Art Carden  

Cryptocurrencies and Mobile Tipping

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I've gotten better about this in recent years, but earlier today I was sitting in an airport with no cash. That's normally not a problem as I use credit cards for almost everything, but it does become a problem where I'm in a situation where cash tipping is appropriate. I fished four quarters out of my briefcase, and while it will do tipping with change is almost an imposition as much as it's a tip.

This got me thinking: how much easier would life be if I could just tip with Bitcoin or Dogecoin or another cryptocurrency simply by tapping someone's phone or by scanning a QR code on their nametag or by combining the two with a fist bump or something? Or what if I could do something like that with US dollars using PayPal or a Square or something?

Might this be one of the main ways cryptocurrencies gain wider acceptance? Or would it only work as a patch until it became much easier to do it with USD or Euros or another major currency?

Here's a Quartz article on tipping with cryptocurrencies. Here's a January article I wrote on Bitcoin for

Here's one potential salutary effect that could make great dissertation fodder for an aspiring health economist: lower disease transmission. Currency is notoriously filthy, and making transfers purely electronically would make the world cleaner and less germed-up than it is today.

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CATEGORIES: Alternative Economics

COMMENTS (7 to date)
vikingvista writes:

Cash tipping is currently de facto tax free. While Uncle Sam has long looked the other way with this type of widespread tax fraud using Uncle Sam's money, I suspect of they imagine one iota of it with bitcoin, Uncle Sam will launch a full scale persecution of bitcoin users.

Jody writes:

For the benefits listed, I don't see the advantages of a cryptocurrency over the square equivalent platform with currency denominated in dollars.

Also, this is already a much explored field when using smart phones as the exchange / storage platform...

Hazel Meade writes:

Why are you posting this idea on a blog?
You should have a business plan and a venture capitalist backing you already. Chop, chop.

Art Carden writes:

@Hazel: I very well may be...

J writes:

Doesn't have to be a cryptocurrency to solve that problem. You obviously also have never heard of Venmo.

mickey writes:

Aren't phones notoriously filthy?

ChrisH writes:

I'm with the Freakonomics folks, that we'd be better off if tipping culture ended.

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