On WordPress.com and Bitcoin

There’s been some controversy and discussion about the fact that WordPress.com no longer support Bitcoin in our new checkout flow on signup. (It’s still there in some other flows.)

Since there has been a lot of discussion about it, I wanted to share directly some of the answers I had to Grace’s follow-up questions, since I’m not sure if they’ll be published and if they are it probably won’t be in their entirety.

In regards to your future plans for the currency, is bitcoin support definitely returning or is that just a possibility at this point?

We’re big fans of Bitcoin and hope to support it again in the future, for all of the reasons that we originally supported it in 2012, which you can read about here:

http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/pay-another-way-bitcoin/

Is there anything that will influence the outcome of this decision?

No, it is simply a matter of development resources, which are especially scarce for us right now as we’re trying to keep up with growth.

You mention that bitcoin has low volume compared to other payment methods, has this always been the case? Has its volume share changed over time?

The volume has been dropping since launch, in 2014 it was only used about twice a week, which is vanishingly small compared to other methods of payment we offer. We supported Bitcoin for philosophical reasons, not commercial ones.

What are the key aims of your checkout process changes?

Our goals are twofold: to refactor the code behind it which has parts that are over five years old and has grown very complex, and to make it faster and easier for people to buy our services.

When you first launched bitcoin payments WordPress’ blog post praised it as an inclusive payment method for those who cannot use PayPal. Do you worry that these people will now be excluded from the platform?

Of course, but either that number of people turned out to be smaller than we expected or they found other ways to pay. Since it’s so few people overall I’m happy to extend people’s subscription for a year, as I offered in your comments section.

What does being a ‘big believer’ in bitcoin mean to you?

I believe Bitcoin or some other blockchain-like system will be the basis of the majority of financial transactions in the future, from small remittances to multi-billion dollar corporate acquisitions. I think transaction costs should follow Moore’s law, and I don’t think we’re going to get there with the centralized gateways that currently account for the overwhelming majority of transactions. I also personally hold Bitcoin, I’m an advisor to Stellar.org, and my friends make fun of me for bringing up Bitcoin and the blockchain in unrelated conversations.

The bitcoin option still appears on the ‘WP Admin’ screen but not on ‘My Upgrades’. Is this part of the phase out, or likely to stay this way?

That’s on the old code base, and will be available for a short while if any current Bitcoin subscribers want to renew while the option is still available.

Find three hobbies you love: one to make you money, one to keep you in shape, and one to be creative.

I’m not sure the provenance of this quote, but I read it and it really resonated with me, and I’ve found myself repeating it frequently.

Hey guys! I found a good comment on Youtube. Documenting here for posterity, from vTxTobi:

Top 5 rappers:
1. Kendrick Lamar
2. K.dot
3. Guy in second verse of Control
4. Short dude in TDE
5. The good kid in a mad city

(I added the links.) The joke is all of those refer to Kendrick Lamar, so was laugh-out-loud funny. It was on Kendrick’s powerful and controversial new Blacker the Berry track. So congrats to vTxTobi for writing the only decent comment I’ve read on Youtube in years. :)