The number of physical locations that accept bitcoin has rocketed, according to statistics from Coinmap.org's crowdsourced map.
These statistics are based on the map's total number of entries, which is displayed publicly on the site. Sylvain said:
All entries on CoinMap are crowdsourced: added either by users who are interested in populating the map, or by bitcoin merchants themselves. For example, a recent addition to CoinMap was VJLoops, a design studio in Valencia. The studio started accepting bitcoins a month ago.
"I believe [CoinMap] is useful, but at the moment it's too early to tell if customers have found me [using CoinMap]," said Kyle Lyons, VJLoops' owner.
Sylvain contacted Rusnak in September, taking it upon himself to promote the site on bitcoin forums and meet-ups in Vancouver. According to him, there were around 200 entries in September.
The number of entries on CoinMap began growing rapidly in October and this has continued into November, Sylvain said. He added:
CoinMap's interface is minimalist. The navigational tools only allow users to move around or zoom in and out of the map. Additionally, there is no search field for specific cities or countries. Instead, users must move the map to their desired location to find businesses that accept bitcoin there.
When the magnification level is sufficiently low, cities will display a green circle that totals the number of entries in that city. Once this circle is clicked, a fairly slick animation increases magnification to reveal all the entries within that city.
Each entry is denoted by a bitcoin icon. If an entry is clicked, a dialogue bubble appears displaying the name of the business, its website and phone number.
Five contributors have worked on the code so far, although the vast majority of CoinMap's code has been written by Rusnak. Rusnak said that CoinMap may be monetised in future.
"I have some ideas for monetization and I realize that CoinMap could be improved significantly if we could afford an extra developer to work on it," he said.
Unlike CoinMap, useBitcoins.info is built on Google Maps, the search giant's proprietary map platform. The site also carries banner advertisements, although it's unclear if it charges for them. The site's owner has not yet responded to an email seeking clarification at presstime.
Sylvain is an employee at Paradox BTC, a bitcoin exchange based in British Columbia, Canada. He found his way into bitcoin after two years working in a Canadian oil field, operating drilling equipment on the rig. He commented:
Sylvain spent his time in the oil fields researching Tesla Motors, eventually buying stock and turning a profit which he then ploughed into bitcoin.
"CoinMap doesn't look that good, but it's simple. People go on it, look for a place, and there's nothing else they do," he said. "It's probably the optimal way because it's so simple right now."
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