You can visit BitcoinStore’s web page right now but they’re still running deep during their beta stage and haven’t kicked in the hype or the advertising—right now over 500,000 electronics products are available for surprisingly low prices all sold for bitcoins. The site has a planned launch date for the ides of January so expect big things from them soon. Recently I had a chance to peruse their online stock and speak with BitcoinStore’s Head of Marketing, Jon Holmquist, about their plans after they’ve fully launched the store and where they expect it to go.
BitcoinStore is the thought-project of major Bitcoin advocate Roger Ver—also sometimes called “Bitcoin Jesus” by his friends—and has had the idea brewing for over a year now. The idea behind the project is to not just provide electronic goods for BTC but also to show the market that it’s possible to make good money trading physical goods with the cryptocurrency. In fact, due to his connections with suppliers and distributors he is able to bring prices to BitcoinStore that will rival even Amazon and NewEgg in prices.
Aside from good relationships with suppliers, Holmquist explains that bitcoins enable a lower overhead in pricing because it’s not possible to do chargebacks once a transaction has been made. As a result, it would greatly lower the incidence of fraud aimed at the retail outlet that could cost them money after a transaction. In order to process transactions in the most painless way possible for customers, BitcoinStore uses BitPay, a preeminent financial exchange service for merchants.
The success of BitcoinStore could even lead shops such as Amazon and NewEgg to look into accepting bitcoins. Although it may not make anyone a billionaire, it could may well be a pivotal case study in giving people a shop that sells a wide variety of products for bitcoins. Already WordPress.com has started accepting BTC for their services and even popular social-media website Reddit is looking into adding it for subscriptions.
On route for a January launch, BitcoinStore is readying its servers for the challenge ahead
The beta has BitcoinStore running on a server that may not be ready to take the onslaught of customers needed to upkeep the venture. Right now they’re looking into moving the site to a much more powerful server or enabling a cloud-based solution that will give them the elasticity to take numerous orders a day. They’re also currently testing the system to weed out all the kinks and greatly increase the customer experience.
Over half a million products are currently available to those interested and buyers can have them shipped via FedEx or USPS—with free shipping over $100 for US domestic orders.
In order to stay afloat, BitcoinStore will need to take a large number of orders a day. The challenge will be more than just getting the servers to handle that many orders—but also to get enough influence and interest in the Bitcoin community as possible to bring in customers.
As a result, Ver and his cohort are calling upon the BTC community to come together to make purchases if they can (and they’ll want to because the cost is tidily low) but more importantly to act as go-betweens for people who otherwise couldn’t use bitcoins or aren’t familiar with the cryptocurrency. With community members acting as money changers to exchange USD for BTC, customers who otherwise wouldn’t be able to take advantage of the lowered prices would be able to on the spot.
Also, doing so would provide a tremendous amount of advocacy for Bitcoin as people who already use bitcoins would become a living example of how to use it to purchase goods.