Now everyone can start the morning right with a steaming hot cup of Bitcoin coffee, thanks to Ricardo Reis of Brazil. He has been a Bitcoin enthusiast since 2016 and created this automated Bitcoin-powered coffee machine to prove the ease of using Bitcoin as a currency.
He used the popular programming language PHP to develop the code for the Bitcoin coffee machine and connected a Raspberry Pi to the entire setup to provide the processing power.
The user of the coffee machine simply scans a wallet capable of reading QR codes on the coffee machine, and the Bitcoin address and amount to be sent is auto-filled into the transaction fields. The user then sends Bitcoin to the coffee machine, and the coffee machine uses blockchain.info’s API to detect that a transaction has come in and starts spitting out a cup of coffee.
The whole process is quite seamless and fast, basically the user scans their phone over the machine and it instantly starts pouring a fresh cup of morning joe.
In this example, a cup of coffee costs 0.05 USD (0.00000662 Bitcoin), and transaction fees are 0.06 USD, which is actually quite low for the transaction fee, but since coffee is poured at the moment a transaction is detected without waiting for confirmations a low transaction fee is ok.
It would be much more ideal to use the Bitcoin lightning network for these sort of microtransactions, since on the lightning network there would be practically zero transaction fee and a user could buy 2 cups of coffee instead of spending their money on 1 cup of coffee and the transaction fee. Ricardo Reis has built a test website to experiment with purchasing coffee using the lightning network, but hasn’t implemented a physical version yet.
This technology demonstrated in Ricardo Reis’ video could perhaps be useful for vending machines. There are vending machines that dispense coffee at some gas stations, and they could theoretically start accepting Bitcoin.
The Bitcoin-powered coffee machine is similar to the Sweetbit candy dispenser developed by Swiss inventor David Knezic in May 2018, which dispenses candy for a small amount of Bitcoin instantly after the user sends a transaction by scanning the QR code on the machine.
Ricardo Reis’ Bitcoin coffee machine and David Knezic’s Sweetbit candy machine prove that Bitcoin can be used as an everyday currency for fast and efficient transactions, even for micropayments of a dollar or less.
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