Bringing Bitcoin to the Masses
Talking to a new acquaintance about Bitcoin is a good way to categorize them. The idealists will wax poetic about the implications of freedom from bankers. The skeptics will scoff, talk about tulip bulbs, and try to convince you that the hype will fade out soon. The third category, and by far the largest, will freely admit that they don't understand Bitcoin and doubt they ever will. These are the laymen.
These laymen now have an opportunity. Using the new app Pay With Bits, or Bits, they can join the conversation. The application simplifies Bitcoin by allowing transactions to be made via SMS. With a welcoming interface, Bits draws you into the world of Bitcoin without any additional knowledge required- if you can text, you can pay. You don't even have to own a smartphone.
Bits is expected to find a welcoming community in developing countries. Many countries, especially Kenya, have adopted mobile banking that utilizes SMS in a way that developed countries have only considered.
One of the developers, Cody Byrnes, has said on reddit that the app was completed in 24 hours so that it could grace the stage at the Disrupt NY Hackathon 2013. There are necessary tweaks, but it works. In a video featured at the Hackathon, a street vendor sells a hot dog using only texts.
If you'd like to register, you can visit the website. You'll be greeted by a friendly green button, which invites you to Get Started. By clicking, you're given a phone number and instructions to text the message 'signup.' From there, all you have to do is text 'balance,' 'request,' or 'send.' It couldn't be simpler.
A currency is only as valuable as the people who use it say it is. As applications like Pay With Bits grow, there will be exponentially less people who are able to concede their Bitcoin ignorance. If such applications expand even further, there will no longer be any particularly loud skeptics.