How to approach a Bitcoin business venture as a blockchain developer

By Lizette Louw | 03 September 2021
How to approach a Bitcoin business venture as a blockchain developer

Have you managed to attend a Bitcoin SV DevCon yet? If not, don’t fret! For those who missed out, we are making available written summaries of the most popular presentations of previous events.

In this presentation at Bitcoin SV DevCon 2020 Josh Henslee shared his approach for starting a Bitcoin business. His talk covered a range of topics that serve as a blueprint for aspiring developers cum entrepreneurs, including:

  • Generating revenue as an early stage entity
  • Balancing business and developing
  • ‘Co-opetition’ - how to walk the line between collaborating and competing
  • How developers implement Bitcoin micropayments into their businesses to establish early revenue streams
  • The dos & don’ts of operating a business in the Bitcoin space

Starting a Bitcoin business

Generating revenue from day one

Bitcoin apps should be generating revenue at alpha phase. Tools like Money Button and the simple power of Bitcoin outputs make paying yourself in the output trivial, so there's no reason not to do it. This is not to imply that developers should be profitable from day one, considering we are early adopters in a small industry.

By paying your employees and team members via different Bitcoin outputs, you keep everyone motivated through the formative stages of a business. Imagine opening up your wallet and you see a stream of incoming payments throughout the day. A thousand Satoshi here; ten thousand there; oh, and one hundred thousand there. For me personally, that makes me want to earn more.

Communication

Because everyone is building on the same blockchain ledger, it’s important to integrate with as many services as possible. It’s worth our while encouraging our users to try out the many useful apps that other people have built. By doing so, we increase the number of transactions on the blockchain and create a more diverse ecosystem, benefiting all of us in the long run. 

It would also be wise to keep the lines of communication open with other businesses, too. When you know what other people are working on, you avoid duplicating the same work and can collaborate on better ways to approach the problems you're both trying to solve.

Co-opetition

Increasing the number of on-chain transactions and growing the ecosystem delivers benefits for all BSV developers. And so, even though, as a business, you want to generate more Bitcoin SV than your competitors, it’s important to be both competitive and collaborative. This could mean implementing what others have built or copying and improving to deliver what users want. As a result, you can bring more users to the blockchain (communal benefit) and earn more bitcoins (individual benefit).

Using BSV applications like TonicPow is a good example of participating in healthy co-opetition. By advertising another BSV application, you benefit the ecosystem, plus you can earn money for your efforts. Another simple way to do this is by following as many other BSV businesses and personalities on Twitter as possible and focus on amplifying their message by engaging with and sharing their content so they can reach as many people as possible.

Bitcoin micropayments change Internet development

Micropayments can be used in ways that liberate developers and apps from requiring users to provide businesses and service providers with lots of personal information. One of my favourite quotes in the Bitcoin white paper talks about how companies have to hassle their customers for more information than they would otherwise need because the payment is reversible. And if a company requires a credit card payment, they have to ask for even more personal information. But if a user pays per action on a platform, businesses don’t need any information from them.

Bitcoin also makes CAPTCHAs redundant and removes the need for users to prove ownership of their email address to sign up for a new service or to log in. By simply swiping a Money Button, I can prove ownership of my wallet. Alternatively, I can even log in with a Bitcoin payment. At the same time, if a service requires payment, its users can pay for each microservice on the spot without ever having to create an account.

TLDR: Dos & don’ts when doing business in the Bitcoin space

Do Don't
Leverage tools others have built Don’t build your own wallet
Charge for your time Don’t run a ‘full node’
Fundraise on-chain Don't take functionality away
Pay employees in outputs Don't implement legacy login systems

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Bitcoin SV DevCon 2021

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