegating the fund raising (and other parts) to other people.

To who exactly? Most people involved with Ardour on a regular basis, even on a testing basis, wouldn't want to try to tackle integrating financial systems. I certainly wouldn't. I would bet Paul by far has the most experience with this, and considering all payments go direct to him, would require his financial data at this point.

Don't let me stop you from volunteering mind you, but don't be surprised if people are a little hesitant to let someone that they don't have a history with handle financial data. In my work, most people doing this, when hired, typically at least have a background check and credit check to make sure they can do so responsibly at a minimum for a business and won't rip off the business. Not something easily done for an open source development that is primarily what one person does in his garage/van/office.

I would love to see Ardour flourish. I'm offering solutions here, not looking for problems.

As are most people. The thing is, if you don't look for, and analyze the potential problems with an idea, you are being irresponsible at best, especially when it comes to financial data. At the moment I have not seen enough to differentiate Bitcoin from any other method to say there is a greater ROI on implementing it vs others at this time. Now should it come down to a large portion of Ardour users present themselves and say they can only pay in Bitcoin, sure. There is at least a portion of users that can't pay with PayPal for instance for whatever reason, but at the moment a different traditional payment processor is likely a better option than Bitcoin for most people.

Now even that is not an answer for everyone certainly, but is it worth it for the other percentage of people that have no other option than Bitcoin to donate? You would have a hard time selling me on that obviously(But Paul is obviously the one you have to sell on it). A far easier time is to sell on a different payment processor, which has a larger demonstrable ROI but even that hasn't gotten quite to the tipping point yet with Paul that I am aware of.

I would suggest that you hang around IRC for a while at some point though to realize exactly how many conversations do not happen on the web or forum. That is where discussions on bitcoins, other financial systems, etc. have happened in the past.

Seablade

circleio
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Logins, downloads, subscriptions, these are all things I did not mention. I had suggested that Paul could start off by simply placing a bitcoin address to his donations page. And then I explained the simplicity, explaining it need not take more than 30 minutes.

You talk about cost-benefits so I'm asking you, what benefit must 30 minutes of work show? - not even 30 minutes, I just did a timed experiment... I went to blockchain.info and opened an account in just 3 minutes. That would give him a full 27 minutes to copy and paste his bitcoin address to his donations page and that's it, job done. What other work must be done to accept bitcoin donations?

Just so we're clear; opening an account at blockchain.info in 3 minutes means there is no other software to install, though there is a an optional blockchain.info app on Google Play. The website does not ask for signup fees, usage fees, or identity checks for sending or receiving bitcoins. Sending bitcoins literally costs just a few cents and nothing to the receiver, regardless of the amount. Can you say the same for PayPal? You talk about ROI and volatility but you didn't mention the potential for chargebacks months down the line, PayPal's rubbish fx rates or the charges they make for handling foreign currencies... there you go, that's a loss to Paul right there. Bitcoin volatility only occurs if and when someone switches into another currency. Paul could just leave the bitcoin to accrue, waiting for an opportune moment to cash out, or he can pay for services directly in bitcoin and thus avoiding volatility and fx charges all together.

If people such as yourself prefer using PayPal to bitcoin, that's fine, it's your free choice. I'm not suggesting Paul supplant one method for another. If people want subscriptions they'll continue to use PayPal right? And if you remember from that other thread of ours, donations and subscriptions are completely different... donations are one way without the same benefits of subscriptions. So again, no problem.

As for exchanges going out of business, I concede there is some truth in that and I can help you out there....

With bitcoin there are two parts; a public bitcoin address that acts like an account number for receiving funds, and a private key that unlocks your account so that you can sign messages or spend bitcoin (or part thereof). From this you can see the private key is the most important part and you should never reveal it to anyone. Fortunately, because these two parts are separate, you can continue to receive bitcoin yet at the same time keeping your private key completely offline. These offline keys are called "paper wallets"; basically a printout of your private key. Spending from a paper wallet is very easy and fast, and most importantly completely safe from hackers and viruses.

In the past, some exchanges (such as Mt.Gox), encouraged people to store their private key on their servers. This always carries a risk, but as explained above, this is 100% avoidable. You never have to entrust your private key to anyone and you can keep it 100% offline, 100% of the time.

There are two significant advantages with blockchain.info. First of all, all of it's parts directly involved with the wallet service are open source. Secondly, all keys are encrypted / decrypted in the browser before it is sent to their server. Two-step authentication is also available. And if, for whatever reason, this is still not good enough, you can use a completely different open source wallet. Personally, I would highly recommend Mycelium for android, again all open source.

Can I ask that you at least try it before judging it too deeply. If you need any help you can either ask here or contact me directly at mark@circle.io

Thanks

seablade
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Since I am currently awaiting take off on a plane I will keep this brief.

Suffice to say, while you may be ignoring the subscriptions, downloads, etc. That is one of the main reasons TO do something g like this. Ignoring them is ignoring likely well over half of the reasons that peoe would give money.

Believe me, it is a piece of cake just to accept donations of any sort. But donations alone didn't make much of a dent i n the cost just to pay Paul's salary, thus why things like donation supported downloads and subscriptions had to be implemented.

So in short, you are correct, accepting bitcoin donations and having one more method of payments to handle isn't to difficult, but you are ignoring most of the reason to do it andas a result why it is much more difficult than you imply.

circleio
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Okay, I got it. No need to bother because donations compared to subscriptions just don't cut it. It's just pointless and a lot more complicated than it sounds. I don't know why I mentioned it, sorry. Apologies for bothering you.

paul
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It isn't pointless. It is a lot more complicated than it sounds. Thanks for mentioning it again. Facts on the ground, though: a lot more of my income comes from subscriptions (which represent a committment to pay a small amount multiple times, distributed over a year) than from donations. So making donations easier might be helpful, but a rough guess suggests that it is probably less helpful than a magic bullet that makes nice, cheap, truly uniform multinational subscriptions easy.

seablade
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@circleio

Again I suggest you spend some time around IRC. It sounds like you truly want to help the project, the problem is that a lot of your ideas have been discussed ad nauseum on IRC repeatedly, so you are getting the general summary of the debate is all.

Seablade