On Saturday we partnered with Grumpy’s Green and Touch Records to launch The Broken Needle’s Vinyl, “Holy Coast”, for bitcoin. It was a massive night for all involved, and we got to have some fun, set up wallets and pay for our drinks with bitcoin.
CoinJar helped the bands manage their merchandise table, and set everyone up with wallets loaded with 20mBTC to go buy a drink. Grumpy’s Green were also doing half price wings and pints if you paid with bitcoin, so a lot of bitcoin beginners became pros very quickly.
Why sell records?
We thought this would be a great event to be involved with because it would take us out of the normal demographics we engage with (often very tech savvy, and usually exposed to bitcoin in some way). It was also an opportunity to demonstrate the transactional nature of the currency in a real setting. While it is nerve wracking dropping 20mBTC in someone’s wallet and then sending them on their way, people can get very tech savvy when there’s a free drink involved. We also love doing whatever we can to support local businesses and the arts in our home town. On top of that, who doesn’t like having a drink and seeing a band every so often? It was certainly a nice change to conferences and trade shows.
Giving out bitcoin
Sam had his trusty laptop, and was setting people up with CoinJar wallets, crediting their accounts, handing out packs all whilst demoing his Oculus. In the end everyone got their bitcoin beer. We were also a bit worried about how the bar staff would cope, but there weren’t any hiccups and thanks to DC POS their transactions were as simple, if not simpler, as a traditional card payment (and certainly more hygienic than cash).
Obviously the bands were great and all very passionate about their craft. For musicians, the current payment system is a broken model. They sell a truly borderless product, however are forced to go through the various third party processors who take their cut to exchange goods for value globally. The way musicians disseminate content and get rewarded for it needs to change, and traditional money just can’t keep up. So when the guys from the bands got their heads around the technology they all started getting pretty excited.
With bitcoin there isn’t really a huge level of abstraction between the user and the protocol. In every other financial system there are layers of ‘apps’ built on the stack. So by the time a user interacts with money they’ve had the features distilled and the grunt work done. We’re still at the ‘IP addresses and manual connection’ days if you make a correlation to the history of the internet. The fact that a consumer is able to transact at all on mobile with virtually no setup is a testament to the work we’ve done as a community already.