Combined, smartphones and bitcoin have created a whole new vehicle for sending and receiving money. With the widespread use of smartphones and the increasing popularity of bitcoin, it is not surprising the two have found a way to compliment each other. In fact, smartphones are poised to drive anonymous bitcoin transactions in a massive way.
Welcome to the digital age. With a quick snap of a smartphone camera, QR codes can be scanned from signs, product labels, pieces of paper, computers, TV screens, even clothing. QR codes seem to be popping up more and more, but for a lot of people, they are still somewhat foreign objects.
A QR code (a.k.a “Quick Response” code) is a bar code readable by mobile phones. They can store different types of alphanumeric data such as website URL’s, bitcoin addresses, email addresses, plain text, and phone numbers. While not a new invention, QR codes are becoming increasingly popular with the rise of bitcoin. Since bitcoin is an intangible digital currency, it is easy to see why QR codes are such viable tools for these transactions.
How Smartphones Read QR Codes
A smartphone just needs a camera and QR code reader app installed, and like magic, the mobile device is upgraded to a new world of digital possibilities. What can you do with QR codes? The ways in which this digital technology can be used are almost unlimited. QR codes are not just for sending and receiving bitcoin, they come in handy for quickly navigating web links, promoting fundraising campaigns, or for business applications.
Specific Uses for QR Codes:
- raising money for a cause
- contributing to political parties or campaigns
- engaging TV audiences
- real estate
- paying for advertised items
- parking meters
- redeeming store coupons
- restaurant menus
One example that points to the power of smartphones for driving bitcoin transactions is the Alabama college student who rounded up $24 thousand in anonymous bitcoin donations. In Dec 2013, the student held up this sign asking for bitcoin donations at a sports game aired on ESPN:
The donations flooded in. The student decided to donate 11 BTC, or approximately $11,700 to Sean’s Outpost, a non-profit organization. It is also an example of how smartphones make the process of raising bitcoin donations easier and faster.
Other Ways Smartphones Drive Bitcoin Transactions
Apart from utilizing QR codes, there are several other ways smartphones are being used for bitcoin transactions. Some include bitcoin tipping features, bitcoin mobile payment platforms, and airtime remittance services. ChangeTip is a bitcoin tipping feature that can be used to send bitcoin directly through text messaging or email. BitPay is a mobile payment platform that allows bitcoin transactions using mobile devices. Yet another way we see smartphones driving bitcoin transactions is a service known as Bitrefill. Using Bitrefill mobile airtime remittances can be sent instantly with bitcoin.
What are the coolest uses for QR codes? Let us know in the comments below!