The Bitcoin community’s largest electronics retailer, the Bitcoin Store, has announced that it is exiting beta and formally launching its business. The Bitcoin Store offers hundreds of thousands of different electronics products for sale, and since the site’s first beta launch in November its main attraction has been low prices; in fact, the Bitcoin Store’s prices were even cheaper than those available at major retailers like Amazon and NewEgg. Roger Ver’s announcement in November provided some examples: a 60-inch TV which can be found on Amazon for $1,397.99, NewEgg for $1,437.99 but on the Bitcoin Store costs only $1,367.48, a laptop whose Amazon price of $2,266.66 and NewEgg price of $2,317.00 is beaten considerably by the Bitcoin Store’s price of $1985.51, and a laser printer which costs $202.01 on Amazon, $204.99 on NewEgg but $175.66 on the Bitcoin Store. Additionally, within the US, on all products above $100, shipping is always free.
The Bitcoin Store’s low prices are made possible by Bitcoin’s unique properties of no chargebacks and minimal fees; businesses accepting Bitcoin as payment can avoid paying the 2.9% credit card and Paypal fees that merchants using more traditional methods of online payment incur, and credit card chargebacks, which cost some businesses as much as 2-10% of revenue. By not accepting credit cards and Paypal at all, the Bitcoin Store passes on its savings from using Bitcoin to its customers. Also, thanks to the efforts of Bitcoin Store founder Roger Ver, the Bitcoin Store has secured a deal with wholesalers that allows the store to buy electronics at the lowest possible prices. However, the deal requires the store to maintain a high volume in order to be able to maintain these discounts – specifically, $800,000 in the next month. An audacious target, the Bitcoin Store’s Jon Holmquist admits, but they hope that with the Bitcoin community’s support, and with the 0% markup offer for the next month, Holmquist and Ver just might be able to achieve it. Additionally, large-scale marketing for the Bitcoin Store will finally begin, hopefully bringing in a large volume of new customers to both the store and to Bitcoin itself.
If the Bitcoin Store succeeds in securing enough volume to keep its discounts, it will serve as a prime example showing merchants across industry boundaries all around the world the possibilities that Bitcoin offers. Bitcoin’s microtransaction, instant payment and privacy features are already well exhibited by services such as Coindl, Bitcointip, SatoshiDice and anonymous VPN provider Private Internet Access, but so far, aside from perhaps Bitcoin Wireless, there is no major business effectively showing off how Bitcoin can be used to save money on chargebacks and fees. Now, with the Bitcoin Store, there will be one. “With the big news of WordPress and Reddit accepting Bitcoin,” the Bitcoin Store’s press release reads, “a question arises. Will the headlines soon read of Bitcoin adoption at Amazon and Newegg?”
Vitalik Buterin is a co-founder of Bitcoin Magazine who has been involved in the Bitcoin community since 2011, and has contributed to Bitcoin both as a writer and the developer of a fork of bitcoinjs-lib, pybitcointools and multisig.info, as well as one of the developers behind Egora. Now, Vitalik's primary job is as the main developer of Ethereum, a project which intends to create a next-generation smart contract and decentralized application platform that allows people to create any kind of decentralized application on top of a blockchain that can be imagined.