Bitcoin is now six years old, but the general public still doesn’t see much use for the digital currency. Up to this point, the main use case for someone who isn’t trying to purchase pot from an anonymous vendor online has been as a store of value. In other words, they see the potential behind the bitcoin blockchain, and they understand that the utility value of bitcoins could make them a sort of “gold 2.0.”
It seems that 2015 could be the year that we begin to see more mainstream use cases for bitcoin. One of those use cases comes in the form of streamlined 20 percent discounts on Amazon through the combination of Purse and Coinbase.
[Read More: Bitcoin: “The Perfect Gold”]
How does it work?
Purse is a company that has become rather well-known in the bitcoin community, but it’s also an idea that could reach a much broader audience. The concept is rather simple. Purse’s platform connects people who wish to buy something on Amazon with individuals who wish to purchase some bitcoins with Amazon credit or a credit card. For a variety of reasons, the individual purchasing the bitcoins is usually willing to pay a high premium for the cryptocurrency. The end result is an 8 to 35 percent discount on Amazon products for the individual selling the bitcoins.
Too good to be true?
The first thing that many potential users point out when they hear about Purse is that the website must be overrun with fraudsters. Surprisingly, this hasn’t been much of an issue for the San Francisco-based startup. The company claims there were only four transactions that went sour in 2014. Instead of credit card thieves, Purse’s Ashkan Motamedi claims there are actually a few different sets of people who use the platform to purchase bitcoin. Some of those groups of users include:
- Amazon Mechanical Turk workers
- Amazon Affiliates users
- Individuals with gift cards that they wish to trade for bitcoin
- Bitcoin enthusiasts in countries with no exchange access
There are obviously other types of Purse users too, but these few examples should be able to show that there are concrete reasons for individuals to purchase bitcoins through Purse at a high premium.
[Read More: Where are Bitcoin’s Killer Apps?]
Becoming more seamless in the future
The recent Coinbase integration is what could really take Purse’s platform to the next level. They’re basically taking more steps out of the process of going from a debit card or bank account to a discounted Amazon order. If a user has a prepared order on Purse, they could now instantly purchase bitcoin via Coinbase (as long as they have the proper level of verification), and then confirm their Purse order with the click of a button. “We are working towards making the buying process as easy as Amazon, but then having the big savings on top of it,” said Motamedi, who takes care of business development and marketing for Purse. The company plans to integrate additional features to make the platform more seamless for both buyers and sellers in the future. For now, it will be interesting to see if the savings offered by Purse are large enough to attract new users to bitcoin.
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