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Coinbase Launches 'One-Click' Bitcoin Tipping Tool

(@pete_rizzo_) | Published on November 18, 2014 at 14:23 BST

Coinbase, tipping

Coinbase has officially launched a new micropayments tool that aims to provide websites and blogs with the ability to bolster revenue through online donations.

Called Coinbase Tip, the feature enables the bitcoin services provider’s wallet users to send micropayments to web publishers with just one click.

To begin, the feature will be added to a host of popular blogs, including those penned by television personality Adam Carolla and bitcoin VC Fred Wilson.

Speaking to CoinDesk, Coinbase CEO and co-founder Brian Armstrong acknowledged the recent upswing in interest surrounding bitcoin micropayments, praising the already popular micropayments tool ChangeTip as a complementary solution that his company frequently recommends.

Together, Armstrong asserted, such services can enable the bitcoin community to attract more mainstream users, while providing new evidence of just one of the technology’s many use cases.

Armstrong said:

”We believe there is a new micropayments economy, the beginning of which you’re just seeing and I think it’s significant because this business model just wasn’t really possible before bitcoin.”

One-click tipping will need to first be enabled by Coinbase Tip users, who must authorize the functionality. Bitcoin tips completed via the service are set by default to 300 bits (roughly 10 US cents), but can be adjusted to be as low as 1 cent.

Coinbase indicated that all tipping will be completed off blockchain and that it will pay the associated miners’ fees on all transactions.

Bitcoin’s network effect

Armstrong said that Coinbase Tip is just one way that his company is seeking to move bitcoin closer to the mainstream, asserting his belief that the tip buttons will help consumers become gradually more aware of bitcoin.

Key to this movement, Armstrong said, will be the use of Coinbase Tip donation buttons on websites that reach beyond popular bitcoin destinations, such as those his company has partnered with for the feature’s launch.

Armstrong acknowledged that consumers are unlikely to flock to the donation button immediately, and that many will likely gloss over the latest addition to their favorite website.

However, he voiced optimism that such a feature would serve as a daily reminder about the technology, explaining:

"The third or fourth time a friend mentions something about bitcoin, that’s where you reach that critical mass of awareness where they’re saying, 'Maybe I’m missing out on something if I don’t know what this bitcoin thing is'."

Complicating factors

Armstrong stressed that Coinbase Tip will also function differently depending on how users choose to interact with the service.

For example, while Coinbase wallet users will be able to enable one-click tipping, those who use third-party wallets with Coinbase Tip will need to navigate additional steps.

Despite instilling the service with this competitive advantage, Armstrong stressed that his company isn’t trying to compete with other tipping solutions, such as those provided by rival wallet provider Xapo, arguing that his company’s main goal is to see bitcoin succeed.

“We don’t look at what the competition does around these things,” Armstrong said. “If we can help the bitcoin ecosystem overall, that’s probably where we most want to focus.”

Micropayments take center stage

The latest product from Coinbase also comes at a time when bitcoin tipping is becoming more widespread in the community, with a number of recent articles pointing to alleged uptakes in the use of the platform ChangeTip.

The new grassroots momentum for the service also followed the healthy, $445,000 funding round garnered by dogecoin micropayments tool Dogetipbot.

Armstrong chooses to see these events as part of a broader trend, one he hopes will encourage the wider online community to adopt new behaviors that allow for more sustainable content production.

"Instead of giving them a thumbs up or emoji icons, it will be more like a thumbs up with a tiny cash payment along with it," he explained.

Images via Coinbase; Shutterstock

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