It’s long been touted by the Bitcoin community that the lack of chargeback risk and transaction fees would expose merchants to less cost that they would have to pass on to the consumer, thereby lowering prices. The problem, thus far, has been that most of the merchants adopting Bitcoin are small-to-medium in size, lacking the economy of scale that allows businesses like NewEgg, Amazon and WalMart to offer substantially lower prices. Attempts have been made at Amazon pass-through sellers, but that’s really a clunky workaround mechanism at best and those pass-throughs still have to make their own money somehow. Ideally we’d all like to see the brands we know and love adopt Bitcoin, but that’ll never happen if they don’t take us seriously and the only way to make that happen is to compete directly with them. The only move we have to make is to create a large-scale Bitcoin store big enough to swim with the sharks, and that’s exactly what Roger Ver has done.
Best known as the President, CEO and Founder of MemoryDealers, Roger Ver is a well-known and trusted member of the Bitcoin community who has the clout and the contacts to broker some pretty sweet deals. He saw the need for a NewEgg-style marketplace where everything was cheaper in bitcoins and built BitcoinStore.com.
The site is currently in beta and during beta carries a few caveats: Minimum order amount is $1,000 though the minimum order requirement is supposed to be removed when the site’s public beta ends. Shipping costs may not accurately reflect actual shipping costs just yet, especially for non-U.S. customers and there is work actively being done on the site – as I said, it’s in beta and early beta at that. Also, Roger has publicly stated that in order to maintain the various deals he’s made to get these prices, he needs to sell $800,000 per quarter worth of product – quite a lot, but certainly not out of the question – especially when the store has more than 500,000 products on offer with plans to expand to over a million in the near future.
In the announcement on the forums, Roger cites a number of examples of items on the site that are cheaper in bitcoins, and often by a fair margin. One concern often cited when sites claim to sell things “cheaper in bitcoins” is that the price difference is too small to cover the cost of purchasing coins, so new Bitcoiners aren’t really getting a deal. Not so with BitcoinStore as prices seem to hover around 10% to 15% lower than NewEgg and Amazon (with the occasional stupendous deal to be found) and so far it seems to be working well – of the three products listed less than 12 hours ago, one (this TV set) has already sold out.
I sincerely hope that this experiment is successful and Roger hits the sales targets he needs to keep this thing running. Sadly I’m in the midst of buying a house and my wallet is therefore empty, so the best I can do to show my support is hopefully send some traffic his way… Maybe I can talk my wife into letting me upgrade our NAS… It is almost $320 cheaper than Amazon after all.
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