EasyBitz Makes Bitcoin Easy For Businesses And Consumers
Starting at the beginning of 2014, EasyBitz was formed to help a New York newsstand accept bitcoin. There was no easy way to accept bitcoin so a project was started named EasyBitz to make accepting Bitcoin much easier. Now the company has global ambitions, state of the art interactive maps, and a system which rewards users in bitcoin.
Bitcoin Price Live spoke to EazyBitz co-founder Artur Schaback, an Estonian entrepreneur, living in New York City. We asked Artur 8 questions about how his business is operating and got some very interesting answers.
1) How did you get started with EasyBitz?
Easybitz was started at the beginning of 2014 by Ray when he tried to get his friend with newsstand accept bitcoin. He realized that there wasn’t an easy option to accept bitcoins for merchants on the street so he developed a 0-click system which allows to accept bitcoin without having smartphone nor internet connection, just sms text message is enough.
While Ray was actively building easybitz I met him on bitdevs meetup in NYC and we quickly realized that we both have same mission in mind and decided to join forces.
Retail is very different from tech in general as face time and meeting with merchants is critical. He couldn’t develop a platform and do the footwork necessary to introduce bitcoin to the retail world.
Now easybitz is where it is – bitcoin payment processor with own POS system, 0-click system, dollar conversion, a live retail transaction map and more. We support 89,000 + cities across the world and all fiat currencies.
2) When did you first hear about Bitcoin?
I have heard about bitcoin in around 2012 when my friend was doing some freelance web developement work and was getting paid with bitcoins. I didn’t pay much attention then because I was focused on my student duties and other projects. In 2013 when bitcoin started to gain value and media attention, I finally started researching it and saw it’s potential.
3) EasyBitz seems similar to CoinMap.org, how is your service different? Are they a competitor?
Coinmap is good tool, it has gotten us far and now there is opportunity for the community to advance our tools. I am constantly adding our new merchants to coinmap.org and see that adding new merchants could be much easier. Definitely a simpler UI is needed other than the default openmap interface.
Moreover many of the merchants who are listed on the map are not accepting bitcoin anymore. There is no way to know unless you visit them yourself and by then consumer confidence is lost. We are solving this problem by processing merchant transactions ourselves and sorting merchants on the map by the latest transaction.
4) How do you plan to get merchants to apply to EasyBitz?
We are offering 0% transaction fees, conversion to fiat and sending money to their bank account next business day ( currently USD and USA only ). EasyBitz is much more than a payment processor it is a local payment network. Merchants will be getting free publicity and allowed to advertise their offers for free to whole bitcoin community.
We have a referral program for users so that they can sign up new merchants and earn bits. We don’t take any fees from merchants and we are funding this system with our own bitcoins. We know this is absolutely essential to the health of the ecosytem as a whole. Users climb up the leaderboard for their city everytime they spend bitcoin, invite friends and signup merchants. They also earn bits ( 1/1,000,000th of bitcoin ) that they can spend on any of our merchants. It is bitcoin as a rewards and loyalty program taken to a local level on every city on earth.
5) What role will social media play in your strategy?
We are starting to do bitcoin happy hour and afterhours parties in NYC at our bars, restaurants and nightclubs. We call them Bitcoin Blitzers. No one else was really mobilizing the bitcoin community in the retail space so we started doing it. We’ve gathered a very diverse mix of people outside the tech community, artists, musicans, athletes, models, soccer moms, bikers and everything in between. Our Bitcoin Blitz parties have a very unique energy.
6) You are also the owner of coinback.io which lets you “Be Your Own Bitcoin Exchange”. Can you explain how that works?
The biggest problem in the Bitcoin ecosystem is that not enough people have bitcoins. We need an easy and a simple way and preferably from a friendly trusted face for people to get bitcoins without wiring money to a remote nation or entering online credit card details and waiting a few days. Our experience has shown us that people are willing to pay a premium to buy bitcoin in person, especially for their first time. Merchants are always hungry for new profitable revenue streams as well.
Coinback.io is a win for all parties and has evolved from nine months of working with retail merchants on Bitcoin adoption. With coinback.io you can easily go to your favorite merchant and buy a small amount of bitcoins instantly.
First, merchants can acquire bitcoins by selling his products/services for bitcoin. Merchants bitcoins are not tied to the current bitcoin exchange rate, but have the average of the price he has acquired them at. So when a merchant sells his bitcoins he sees what is his average price and what is the current exchange price. Moreover he can decide premium on bitcoins he is selling. A merchant can send Bitcoin to a customer who has no wallet. All they need is an email address.
Coinback give the merchant a powerful tool that makes tracking profit and sales simple. The merchant has made profit, a customer has just acquired bitcoin from a trusted local source and the ecosystem has grown.
7) Will you be integrating CoinBack and EasyBitz together or do you consider them seperate projects?
We released coinback as open-source because we want to see the bitcoin ecosystem grow. We hope it will be translated to every major language on earth. We welcome seeing the unique problems of merchants around the world and the solutions developers find for them. For this reason we decided to release it as a separate project.
At some point we will merge coinback.io with the current easybitz merchant point of sale. It will be a seamless experience and integrated logically into the point of sale. Merchants will be able to sell bitcoin as they sell a cup of coffee. They will be marked as sellers of bitcoin on our live bitcoin map and will benefit from the publicity it brings.
8) EasyBitz appears to be setup in New York right now, when will you expand to other states or countries?
We are based in New York but are getting merchants sign ups and transactions from all over the world. This month we are opening map for whole world. We will support eighty nine thousand plus cities on earth.
This concludes our interview with EazyBitz co-founder Artur Schaback. We hope you enjoyed learning about EazyBitz. Leave us a comment below if you have any more questions!