There’s something magical about the enabling power of owning and publishing a Bitcoin address. It is equivalent to owning and publishing an email address.
An email address allows you to communicate with anyone around the world, via two words pieced together,- a name and a domain.
The same thing is happening with Bitcoin today. Once you publish your Bitcoin address, anyone in the world can send you money, or donate to your cause. The movement of money is something that Bitcoin does very well, and with little overhead.
We take our emails for granted. Imagine a world without your email. Imagine a world without a telephone number, or without an address. Soon, the same will be said about a Bitcoin address.
Here are some recent examples of great things that have just happened via a Bitcoin address:
Andreas Antonopolous started a fund raiser for Dorian Nakamoto, the alleged “Satoshi Nakamoto”, by publishing the donation address: 1Dorian4RoXcnBv9hnQ4Y2C1an6NJ4UrjX
Within a few days, donations poured in, and totaled over 44 Btc (approx. $28,000), as tracked by this Blockchain tracking URL.
Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia was recently overwhelmed with donations after publishing his personal Bitcoin address – Wikipedia charity receives influx of Bitcoin donations after founder Jimmy Wales set up a personal account “to play around” with digital currency and was swamped with cash
This is only the beginning. This site, Wollit has started to track these initiatives.
Why is this happening? Because it’s easy. If you have a Bitcoin wallet, sending money is as easy as sending an email. Simplicity trumps complexity. The closest mechanism to paying by email is maybe PayPal, but PayPal doesn’t have the electrifying and mobilizing power that Bitcoin has.
Here’s an example of my KryptoKit wallet recognizing a Bitcoin purchase for the Toronto Bitcoin Expo. The transaction simplicity is a breath of fresh air, when compared with the tediousness of entering a credit card number on eCommerce sites, or dealing with convoluted shopping cart mechanisms. My wallet woke-up when it recognized a Bitcoin payment option on the Expo site, and all I had to do is click “Send” to make that payment. I didn’t need to get familiarized with multiple shopping cart mechanisms anymore. It’s my wallet, and my choice.
But there is something bigger happening.
This is a continuation of the decentralization movement that is going on. Instead of having banks solely and centrally manage our accounts and money, we’ll be more self-reliant on managing our wallets ourselves, and eventually looping a new breed of financial services on top of them, via the promise of next generation cryptocurrency infrastructures and protocols such as Ethereum. Here’s an example of an off-line wallet that lets you safely transfer your Bitcoin savings into it: Crypto Cards. The Crypto Card is water and fire proof, as it should be. Money bills are not flame resistant, and most of them are not water proof.
Let’s think about what happens when you have multiple wallets (and you will, if you are a Bitcoin user). Managing them may become daunting. I wonder if Bitcoin wallets will become universal, like Email is. Despite having several addresses, we can manage all of them within a single Inbox.
Imagine if we had to keep track of all our email addresses via different Email software for each one. Email would have never taken off as it did. Maybe someone will develop the Email equivalent of a universal cryptocurrency wallet. I think we need that.