Got some Bitcoin burning a hole in your virtual wallet? There’s an online marketplace for that… U.K.-based BTXDeals.com has just launched an e-tail website where sellers are offering goods and services to buy with Bitcoin.
The Bitcoin marketplace is the work of U.K. entrepreneur Nick Boardman, who was an early mover in electronics ecommerce in the U.K., founding the Rock brand laptop and e-tail business back in the 1990s. He’s now jumping on the early adopter Bitcoin bandwagon.
Fancy a private charter from Biggin Hill in the U.K. to Nice in France? That’ll be just over 78 BTC at current exchange rates. What about a Dell 24 inch display? A mere 0.9437 BTC. How about a golf trolley for your clubs? 1.9714 BTC.
True, there isn’t a whole let else on BTXDeals to spend your hard-mined BTC on as yet, with only around 100 SKUs at this nascent stage because they’ve all had to be manually uploaded by the company. But it’s expecting marketplace inventory to quickly step up in volume (if not variety) as vendors get access to a bulk upload tool.
The handful of vendors signed up sell on to the marketplace at launch have the unmistakable air of businesses with spare inventory to shift. And/or mood-dressing in a JG Ballard novel. They include a hotel chain, a private charter company, a golf gear maker, a personalized car number plate company, a jeweler, a consumer electronics vendor and a holiday villa company in Spain. In other words, everything a Bitcoin millionaire needs to relocate in speed and style to a villa on the Costa del Sol.
What’s the lure for sellers? Quite possibly Bitcoin’s lack of chargebacks, given the ragtag collection of none-the-less expensive goods and services on the marketplace at this point.
It is also free to list items, so there’s no disincentive for sellers to upload stock. BTXDeals then takes a 5% cut of any sales — which it claims is “typically 50% lower than that charged by Amazon or eBay”. It acts as the middleman, holding payment until the vendor sends shipping confirmation. Sellers can elect to be sent their payment — less the 5% fee — in Bitcoins or pounds sterling.
How does the Bitcoin payment work on the marketplace from the buyer’s point of view? At the checkout they have the option to either transfer the Bitcoins to the BTXDeals wallet address manually, or if they are using a QR code enabled wallet on their phone, they can scan the QR code on the checkout page and it will send the BTCs automatically. Yep, it really can be that easy to blow £15,800 chartering a plane to the south of France.
The contract of sale is between the customer and the vendor, so if you the buyer change your mind about owning that 7 FAT number plate and want to get your BTC back you’re going to have to chase Cherished Number Plates yourself to get a refund. Good 7uck with that.
BTXDeal sets the base price of goods in GBP Sterling, updating it every 10 minutes based on the exchange rate of Bitcoin payment gateway Bitpay.