Open Source All The Things

Well friends, the experiment is winding down​, and it’s a good thing!

What ​does this mean?  The little operation ​known as CryptoPrinting ​will be closing its e-doors as of this post (there are no orders pending).  

We are doing this in the spirit of victory because:

  1. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are gaining enough general acceptance that our service is no longer needed.  It is only a matter of time until iShapeways accepts BTC.
  2. Others with 3D printing experience and a willingness to take these new forms of payment are now everywhere!  In addition to those selling filament (Techpaladin and Protoparadigm being some of the first), there are now a number of other suppliers who can provide all of the components you need for your own 3D printer for BTC (shoutouts go to Makergeeks and Ultimachine in this regard).  Surely more and more of these will pop up over time.
  3. As open source is what allowed the little experiment you are viewing now, we wanted to make sure to open up the method for making NFC-enabled tokens.  It’s not hard, but in case you weren’t sure how to go about it:

How to make your own 3D printed NFC-enabled stuff:

  1. Make sure you have an STL model whose size (and printing orientation) will allow an NFC sticker to be enclosed entirely within the part.
  2. Slice your STL, preferably with 2 solid layers prior to the generation of infill.  You will place the NFC tag onto these solid layers before the infill layers start.
  3. Go into your G-Code, finding the ‘Z up’ move which defines the beginning of your first infill layer.  You want to add two things to your G-Code:
    A)  An offset in position so that you can access the part.  Typically I just copy the last G1 command before the layer change, adding 50-100mm to the last y coordinate displayed.  This will move the part away from the extruder.
    B)  A pause so that you can insert the NFC tag.  5-7 seconds should be enough.  
  4. With your modified GCode, you should be able to watch your print with NFC sticker in-hand, waiting for the special offset command and the pause.  If you can place the NFC tag inside the part in the time defined, it will move back and begin printing on top of the tag.  From this point on, it’s just a normal 3D print! (or so it would appear).

Note: Using very thin layer heights may be problematic.  You might prefer something in the 0.2 – 0.35 mm range.  Thinner layers should only be attempted after the process is understood.


Donation Considerations:

There once was some discussion of accepting donations if there seemed to be enough reason for it.  ​Ultimately, there was no ​ethical justification for requesting donations from anything operating like a business.  ​Now that we’ve given away what little IP we might have had for general use, we feel justified in posting a donation address (though we have no expectations in this regard).  Please donate here if you feel so inclined:

161Sj1RNPjV4fMMZpWrgq1LYNEXWRePZLA

Future efforts of venture altruism will continue in the spirit of open sourcing all the things.  We will keep our presence on Twitter — @3DP4BTC.  If you have a need you think we might address, please feel free to reach out.

Thanks for everything!
–CryptoPrinting

Now Accepting Dogecoin!

Good news, everyone!

Today we are announcing two things:

First, we are now accepting Dogecoin for our 3D printing services.  If there’s something you want such as a cover for your Google Glass camera (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:182763), or a stand for your Google Glass(http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:118339), or something which doesn’t at all relate to that product at all –  we now quote prices in Dogecoin!  (Yes, we still take BTC and LTC).  Much additive manufacturing!  Such adoption!

Dogecoin-NASA

For over a year, CryptoPrinting has seen steady interest, which we have been able to service without scaling: If many orders and requests arrive, we will likely have to start a waiting list until we can scale up to deal with demand. (I say this particularly for the benefit of our BTC and LTC customers who may have come to expect fast service, which I would not want to give up providing. The second announcement is regarding #Dogetags!  Yes, we are working to develop an NFC-capable Dogecoin simulacrum, which you can use to do all of the things you could do with our water-resistant NFC tags, such as:

  • Store your private keys (wrap it in foil to prevent stray scanning)!
  • Store a single private key and become your own bank;
  • Store your public address so that others can scan it to pay you;
  • Theoretically you might store a variety of public addresses for different coins, so that people can pay with what they wish (still looking into this).

Additionally, we realized that you could use CryptoPrinting’s #Dogetags as real-world dogtags and store your contact info on a little 3D printed tag attached to all your canine pals!  Or use your dog as your bank and keep the private key on him!  You do what you want to do with it; out-of-the-box thinking encouraged.  Very printed, much wow!

Since we’ve already received positive responses about this idea, we’d like to get serious about it. This is where some community involvement would be great because:

1. For something like this to be useful to people who are trying to use them to keep their pets safe/have their pets returned promptly, we would need some kind of awareness campaign to make sure people recognize these tags and are aware that their NFC capable smartphones can retrieve the dog owner’s data.  We need a little bit of assistance spreading the broader idea of this #Dogetag project, which will hopefully be an open source, decentralized, opt-in, pet identification system.  Please join in on the conversation here: http://www.reddit.com/r/dogetag

2.  We need to choose a consistent model or models to help facilitate #1, which we could make a fun contest out of.  There are a few Dogecoin models on Thingiverse but they all have different problems, either in their design, or some kind of non-manifold STL, which resists repair. If there’s anyone experienced with running a fair crypto-driven contest, we would like some input on how to do it well. Model Design requirements: We need a recognizable coin with a hole in it, which is sized to allow an NFC tag to be inserted during printed without overlapping the hole.  In general our other coins are around ~3.8cm in diameter, for comparison.

3.  I cannot possibly supply the larger needs of pet lovers alone should this catch on.  In an effort to deal with this proactively, while also celebrating one year of operation, I will be open sourcing the NFC coin-making process, hopefully giving anyone with access to NFC stickers and a 3D printer the tools required to make their own #Dogetags.

Here’s the plan:

1. We need to solve the 3D model/STL problem first through the design contest.  I’d like to make it as democratic as possible with rewards going to the winning designer, but if we can reward all participants – great!

2.  Once the model is chosen and I’ve made sure that the NFC/printing part is working, the open sourcing of the process will be developed so that others can make their own coins.  From there on out it’s mostly an information campaign “If you find a dog with this on, scan it and return them please!”  Anyone who wants one can make their own, and those who want to purchase one are welcome to do so.

3.  After that point, CryptoPrinting will take orders until I’m booked solid, then I’ll start looking to scale our local operation, build a more distributed printing network as needed, or otherwise rely on people to create their own #Dogetags.  Such a network would also need some decentralized reputation network to build off of, which I’m not sure exists yet.  Either way, very excite!  Much opportunity!

 It’s a brave new world in Cryptoland!
-CryptoPrinting

NFC+BTC Protips

Dear Cryptofriends,
I wanted to pass some information along that will be useful to you and anyone else who happens to want to use our NFC for Bitcoin/altcoin related purposes (particularly putting a public address on an NFC tag for others to pay to).
Unfortunately, with the closure of BitMit and a slapdash attitude toward record keeping on my part, a large fraction of my customer’s email addresses have been lost (if I ever had access to them in the first place).  I like to think that this shows I’m not the kind of person to hoard your private information, as opposed to revealing that I am a scientist/engineer trying to play business-creature, but take it as you will.  The practical result of this is that it is difficult to communicate privately with all of our past customers and we think this information is worth sharing more broadly anyway.
If you find the information valuable, please consider tipping the OP, whose address is listed in the reddit post.
All the best,
CryptoPrinting

3D Printing At Large: Needs vs. Wants

As Additive Manufacturing (AM) technologies like 3D printing continue to gain attention worldwide, the number of people researching how these technologies can assist their manufacturing needs increases every day.  Through my experience of manufacturing all of CryptoPrinting’s 3D prints – and through other professional AM experiences – I have had the opportunity to learn a lot and offer engineering advice to problem solvers of varying backgrounds.  This post aims to orient newcomers by helping them understand some of the different AM and 3D printing applications currently available.

Need vs. Want

While there is a ton of hope and hype around AM, the quantity and variety of additive manufacturing processes and 3D printers currently available makes investigating the benefits of AM confusing for anyone not familiar with the field.  Some articles will tell you that AM is the wonder-technology of the future, leading many to conclude that it will solve some need that they have.  Realistically, when 3D printing XYZ does not immediately solve the problem at hand, researching it can easily distract you from achieving what you were really hoping to accomplish.  This is particularly true if you don’t have your own 3D printer and want to see what other options are available for your AM needs.

Current 3D printers have limitations, including those of cost.  Sometimes AM isn’t the answer, particularly if there is a another method, which may be cheaper, faster, simpler, or smarter for engineering reasons.  Maslow’s Hammer (a.k.a The Law of the Instrument), or “the over-reliance on a familiar tool,” is worth considering here.  For CryptoPrinting in particular, “engineering reasons” has translated into having consulted several potential customers toward other means of production because the process at hand was not suitable for their application.  As a result, we would like to address the issue by providing the following 3D printing checklist:

3D Printing Checklist

If you are thinking about using 3D printing for some application (even if it’s not an order with us), please make sure that you’ve considered the following points:

1. Does your design really require 3D printing to make? 

Artistic works might require it, but certain engineering projects can be handled in other ways.

  • Do you want us to print a flat plate?  You might be better served by buying a polycarbonate sheet instead.
  • Do you want a 2×4 with holes in it?  You’d be better off with a drill press and a block of wood.

2. Which printing process is most suitable for your application? 

Each application has its own constraints and sometimes those constraints rule out certain means of manufacture:

  • Does it need to be securely watertight?  Don’t use ZCorps ceramic then, it will probably dissolve over time (I believe Shapeways lists this as natural or full color ‘sandstone’). You probably won’t want to use FDM/FFF processes (what we use) either, as some extra effort will probably be required to seal the bottom surface.
  • Does it need to withstand a certain temperature?  We are printing in thermoplastics which soften above 150C, so you’d better not want it to operate anywhere near there.
  • Does it need to be metal?  If so, hopefully you work for a major corporation, as the selective laser melting process (and other metals AM methods) are not currently priced for personal use like the polymer systems are.  That being said, there are reports of metal parts cast using a lost PLA method, so the crafty among us might use this method to bootstrap to metal parts.

3. Given an acceptable process, is your design optimized for that process? 

This is the hardest question to give a definitive answer to, and one which even educational institutions strain to incorporate into current curricula.  Design for manufacture has long been a topic of interest, but it was generally focused on other methods (like injection molding) and subtractive processes (e.g. How do you design for CNC milling?), and there’s no textbook for designing for AM that I can point you to, so it’s worth thinking about a few key things:

  • Overhang limitations vary from process to process and the precision and feature size limitations are important to consider as well.
  • Most printers are actually capable of positioning accuracies smaller than their minimum feature size.  For example, a RepRap can position to 0.1mm, but the nozzle is typically 0.35-0.5mm in diameter.  In practice, this means that subtle surface features on solid bodies less than the nozzle diameter are retained, but free standing features (like little pillars for example), should be some multiple of the nozzle width to have any strength.  Certain parts of artistic pieces may attempt to violate this rule, but their results will vary.

It is hoped that this post might help guide at least a few, as the general principles should still apply as Additive Manufacturing continues to grow and evolve.  Please post your comments, observations, and suggestions below!

Bitcoin without BitPay

Bitcoin without BitPay

CryptoPrinting (a.k.a. 3DP 4 BTC) is no longer accepting Bitcoin payments via BitPay.  We would like to take a minute to explain this change.

Let us start off by commending BitPay for the service they provide.  For those who want to accept bitcoin without having to hold bitcoin – or otherwise deal with the legal uncertainties associated with it – BitPay surely is a useful service.  We still support both BitPay and the brick and mortar services that use it.

That being said, CryptoPrinting was started with cryptocurrencies in mind – without any intention of accepting fiat at any point.  It was never intended to replace our day jobs, nor could it.  For a service like ours, BitPay lessens the impact of using Bitcoin as a payment solution by adding unneeded fees.

BitPay operates by taking a small fee from each transaction.  However, their payout process typically takes longer than it takes us to fulfill each order.  It also acts as a communication barrier between us and our customers since we need certain customization info like the type of NFC tags desired in order to fulfill orders.  Finally, BitPay does not provide escrow, so your trust in our service is still needed.

As we continue our search for alternative escrow solutions, we ask that you please contact us directly for negotiation and payment: [email protected]  Thanks!!

CryptoPrinting’s Positive BitMit Feedback

BitMit CryptoPrinting (1)

While CryptoPrinting has always been open to users submitting 3D printable designs, our NFC-enhanced simulacra have been useful for getting our name into the cryptocoin space.  Bitmit in particular has been a strong source of sales and feedback from our start in late February, 2013.

With Bitmit closing down, we thought it might be worth publicly posting our 100% positive feedback record for posterity, as what is currently publicly available information will soon be turned to digital dust.  Since BitPay has no escrow option, trust is needed more than ever for those ordering directly with us for the first time.  We’d like to point out that we’ve tried to make maintaining that trust a priority through our service record.

If you have any suggestions on how to keep improving our services, or have a suggested replacement venue with features comparable to Bitmit, please post your thoughts below.

Your feedback profile

Positive
Real neat! Thank you! BitcoinRecommended.com
3D printed BTC and LTC Simulacra pair/set (one of each)
moderats (+9 | ↑)

Buyer
2013-10-08

Positive
Excellent customer! GBTC (+478 | ↑)

Seller
2013-05-26

Positive
Great Seller! Fast communication, will buy again.
3D Printed Raspberry Pi Case
trendsetter37 (+15| ↑)

Buyer
2013-05-08

Positive
very fast shipping, fascinating product
3D printed BTC and LTC Simulacra pair/set (one of each)
swgutkind (+24 | ↑)

Buyer
2013-05-01

Positive
My order came in very quickly and was exactly as described. Excellent seller, would recommend!!
3D Printed NFC enabled Bitcoin Simulacra
halfprice06 (+1 | ↑)

Buyer
2013-04-23

Positive
Very smooth transaction. Seller had great communication and shipped quickly. Thanks!
3D Printed NFC enabled Bitcoin Simulacra
cheeser180 (+1 | ↑)

Buyer
2013-04-22

Positive
Great seller! Quick shipment. Excellent communication. A+
3D Printed NFC enabled Bitcoin Simulacra
Immuzikation (+6 | ↑)

Buyer
2013-04-22

Positive
Great seller!
3D Printed NFC enabled Bitcoin Simulacra
sims562 (+43 | ↑)

Buyer
2013-04-18

Positive
Very cool, got to me really quick also!
3D Printed NFC enabled Bitcoin Simulacra
opops (+1 | ↑)

Buyer
2013-04-17

Positive
Sorry, I forgot to check this out of escrow. Terrific product, excited to have them!
3D Printed NFC enabled Bitcoin Simulacra
gsukenik (+1 | ↑)

Buyer
2013-03-27

Positive
These came out great. Some of the best Bitcoin stuff I’ve received.
3D Printed NFC enabled Bitcoin Simulacra
weex (+7 | ↑)

Buyer
2013-03-26

Positive
Order arrived quickly and as described. This is truly a unique piece of history.
3D printed, NFC enabled, Bitcoin Simulacra (Mifare Classic 1k)
*** (+3 | ↑)

Buyer
2013-03-15

 

CryptoPrinting Summer Update

Hi there! We’ve been a bit busy lately, but wanted to remind everyone that we are still alive and printing!

So, in the spirit of 3D printing awesomeness, here are some awesome 3D printing events to grease your thought engines!

Future Possibilities (Patent expiration, Printing in Space, and Printing in Fashion):

This article essentially describes our NFC embedding process (something we were doing several months before Phys.org published the article):

Is UPS our new competition? (As though we needed more!):

Could we print graphene?  Perhaps:
http://www.3dprinter-world.com/article/3d-printing-with-graphene-horizon

It is important to consider the safety element, though we’ve not noticed any problems from breathing PLA fumes:

Not quite 3D printing, but fun:

A powerful new tool for design of ‘living’ sculptures:

Useful guide for those looking to build their own Prusa:

The latest (greatest?) RepRap iteration:

RepRap Morgan

CryptoJunky Review: 3D Printing For Bitcoin – Combining Disruptive Technologies

3D Printing For Bitcoin – Combining Disruptive TechnologiesWhat happens when you combine two of the world’s most disruptive technologies? That’s what the newly formed site 3DP4BTC is exploring as they offer custom 3D printing for Bitcoin. That’s right, you can now order anything a 3D printer can produce with a purely digital currency that you help run from the comfort of your home. Welcome to the future ladies and gentlemen. Also referred to simply as Crypto Printing, 3DP4BTC is the intersection of two burgeoning technologies, 3D printing and Bitcoin. 3D printing has been grabbing a lot of headlines as the technology is continually explored and expanded. For instance, Venture Beat recently reported about a project combining 3D printing and augmented reality. It’s not surprising that Bitcoin and 3D printing have been combined considering all the attention the two have garnered recently. In fact these two also happen to be the focus of Seed Fund Boost VC, who recently announced they’ll be focusing on Bitcoin for this summer’s incubator batch (Boost VC and Crypto Printing aren’t directly related). Boost is sector and stage agnostic but have current interests in consumer tech, 3D printing and Bitcoin related companies. How CryptoPrinting Works Crypto Printing showcases their NFC-enabled Bitcoin and Litecoin simulcra under their shop section. Purchasing these is pretty straightforward. Just add your choice to your shopping cart, enter your shipping information and checkout with BitPay (If you’re unfamiliar with BitPay it’s the same service I used in our recent NameCheap review). The simulcra are offered for $17 per Bitcoin/Litecoin or $30 for the pair. While these NFC-enabled simulcra are their flagship products, they’re not the only offerings from Crypto Printing. In fact they offer custom 3D printing. So with a few Bitcoin at your disposal you can now print pretty much anything that a 3D printer can produce. Just use their custom orders form to provide them with a STL file and your contact information. They’ll then get back to you with a price and any other pertinent information. My Experience I’ve been pretty intrigued by 3D printing after learning of the low cost of MakerBots as well as a slew of new models. Still I haven’t had the funds or the time to really try the process out yet. Crypto Printing offers a pretty simple way to get started with 3D printing without the overhead cost or time of buying and setting up your own printing. I decided to start out by ordering a few of their Bitcoin and Litecoin simulcra. To be exact I ordered one Bitcoin simulcra with a NTAG206 NFC tag, one Bitcoin simulcra with a Mifare 1k NFC tag, and one Litecoin simulcra with a NTAG206 NFC Tag. After printing the Crypto Printing staff informed me that one of the Bitcoins had a slight blemish on the edge which I opted to keep so I could tell the two different tag types apart. Once they’d finished printing Crypto Printing sent me a photo of the finished products. They gave me the choice to pay in Bitcoin or in Litecoin.

Embedly Powered

Our Crypto-Coins Are Waterproof & Buoyant!

For those of you holding our NFC-enabled 3D-printed cryptocoin simulacra ‘in the wild,’ we would like to give you a product update: your custom-printed coins are all WATERPROOF!*
Bitcoin Dunk - Top Down
We recently decided to test out our cryptocoin simulacra to see how waterproof they really were.  The results?  Not only are your coins waterproof, but they also FLOAT!!  The printing process traps small pockets of air into the coin, which allows it to float!  After giving it a short bath (with dunking), the NFC tag inside didn’t have any functional (read/write) problems at all.
For a while, we were confused why the NFC stickers we embed into your 3D prints were not considered ‘waterproof,’ while other NFC tags were.  What makes one of these tags waterproof?  It turns out that it’s all in the plastic coating around the tag.  This coating prevents the device antenna from becoming deformed or otherwise breaking when the tag gets soggy.  In that sense, embedding the tags into our 3D prints might be considered it’s own kind of waterproofing.
*We will be conducting a similar test of longer duration soon, but thought that this information was worth passing along.  That being said, anyone who has already written a private key to their tag should continue to exercise all due caution.  You wouldn’t dunk your laminated laptop into a bathtub, would you?

NFC Options Upgraded

For some time now, we have been offering our 3D printed coin simulacra with Mifare Classic 1k (716 Bytes writable) NFC tags embedded in them.  We can also embed these tags in 3D printed objects for super secret key storage, but I digress…  Mifare Classic 1k tags are compatible with most Android devices – except Nexus 4 & 10.  In general, BlackBerry and Windows 8 are not compatible with Mifare 1k, so – for some users – these tags were unusable.

We are now offering the option to embed NTGAG203 NFC tags into 3D prints.  NTAG203 tags are compatible with all NFC-enabled devices, including BlackBerry and Windows 8.  The addressable memory of these tags is only 137 Bytes – approximately the size of a tweet – so we expect our new NFC option to still be suitable for the range of purposes we have previously suggested (storing private keys, public addresses, web addresses, etc).

NFC Options Upgraded

Brick-and-Mortar merchants take note:  Our tags make a nice display of your acceptance of bitcoins and can facilitate payment in BTC!  Please contact [email protected] to discuss potential orders. 🙂

Why We Don’t Accept PayPal

We were recently asked by a potential customer, who was interested in our NFC-enabled coins, if we would accept paypal.  We had to think about this longer than we should have, as many recent potential customers had decided that they were ‘holding out for now but they’d be in touch’, and while we appreciate the desire to increase ones purchasing power before spending, it leaves us with less to do!  The prospect of a solid order, even in fiat, was tempting but we decided to politely decline payment in paypal and here’s my response explaining why:

Dear XXXX,

I’m afraid we’re not well suited to accept payments in paypal.

Part of it is practical: the bastards at paypal love(d?) to screw with any account I’ve ever had with them and prevent me from using them in a useful way. To my knowledge I’ve never done anything to give them a reason to do so, but it’s left an awful taste in my mouth.

Part of it is ideological: Our service was instituted specifically to provide holders of BTC (along with LTC and perhaps PPC one day) with a way to turn their digital currency into something tangible. There are a variety of services which will happily take dollars for the same thing, but we wanted to stand out as an example of how BTC wasn’t just a speculative plaything, but was actually a part of the internet’s collective capability leaking out into the real world. We’ve only taken orders for BTC (and 1 LTC order, surprisingly), and so for the other 8-9 holders of our coins, they can say that they possess a crafted, data-storing, 3D printed coin which one can ONLY obtain using the currencies they represent. That they can then use the coin to store some of that digital money is icing on the cake.

So that’s why, at this point, I feel that taking paypal for the coins would ‘devalue’ those which exist. I’m really not intent on creating a barrier or burden for you in this, but I feel like some sort of principle would be sacrificed. I hope that you and your friend appreciate this subtlety.

That being said, I’ll happily take bitcoin or litecoin for your purchase. If you need any assistance in obtaining either I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction. I apologize for the inconvenience.

3DP 4 BTC Now Accepting Litecoin!

As of 4/2/2013 it costs 15 litecoins per 3D-printed NFC-enabled litecoin simulacra (or bitcoin simulacra) with domestic shipping included.  Add 5 LTC for international shipping.

NFC-enabled BTC & LTC
NFC-enabled BTC & LTC

Our fledgling operation has managed to satisfy a few customers so far (see here https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=148902.0), but instead of being swamped by orders, we’ve been left pondering – Might people be unwilling to spend their bitcoins?  Is the speculative aspect dominating the utility of exchange?  Or is the market for custom 3D printing just already swamped with other services?

As we started a printing service for BTC to expand the marketplace/economy associated with it, we decided that in that spirit we should begin accepting LTC as well.  So we are now happy to accept litecoin for 3D printed stuff!

We are looking for a trustworthy escrow service which accepts LTC if anyone has one in mind.   We are also looking for a suitable model so that we might offer this little ‘trifecta of technology’ of 3D printed NFC-enabled litecoin chits, if there are any designers out there who might be willing to give it a crack.

Please browse www.thingiverse.com for things you might want printed and contact us to place your order!

 

The NFC-Enabled Bitcoin!

NFC BTC

This 3D Printed Bitcoin simulacra contains a 1k Mifare Classic NFC sticker embedded into a bitcoin token made of gold-coloured PLA.  The whole ‘coin’ is ~36.7mm in diameter.
(Produced using open source hardware and software, incidentally)

Important points to understand:

  • Sold as blank slates – NO account or key-related data would be written to the NFC chips upon purchase. I can’t promise that we won’t put our own website onto it to be cute.
  • Read/write ready Milfare 1k Classic NFC sticker (we check to make sure that it’s writable after being printed into the object)
  • One last time:  This product does not contain BTC and is not a ‘bitcoin’!  (Well it is, but it isn’t unless you make it one.  Okay look, it’s complicated.  Just make sure that you know what we’re offering and that we’re not trying to scam you.)

Possible fun uses for your Bitcoin Simulacra:

  • Load a private key onto it for cold storage. (Or more than one private key!)
  • Load a public address onto it for NFC-enabled swipe and pay goodness (giving you an opportunity to explain how far ahead of the curve you are to everyone !)
  • Load a link to any website or a link to your account on the blockchain which then shows your account summary!
  • Program the NFC tag to load your favorite wallet app when you swipe it with your phone
  • [Your awesome idea here!]

We are considering offering these on a regular basis, but wanted to auction one to see what the interest levels are.  As the auction has recieved bids we will be including these with the next 3 orders, and begin offering them as a regular product after that on bitmit.

Evaluating Our Payment Strategy

After talking with a potential client, he asked us the following question: “If for some reason the price of bitcoin jumps even more wildly, I’ll keep the payment to the equivalent asking price of $XYZ. Since you don’t have hedged escrow does this sound fair?”

Our current payment plan works with installments and depends on mutual trust, but it leaves us open to absorbing some fraction of the fees if a client never follows through with their final payment.

I guess this gives me pause because this service is an experiment, a test of the bitcoin economy’s health and the dynamic nature of the community.  It’s a stone soup thing in that sense – the development and expansion of this service are predicated on the market demand for it.

You can now buy pizza for BTC.  Whomever is operating that service is doing something really neat – manifesting a physical good for BTC.  (Even better is giving donations to charity for BTC a la: www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/19oiht/rbitcoin_lets_share_with_those_in_need_for_every/.  Being able to feed yourself with something is coming pretty close to ‘being money’ for me.  Being able to pay rent, power bills, and shipping costs are still a ways off.  I worry that these services will continue to be difficult to pay for using BTC as long as the main sources of physical goods available are VHS tapes on Bitmit (no offense intended).

Food is a funny thing like that – it’s worth more than gold or bitcoin if you don’t have it.  The 10,000 BTC pizza will live on in infamy.  It was paid for, eaten, presumably enjoyed, and now the story is all that’s left.  Whatever the current value of BTC is is what determines our offers, but we’re not acting like investors – we’re trying to live in a fantasy world where we could can use the BTC we earn to sustain the service we provide.  There’s nothing close to a hope of making this a full time job.  If the community responds to overwhelm us, we will respond in kind – we think that’s a long way off at this point, but are happy that you’re considering having us work for you.  Please leave your comments below and re-post this across the forums.  Thanks!

And Then?

BTC is cool, but “what can you do with it?” is a common cry.  Digital services are cheap, but true manufacturing of goods has not been tested.  We are attempting to test this possibility, but we are doing so at a small scale.

This has its benefits:  We are working on a one-on-one basis at the moment to satisfy our customers and build trust (rather than faith).  Your orders are satisfied one at a time.  If we become bogged with orders (a sign of BTC’s utility) then we will evolve to deal with it, hopefully using community suggestions (or community reviewed/revised suggestions) to drive our operation.

3D Printing & the Digital Economy

There are a number of services currently available which will take your fiat currency and 3D print you something from an STL file.  To our knowledge, no one has been offering to 3D print objects for bitcoin.  We’re trying to change that.

By delivering 3D printed goods made using entirely open-source methods, we hope to expand services and products available for BTC.  With 3D filament suppliers now offering supplies for BTC, it is possible for this to be somewhat self-sustaining (once we’ve earned enough BTC for another reel, we can order more filament for more prints).  Our offerings will expand as we get more requests and suggestions.  The more feedback we receive, the better we might become as a service.