Today in APIs: BitAccess Launches API Connected to BTMs

BitAccess launches API and BTMs to get Bitcoin everywhere. Facebook policy change may have big political impact. Plus: Three key elements of data quality excellence, and Kimono sets out to Api-fy the entire Internet.

BitAccess to Simplify Access to BitCoins with API and BTMs

While the idea of ATMs that dispense Bitcoin isn't new, reduction in the friction in transactions can make a big difference. In this case, all you need to initiate one is a phone number and a dollar. And, in a business design reminiscent of Apple, BitAccess is the only one making their own hardware, the BTMs.

btm machine

As Jonathan Shieber reports in Techcrunch, the transaction at a BTM is simple:

Here’s how a basic transaction works. The machine prompts users to enter their telephone number and then a code is texted to the that number. Once it’s received the person enters that code into the machine and is prompted on whether they’d like to buy a certain amount of Bitcoin. If the answer is yes, the machine then prompts the user for their bitcoin wallet. If a user doesn’t have a wallet, the machine generates a piece of paper which is the amount of Bitcoin they’ve acquired — think of it like a cryptocurrency version of a dollar bill, except the value is however many Bitcoins or Satoshis the user has exchanged currency to receive. The machine then texts a receipt of the transaction to a user’s cell phone.

The goal is to spread these machines around the world in a global network as an infrastructure play. If I read their website correctly, they have 26 locations. Talk about an untapped market!

Facebook Freezes Out Access to Friends Lists, with Political Implications

Facebook used to let third parties develop apps that scooped a user's friend list (with their permission). This was incredibly important to the Obama reelection campaign of 2012, as detailed in Jonathan Alter's book, The Center Holds. He describes how a team created an app to connect to friends of people who were favorably disposed to President Obama, and reach out to their friends in turn. This was particularly useful for reaching out to young voters, who often are hard to find because they move around more and often don't have land lines. But Facebook is now blocking that ability for new apps. It is grandfathering previous apps in--for a year, potentially giving Democrats, who pioneered the technique, a leg up. As Jason Pye writes in United Liberty, this may freeze the Republicans out first:

The timing is curious, to say the least. While no conspiracy is being suggested, it does seem a little peculiar that Facebook is changing the game as Republicans appear to be likely to takeover the Senate.

We'll have to wait to election day to discern any impact.

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Be sure to read the next Bitcoin article: Today in APIs: Chain Lands New Funding to Expand Bitcoin Platform Offering