On July 17, BitPay announced the launch of Get Bits, a simple solution to Get bitcoins anywhere in the world. If “What is a Bitcoin?” is the number one question asked, perhaps “How do I get a Bitcoin?” is the second most asked. Buying bitcoins is one of the biggest hurdles to getting started; that's why BitPay created Get Bits. Get Bits lets you give and receive bitcoins to your friends through your Facebook.
BitPay is a payment provider used by both Newegg and TigerDirect amount others. Its strongest competitor is Coinbase, which has just picked up Dell as its newest and largest partner. BitPay's latest application, Get Bits, allows users to connect with others through Facebook. Users will be able to send and receive bitcoins through the applications, making it easier to introduce Bitcoin to new users.
Get Bits is just the latest innovation we have seen from BitPay. It isn't even the first time we've seen BitPay's presence on Facebook. At the beginning of this year, the social / casual game developer Zynga began testing in-game Bitcoin purchases. They began testing in Farmville 2, Zynga Poker, Chefville and three other games.
In February BitPay released Bitcore. Bitcore removes centralized API systems and allows apps to interact directly with the Bitcoin network. With Bitcore, apps can continue working even if the server hosting API goes down.
However, not all the news for BitPay is good. In January, BitPay refused to offer their services to a legal marijuana dispensary in Washington. They stated, “Unfortunately, we are unable to provide services to business that sell drugs.” While I understand this stance is due to federal laws and the relationship BitPay has with banks, I wish that had been explained up front rather than the one-sentence response they gave. In March, they ended service to Central Texas Gun Works; however, this time they were able to point to a strict no-guns ToS as the reason.
For those of us seeking anonymity when using Bitcoin, Get Bits isn't something you'll want to use to obtain your coins. Receiving bitcoins this way will create a link between you and the coins, just like purchasing a coin off Coinbase will create a link between your bank account and the coins you purchase. For those who want to introduce their friends into the wonderful world of Bitcoin, this is the perfect app.
Get Bits isn't the first digital currency to make its appearance on Facebook. Back in June The Doge Tipping app was accepted by Facebook as well as Multicoin Tipping app. Through the Multicoin Tipping app users can tip other users using Dogecoin, Digibytes, Einsteinium, FedoraCoin, Mintcoin, Reddcoin, Quark, Worldcoin, Vertcoin, Karmacoin, Earthcoin, TrollCoin, HTMLCoin, and Donationcoin.
The Multicoin Tipping app works by users tipping through Facebook groups. Once a user has joined the group, they can send tips to anyone on Facebook, regardless if they are on your friend's list not. Users can refuse to accept these coins by changing their Facebook security settings and not allow others to tag them. Neither pages nor groups can receive tips. This method seems a bit crude and a stopgap until a better system can be implemented. Perhaps Get Bits is just that.
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