Recently, we were asked by bitwhispers.com if we could answer a few questions about our service and about Bitcoin in general. See the exchange below to hear some of our thoughts on recent Bitcoin-related scams and hacks, what we see in store for the future of Bitcoin, and about some of the coals we have in the fire here at Spendabit.
(Unfortunately, since that time, the bitwhispers.com crew seems to have gone AWOL, and their website has not seen any updates — but we thought the “interview” worth posting anyway!)
1. So you are the “search engine” of everything Bitcoin products would this be correct ?
Yes, anything one can purchase using Bitcoin is eligible to be on Spendabit. At present we are focused on e-commerce merchants, but we hope to expand on that in the near future.
2. What is the oddest item you have seen posted as product in your search engine ?
I have seen a number of peculiar things, but I think it's most exciting when I notice someone has entered a search for something which has no meaning to me — only to find we actually have matches for that thing! :-D
3. Where do you see Bitcoin going in 2015 ?
I don't know if we want to get into the business of making predictions, but we do believe that crypto-currency is “an idea whose time has come” and is something that's here to stay.
Personally, I took interest in Bitcoin when it was still relatively “early days” (when BTC still traded in the single digits versus the dollar), so I've seen a number of ‘cycles’. It's possible we're in for a slow year, as far as price and public perception go, but clearly there are a lot of exciting things going on regardless.
And if the price does start to look ‘stable’, that can be a good thing; in the past it has paved the way for another phase of adoption, as people start to perceive a stable price as being less risky.
4. This might be an odd question , but what do you make of Bitcoin scams and hacks of recent and how can we solve these type of issues ?
Well, unfortunately I think you'll always have scammers (no matter how many ‘policies’ or technologies we put in place). Fortunately, I think there are a lot of things that can be done to mitigate both the number of scams and hacks, as well as the amount of damage done when they do occur. Indeed, we're already seeing a lot of encouraging developments in this area.
I think we should seek solutions in two basic areas: education and technology. We need to educate people about the risks, but the technology needs to mature to make risk mitigation easier... Things like easier-to-use multi-signature tools and hardware Bitcoin wallets, just to name a couple, could make for a huge leap in the right direction (and have already begun to).
I am not one that believes (so called) regulation is the solution. Usually people scream for “regulation” when they can't envision more constructive, more creative, and — most likely — more effective ways to solve problems.
It's kind-of disappointing to think that, only a few short years after Bitcoin was created to give us an alternative to the corrupt and highly ‘regulated’ financial system and highly ‘regulated’ monetary system, we already have people calling for the same things that made those systems suck. Satoshi Nakamoto would be ashamed; those that think they know better should try to better understand what he saw as the problem with the legacy system, to the extent that it motivated him enough to create this brilliant alternative.
(Some people like to claim the all of our financial problems, which started to become grossly apparent in 2007/2008, are due to a lack of ‘regulation’. I'm unlikely to convince those folks they're wrong, but I'll just point out that when Mt. Gox went under, that was it; some people were hurt, but the heist does not continue to this day, as it does with the legacy financial system and banking institutions. And many good developments, not related to ‘government’ policy whatsoever, have come in the wake of Mt. Gox, not to mention the effect of people just-plain being more careful with their money/bitcoins.)
5. Do you have any new features coming up down the line ?
Yes, we're working on a number of things! Aside from the constant and ongoing bite-size improvements — like some search speedups we're about to roll out for searches with big result-sets, or the constant addition of new merchants, for example — we've got a few coals in the fire that may be of interest to your readers.
Something relevant to other Bitcoin businesses and community members is our “Search Partners” program. We've already developed an API, as well as a simple embedded-search tool, to allow third parties to integrate our Bitcoin Product Search into their own applications and websites — be it a Bitcoin wallet app, a directory service, or a simple blog. With this, fellow Bitcoiners can help us show the world how Bitcoin is useful for purchasing just about anything, and they can earn money doing it. We still need to develop formal documentation, but anyone interested should feel free to get in touch.
Another thing worth mention, of interest to any Bitcoin-enabled merchants or service providers, is our Merchant Suite. This is a program not only to help merchants get their products added to our search-engine, but to help them ensure their products are listed fully and accurately and that they show up for all relevant keywords when users search on our site (plus a few other features/perks are included).
And of course, we will continue to expand the number of products and merchants we aggregate, expand our region support to include more countries across the globe, and improve the speed and search result-relevance of our search engine.