Is there an automated way to sell computer files for cryptocurrency?
January 13, 2018 11:50 AM   Subscribe

I am about to release an album and would like to sell it in MP3 and WAV formats on on my personal website in exchange for cryptocurrency. Is there a way to automate the process so that customers can download the files as soon as they pay?
posted by Eiwalker to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
It’s going to depend very much on the payment processor but they all generally tend to offer the capability to return the customer to a url once the payment is complete. For added security a token is passed between you and the processor to confirm that the person landing on that page did actually make the payment. Otherwise anyone finding that page could just grab your content.

What this essentially means is that you need to check out the API docs that they have and you may need to roll your sleeves up and get dirty with some code.

Bear in mind that you also need to do some fancy tricks with the file name of your content to avoid that being shared. The easiest way would be to make a copy of the file with a random file name and offer that to the purchaser. After a specific time period you should delete the file. That way no-one knows what the correct location of the file is.

Finally, just remember that if your album is any good then it’ll end up on p2p networks. You cannot do anything to stop this so you should consider it a cost of doing business. In reality there will be some people who, if they couldn’t get it on p2p, would have bought it - but there would also have been an equal amount who would have never bought it anyway.
posted by mr_silver at 11:40 PM on January 13, 2018

Might be helpful to explain a bit more about your current website situation. If it was me, I'd go with Wordpress and Woocommerce with a suitable bitcoin plugin, but I'm by no means any sort of expert.
posted by quinndexter at 1:02 AM on January 14, 2018

I would prefer a drag and drop plugin for free websites (e.g., weebly).
posted by Eiwalker at 8:52 AM on January 14, 2018

I would also prefer if the plugin/widget wouldn't pocket a percentage of the sale.
posted by Eiwalker at 11:29 AM on January 14, 2018

You may already be aware of this, but currently the bitcoin transaction fees are *insane* (like, ~US$30 at the moment). So if the asking price for your album is US$10, it'll end up costing the purchaser ~US$40. Of course, like everything else in the bitcoin world, this might move quickly in any direction at any time.
posted by russm at 4:17 PM on January 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

I can send bitcoin from one wallet to another for free. The reason the average bitcoin transaction is $30 is because many people trade dozens or hundreds of bitcoins at a time on exchange sites that charge small percentage fees.
posted by Eiwalker at 4:43 PM on January 14, 2018

Eiwalker, I think you may be confused about how bitcoin transaction fees work. fees

If you want to send a transaction from one wallet to another in a way that is actual 'on the blockchain', you need to include a payment to the miners in order to incentivize them to include your transaction in the next block they mine. If you don't offer enough of a fee, then they may choose to include other transactions with higher fees attached instead of yours, and you'll have to wait days/weeks/forever until a miner chooses to include your transaction.

An alternative is to transfer money from one account to another within the 'walled garden' of a bitcoin platform. e.g. on Coinbase I can move money from one account to another with no fees, but that is because no bitcoin actually 'move'. Instead Coinbase just internally tracks how many bitcoin each individual owns. At this point you aren't really taking any advantage of the decentralization of bitcoin, since you are entirely relying on trusting Coinbase to play a centralized role not much different than if you were to have used Paypal.

Percentage fees on exchanges are separate from either of the two ways of transfering bitcoin that I mention above. Exchange fees are about trading exchanging bitcoin for some other non-bitcoin currency/cryptocurrency. Those are not directly relevant for the question of how can someone can send their bitcoin into a wallet you control.
posted by vegetableagony at 9:32 AM on January 16, 2018

Thanks, vegetableagony. I thought it was free when I send bitcoin back and forth between my GDAX account and my Binance account, which are not owned by the same company. Maybe it's not free; maybe it's a negligible fee. At any rate, somebody could send me $10 worth of bitcoin and, with fees included, it would cost about $10, not $40.

As for exchange fees: On Binance, I can trade bitcoin for any other crypto, and the fee is half of a tenth of one percent. On a ten dollar exchange, the fee would be half of one cent.
posted by Eiwalker at 9:53 AM on January 16, 2018

Currently the fee for a BTC withdrawal (sending BTC to another wallet) on binance is 0.001 BTC which is currently about $10.
posted by czytm at 2:24 PM on January 16, 2018

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