Amidst the various markets that Bitcoin could have a lot of bite, online services are still the best bet and the highly democratized social forum of Reddit might just become one of them, according to news from a discussion thread there. As the site might be insanely popular with almost 3.8 billion pageviews in October, it’s still not quite profitable—the site enables subscriptions (Reddit Gold) and alternative advertisements forwarded by and vetted by the users themselves—and as a result, they’re slowly lurching towards needing traditional advertising.
In order to bring in more revenue, Reddit is seeking alternative sources of funding and more than a little agitation is leaking into the community from r/bitcoin. We’ve seen numerous times in my previous articles on the subject that Bitcoin has more than enough Internet popularity and interest from numerous financial groups to be used as an actual exchange currency.
Reddit CEO Yishan Wong himself appeared in a thread on Reddit speaking to the likelihood that the site might start accepting the cryptocurrency:
Yeah, I’ve been a longtime subscriber to /r/bitcoin and had done a lot of investigation into BTC quite a bit about a year ago before I took the reddit job (on my own, as a subject of interest).
So – no promises, but we’re looking into it.
Right now, Bitcoin has been around long enough that as a technology it’s becoming quite mature. As a business model, however, it’s still foundering even with individuals bringing its use to various national outfits and forwarding it into different markets. Inside the community, Bitcoin works fairly well (aside from its prominent failures); but outside the community its barely known and largely regarded as a fringe fad.
The formation of the Bitcoin Foundation and other PR elements have been attempted to bring attention for the cryptocurrency to the market, but there’s still a lot of other hurdles to overcome. Several of those happen to be escaping from the darknet-only aesthetic that’s been painted on the currency by its niche status—this is exactly what’s attracted the attention of national watchdog groups and the FBI towards its use as a good tool for criminal organizations. This attention isn’t bad per se because it shows that Bitcoin works for its intended function, but it doesn’t make it attractive to popular adoption.
The addition of Reddit accepting Bitcoin for subscriptions, however, will go a very long way for making it obvious that it works as an exchange medium. For a while the EFF even accepted Bitcoins for donation—although they eventually stop accepting the currency citing legal and political reasons for distancing themselves.
Having Reddit take up that mantle will give not just further legitimacy to the using the cryptocurrency, but it will provide added stability to the largely speculative market that the currency exists in. The best way to stabilize the market will be to have numerous vendors begin accepting bitcoins for exchange, but one at a time will not hurt.
In fact, already numerous Redditors have sounded off in the comments that they’ll pledge bitcoins for subscriptions should the site start accepting them. “I will buy 125 reddit gold subscription in bitcoin and donate them to /r/Bitcoin users if and only if Reddit decide to accept bitcoin for every transaction you can make on the site for at least two (2) years,” says FractalGlitch; and “I will buy one with Bitcoin as well if it’s an option. I’ve already profited enough from Bitcoin speculation, and have been saving my remaining coins for actual commerce, exchanging them for goods and services. This would be a perfect opportunity to do so,” says RichochetOtter.
As a result, changes are good there will be a huge glut of Bitcoin use as soon as it becomes available.