How This Decentralized Alternative to BitPay Is Driving Merchant Adoption of Bitcoin

Siamak Masnavi

BTCPay Server is an open source Bitcoin payment processing solution, created by French computer programmer Nicolas Dorier, that is promoted as a decentralized alternative to using BitPay. In a recent interview, Dorier talked about how he got into Bitcoin, the motivation behind BTCPay Server, and the current state of BTCPay Server.

Dorier was interviewed on the most recent episode of the Stephan Livera Podcast (SLP48, released on January 20th). In this article, we highlight some of the most interesting parts of this interview.

How Nicolas Dorier Got Into Bitcoin

"What Drew me into Bitcoin was basically Mt. Gox... I was very surprised that Bitcoin was not dead after this. I didn't know what Bitcoin was... but because it was still living... I got curious about it."

What Got Him Working on Bitcoin

"Because once you discover Bitcoin, everything [else] seems boring."

What Motivated You to Create BTCPay Server? What Was Wrong With BitPay?

"I was a pretty big fan of what BitPay was doing. I was using their [Bitcoin wallet] wallet, Copay, which was one of the best wallets on the markets at this time. I was pretty supportive of them. And I was a bit upset when they start pushing the narrative that it was a software upgrade instead of a hard fork and tried to push all their merchants to support this new sxxxcoin [BCH] and telling them that it was Bitcoin... Because Bitcoin is hard to program upon, lots of people end up depending on centralized infrastructure providers like BitPay... and, at the end of the day, if everybody is depending on them, then even if you have a decentralized currency, you are still vulnerable to the kind of attack that Bitcoin is meant to prevent. So, that is why I started working on BTCPay. I wanted to provide an easy to host infrastructure that everyone can run so they don't need those kind of third-party services to run their business."

How Dorier Tried to Make BitPay 'Obsolete'

Before we look at Dorier's answer, it is important to mention that on 18 August 2017, Dorier replied to a tweet by BitPay about getting ready for SegWit activation as follows:

Now, let us hear from Dorier how he tried to keep this promise:

"Well, when this happened, basically, I understood that Bitcoin was in danger if everybody kept depending on centralized services. So, I started developing BTCPay... If you are a merchant and you integrate BitPay, you cannot easily migrate to another solution if you don't have a developer in-house that can help you with this transition... So, my goal was to migrate everybody that I advised BitPay to to [an] open source solution without [any] code change on their side. So, I basically, replicated the API of BitPay inside BTCPay so merchants that are already integrated with BitPay can just seamlessly migrate to BTCPay without any code change to their backend... I won't say [that] I make them completely obsolete yet. So, for example, if you want fiat integration, you still need a payment processor like BitPay, though I will advise... GloBee or CoinPayments or many other [solutions] that have been created..."

Different Ways of Operating BTCPay Server

"Right now, the most popular one is around $9 per month. When I started doing it in [Microsoft] Azure, it was $60 [per month. We managed to find ways to drop it less than $10 per month., and it's really [a] very simple wizard. You create an account on LunaNode... Then, you just have to go to a certain page [where] there is a sort of wizard that you can follow... in 10 minutes, you already have your BTCPay that is running. I think I can drop it to $4 [per month] with the new offer that LunaNode released recently, but I still need to make some tests around this. Also, there are some people that are trying to push self-hosting at home... So, basically, you put BTCPay Server on a Raspberry Pi... If you do this, it's more technical, but you can drop the price to $1 or $2 per month, basically the cost of electricity that it takes to run the Raspberry Pi."

Deciding Whether to Self-Host BTCPay Server or Use a Crypto Payment Processor Like GloBee?

"The other options are possible depending on where you live, depending on [your] jurisdiction, and depending on your political inclinations. So, if you are Gab, GloBee or CoinPayments or anything else will eventually get shut down. For people that are not politically targeted, they can be good solutions, but because of the fact that you don't control you own key, what you can do with those payment processors is way more restricted. So, for example, BTCPay Server is not only useful for merchants; actually, it is a very good wallet."

Square Crypto on Hiring Legendary Bitcoin Developer Matt Corallo: ‘LET’S PARTY’

Siamak Masnavi

Square Crypto, the division of payments solutions provider Square that is focused on open source Bitcoin development, announced on Tuesday (August 20) that it had hired legendary Bitcoin developer Matt Corallo.

Square Crypto

The first mention of Square Crypto came on March 20 when Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey sent out the following tweet:

In the tweets that followed, Dorsey explained the motivation for creating this new team:

  • "This will be Square’s first open source initiative independent of our business objectives. These folks will focus entirely on what’s best for the crypto community and individual economic empowerment, not on Square’s commercial interests. All resulting work will be open and free."
  • "Square has taken a lot from the open source community to get us here. We haven’t given enough back. This is a small way to give back, and one that’s aligned with our broader interests: a more accessible global financial system for the internet."

Then, on June 12, Square Crypto announced that Steve Lee, a former director at Google, had been hired to be the manager of this division:

On July 29, Lee held an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session via Square Crypto's Twitter account.

During this AMA session, the Square Crypto PM explained the focus of this group and its relation to the rest of Square: 

When asked how Square Crypto planned to support Bitcoin Core developers, Lee replied:

Lee also provided the first hint that Square Crypto would soon be hiring its first Bitcoin developer:

Matt Corallo

So, who is Matt Corallo? 

Corallo is one of the most highly respected and most prolific Bitcoin developers in the world, who has been making important contributions since May 2011. Currently, Corallo has the 6th most commits (640) in the "Open Source Bitcoin Project".

He is also a co-founder of Bloclstream, where he worked Between October 2014 and January 2017. After leaving Blockstream, he moved to Chaincode Labs, the stated mission of which is "to support and develop Bitcoin and other peer-to-peer decentralized systems."

Decrypto's Tim Copeland says that on February 7, at a meeting event in London, Corallo was introduced as “The bastard child of Satoshi," in response to which Corallo replied: "I can’t comment."

Square Crypto's Hiring of Matt Corallo

This is how Square Crypto ecstatically announced the news at 16:30 UTC on August 20:

As for the reasons for choosing Corallo to be their first full-time Bitcoin developer and how they see him helping this division of Square, they said:

This looks like a very smart move by Square, and judging by the comments on Twitter, the Bitcoin community seems to see this move as very bullish for Bitcoin and its ecosystem.

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