Consumers can now receive bitcoin when they trade in old electronics through a new startup called Mintspare.
Galfry Puechavy, Mintspare’s CEO, told CoinDesk that the company’s goal is to be a simple way to get started with bitcoin:
“It’s just allows people to get in very, very easily. I personally haven’t seen a simpler way to acquire bitcoins,” said Puechavy.
How it works
Mintspare has its own bitcoin wallet that it provides to customers when an account is created. Users choose a device that they want to trade in, select the model and then evaluate its condition.
Mintspare then generates a prepaid shipping label and the user sends it in for BTC. Explained Puechavy:
“When we receive your iPhone or iPad, after verifying and diagnosing it and making sure it’s the right model we just send out your funds to your Mintspare wallet within 24 hours.”
Mintspare’s goal is to introduce newcomers to owning their first bitcoins.
Puechavy believes that the verification procedures required for exchanges “scare” potential bitcoin enthusiasts. Instead, bitcoin for gadgets is an alternative onramp to the crytpocurrency ecosystem Mintspare provides.
Electronics for bitcoin
Mintspare isn’t the only company that takes bitcoin for used devices. Glyde, a Palo Alto-based startup, also pays out in bitcoin for gadgets.
But, Glyde is a marketplace that connects sellers with buyers and also pays out in dollars. Mintspare is a trade-in program focused solely on fueling bitcoin adoption.
“Glyde is a different model than what we have. They still have their purpose, but the main goal of Mintspare is to alleviate the friction of starting with ownership with bitcoin.”
Like Glyde, Mintspare has a referral program. But it’s a bit different: With Glyde, users who refer customers get $5 per sign up. Mintspare’s program is on a sliding scale based on the amount of BTC a user’s trade-ins are worth.
“We have a referral program that we opened up after the beta. Now we’re ready to go full throttle,” Puechavy said.
Values and transparency
Mintspare makes a valuation on used devices based on a number of sources.
It has put together its own proprietary resource that allows the company to determine the dollar value of a gadget. It then converts that to bitcoin. Said Puechavy:
“We have our own database. It comes from multiple sources. We just have an average from those sources that we get our numbers from.”
The company believes that in order to sell the Mintspare idea to prospective users, it is key to provide as much information as possible.
Being a bitcoin-based business means Mintspare has to offer prompt customer engagement and education. Many people are still wary of BTC, so providing a level of comfort is important. Puechavy is aware of this, and told CoinDesk:
“[Mintspare is] very transparent, the entire process. It’s a huge issue.”
More about Mintspare
The company began a private beta one month ago, with limitations on the number of devices that could be sent in, and opened to the public this week.
The startup is a project that Puechavy and a small globally distributed team has been working on for six months.
“Because we deal in bitcoin,we have employees around the world. This is really the first time in the world that you can really seamlessly integrate an international team,” he said.
“There are so many benefits from bitcoin that you don’t realize until you are given the circumstances. This is something impressive,” Puechavy said.
Mintspare signups are now open to anyone who has devices to trade in for bitcoin.
Devices image via Shutterstock