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Helpcoin: Bitcoin’s Newest Consulting Company

Op-ed - Helpcoin: Bitcoin’s Newest Consulting Company

While the Bitcoin community has been quick to replicate many industries found in the real world, so far one has been rather lacking: business-to-business services. Bitcoin venture capital has existed in some form for a long time now with various GLBSE-based assets like the (now defunct) LIF-A fund and, more recently, muBit as well as the more professional Islamic Bank of Bitcoin, and many Bitcoin businesses rely on BitPay for their payment processing, but outside of the financial industry business-to-business services have been rather lacking, with only a few abortive attempts in 2011 that even most hardcore Bitcoin users have never even heard of. seeks to change this. The site seeks to do for B2B what Bitmit is doing for auctions and Coindl is seeking to do for digital downloads: do what has already been done before, but do it right.

The site offers support in three areas: consulting, support and marketing. "A lot of sites have attempted to create their own support teams," the site's front page explains, "but end up getting discouraged because of the high overhead." When the Bitcoin community was much smaller than it is now, marketing was not a problem as two forum posts would reach almost everyone. More recently, however, as the Bitcoin forum sees 1500 posts a day establishing a brand name in such a vast swamp is much more difficult, and the barriers to entry have been raised considerably due to the competition. The issue of support has also undone many; it's no longer feasible to see and reply to every forum post as it once was, and in the Bitcoin community a business with inadequate support leads to quick associations with MyBitcoin and scams. As HelpCoin's own website states, "the best form of marketing is customer support." The need for a Bitcoin business to offer professional service and professional support has never been greater, and will only continue to rise, and to that end Helpcoin offers a compelling solution: leave it to the experts.

The business is so far only starting, and as of April 8 its team of experts is only one in number: Stefan Thomas. Nevertheless, his credentials are more than adequate. He is the developer of bitcoinjs, a Javascript Bitcoin library, and WebCoin, a Bitcoin wallet based on bitcoinjs, created WeUseCoins, the famous Bitcoin introductory site and spoke at the Bitcoin Conference in Prague in November. It already boasts two clients: WeUseCoins itself, which uses HelpCoin's live help project, and Coinabul, the Bitcoin gold and silver selling site. As for what happens beyond that, their success or failure hinges on one key factor: as a business that sells not a clear, fungible product for a fixed price but a vaguely defined service where their customers have no idea what to expect, can they create a service that matches the Bitcoin business community's needs and can they convince the Bitcoin community to give them a chance? In short, this budding crew of marketing experts' greatest challenge will be to market themselves.