Raising 31 BTC / 9200 USD to finish the "Bitcoin Box", a point of sale terminal based on a Raspberry Pi. It supports NFC and offline payments and also displays QR codes. The funds will be used to complete the software and release it as open source, provide build instructions for the box and engage in standardization work where necessary.
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You are walking into a small coffee shop. Credit cards are not accepted here, because of high processing fees, but this shop did make the one-time purchase of a piece of commodity hardware - a small box which sits next to the cash register. “I’d like to pay with Bitcoin please”, you say and after another button press on the cash register the box comes to life. You tap your phone on it, confirm the payment details in your favorite wallet and moments later the merchant sees your payment. You are done and enjoy your coffee!
I hope I can get your support to finish the first step of this vision: Build that small box - the "Bitcoin Box". It will be a standalone device at first, but with a focus on making integration with cash registers easier down the line.
Most Bitcoin point of sale solutions are software-only, usually targeting Android devices. This makes sense in many situations, as Android phones are cheap and ubiquitous. But having to support a mix of devices makes it hard to really optimize the process. In many cases the state of the art still is displaying QR codes of Bitcoin addresses and listening for unreliable broadcasts on the Bitcoin network. NFC is an especially weak point, as low-end devices either do not have it or the antenna is inconveniently located for a checkout situation. All this often ultimately results in the impression that Bitcoin is a clunky way to pay in person.
I feel it would therefore be beneficial to have a "reference system" of sorts, which implements all best practices, all the latest standards and invents them where they are still missing. The aim is to showcase how fast, reliable and convenient a Bitcoin payment can be.
On top of that, one additional important advantage of the Raspberry Pi is that it has an Ethernet port, which will make it possible to connect it to cash registers. This kind of integration will not be part of this crowdfunding round, but it would be the next logical step.
The video above shows the current state of the Bitcoin Box. It is a standalone Bitcoin point of sale terminal, which is build around NFC to provide contactless payments and also displays QR codes alongside. It increases reliability of in-person payments, by allowing wallets to send payment via Bluetooth. As a result, wallets can even be completely offline and still be able to complete a transaction. The box makes use of BitPay's service to provide merchants with payout in various currencies, including bitcoin.
My name is Jan Vornberger, I have been interested in Bitcoin point of sale solutions since 2011, when I released one of the first prototypes in that area as open source. I was the founder of Instawallet and Bridgewalker (precursor to Bitreserve/Coinlock), coined the term 'green address' and do Android development for Hive. I believe that I bring the necessary skills and connections within the Bitcoin community to the table to successfully complete this project.
Lighthouse is a new approach to all-or-nothing fundraising directly on the blockchain. Using advanced features of the Bitcoin protocol, it is now possible to create Kickstarter-style fundraising initiatives without the need for a middleman. Instead, the Lighthouse software allows you to create special Bitcoin transactions that are only valid if enough other people also contribute.
In that way, you remain in full control over your funds, up until the moment the project is fully funded. Before that point is reached, pledges can be undone at any time without the involvement of the project creator.
Unlike other crowdfunding platforms, Lighthouse is not a company, website or service. It is an open source desktop app you can download and run. You are always in control of your own money and fundraisers.
Follow these steps to pledge via Lighthouse:
I hope that with your help this project can be realized! Lighthouse fundraising does not have an end date by default, but I would like to let the campaign run only until April 10, 2015 to have a clear cut-off date. It would be great if you could maintain your pledge until then. Thank you for your contribution!
The campaign was unfortunately unsuccessful. As I occasionally get asked about it, I have decided to open source the half-finished prototype that can be seen in the video. The code can be found on GitHub.