Saturday, April 20, 2013

No More Ads, Send Tips with Bitcoin

Summary: ads are gone, send me bitcoin to say thanks instead.

I have always kept notes for myself to remind myself how to do various things. I have also kept a journal since a very young age where I often include opinions and thoughts on various matters. At some point, years ago, I got the idea that I should post some of the notes and thoughts in case they would help someone else. That requires a lot more work than just typing stuff quickly into a text file, though, so I needed a little more motivation. I mean, sharing and helping others is great motivation, but when I read about Adsense from Google, and how Google could show people links to products and services related to my posts, and I could make a few bucks if people thought those links were useful and clicked on them, and how it could help out the people providing those products and services as well, it felt like this great intertwined synergy of helping people out and possibly even gaining some monetary reward as well. And it sort of worked. I put some effort into this blog and my Adsense account started slowly accumulating some credits.

The one downside was, well, advertising. It's often more annoying than helpful. Google's adds were the least annoying I've seen, but still not always that great. To be honest, this blog isn't updated enough and isn't high traffic enough that I'm really sending a lot of business anyone's way, and I'm not making any kind of real money at all with the adds. I've thought about this on and off over the years, but haven't changed anything, until now. What happened is, I finally read up on this crazy thing I'd seen mentioned on Slashdot and Hacker News called bitcoin.

The notion of a digital currency seemed ludicrous when I first read headlines and article summaries about it, and so I ignored it for a while. Now, the more I read about it, the more it makes sense, and the more excited I get about it. You really should go to We Use Coins and learn more, they can explain it better than me. The relevant part of bitcoin to this post is that it is super easy to send money from one person to another with bitcoin. No banks, escrow services, or credit cards are required. If you want to donate money to me to say thank you it's as simple as firing up your bitcoin wallet software and sending coins to this address: 15RNcXeuhjQRKnfLGyVZxpeER8MUmrYLMq (UPDATE, I closed this wallet, but the concept is still valid!). It's a lot like cash that way, only you don't have be standing next to the person you want to pay in order to make the transaction. Way cool. Liberating, in fact. That's what really appeals to me. The lack of central control, and the ease and freedom it provides. Nothing crazy about that.

Now, I didn't just put that bitcoin address in the sidebar of my blog, I used a Coinbase payment button. Coinbase is an online wallet, which is a little more convenient (but less decentralized and free) than running the bitcoin software on your own machine (of course, you can do both). The cool thing the button of theirs provides is a unique bitcoin address for every transaction. That just makes the payments more anonymous. I could have written software to generate those addresses and the button myself, but I'm OK with letting them handle that for me. At least for now as I'm testing the bitcoin waters.

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