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Clinkle Wants To Become Your Wallet

timothy posted about a year ago | from the joint-checking-account dept.

The Almighty Buck 121

vikingpower writes "Clinkle, a new mobile payments start-up, may or may not have succeeded where so many other efforts have fizzled by inventing a practical way to replace credit cards with smartphones. It's hard to say, though, since Clinkle won't say much about how its system works. Its website is, well ... slight. But a prominent group of Silicon Valley investors who do know what Clinkle is cooking up are acting as though it has achieved a breakthrough. On Thursday, Clinkle announced that it had raised $25 million in early financing from Accel Partners; Andreessen Horowitz; Intel; Intuit; Marc Benioff, the chief executive of Salesforce.com; Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal; and a long list of other investors with technology industry pedigrees. The Huffington Post has an article on Clinkle, or rather on Stanford students putting their degree on hold to go work at Clinkle. The Wall Street Journal [paywalled] mentions Clinkle having some 30-odd employees already."

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Easter Egg (5, Informative)

Skiboy941 (2692201) | about a year ago | (#44148397)

Hmm. It makes a tinkling bells noise when you put in the Konami Code.

Re:Easter Egg (1)

Moridineas (213502) | about a year ago | (#44149315)

I love that somebody both figured this out AND got first post.

Re:Easter Egg (2)

HairyNevus (992803) | about a year ago | (#44150687)

You must work for these people, right? I mean is it standard operating procedure to do stuff like that at every new website? What else have I missed?

Re:Easter Egg (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | about a year ago | (#44151061)

Searching "Clinkle tinkle"... Oddly no rule 34 stuff yet.

Direct Withdrawal (3, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | about a year ago | (#44148407)

"Creates a direct connection between your wallet and our bank account."

Re:Direct Withdrawal (3, Insightful)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#44148437)

so you can out of your funds for the time it takes to fix an error.

also hackers will love this.

Re:Direct Withdrawal (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44148507)

so you can out of your funds for the time it takes to fix an error.

also hackers will love this.

Learn fucking English. You sound like a damned retard. All of your posts look like they were written by a retarded 3-year-old with Asperger's.

Re:Direct Withdrawal (2)

Mike Frett (2811077) | about a year ago | (#44148579)

Sometimes I wonder if they intentionally make this type of Tech just so Hackers can take advantage; and the company can get free advertisement. You know what they say, even bad advertisement is good advertisement. The sad part is people will buy this, just as sure as people building houses on unstable cliffs.

I got THEM fooled! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44148721)

I'll have this connect to my BitCoin account!

Bwaaahahahahhahaha!

Re:Direct Withdrawal (1)

slick7 (1703596) | about a year ago | (#44151805)

"Creates a direct connection between your wallet and our bank account."

Have the banksters signed off on this? What about service fees, interest, taxes, greed and corruption?

But I just got in to Simple! (2)

Jonah Hex (651948) | about a year ago | (#44148433)

Seriously, after applying for an invite a long time ago, I finally got into Simple [simple.com] and started using it, and it really seems to be what banking should be with a great web/phone app. Now I have to sign up and wait for ANOTHER service that is going to replace my bank? - HEX

Re:But I just got in to Simple! (3, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#44148701)

The problem here as I see it is that too many companies are fighting for this space, using illegal tactics.

For instance, even though my phone is capable of using Google Wallet, it won't work on the device because AT&T somehow gets a veto over using the app on my phone. Its all just data, encrypted and secured data, so why do carriers get to block this app? How is that not illegal restraint of trade?

I don't expect it to be any different with Clinkle. Too many players standing in the way.

Re:But I just got in to Simple! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44149561)

For instance, even though my phone is capable of using Google Wallet, it won't work on the device because AT&T somehow gets a veto over using the app on my phone. Its all just data, encrypted and secured data, so why do carriers get to block this app? How is that not illegal restraint of trade?

In the early 1980's, major players in the American banking system invested heavily in the phone system. It was the reason the banks didn't replace the easily duplicated magnetic stripe card with the better security offered by the chip and pin process implemented in Europe at that time (which sadly was 40 years ago). We became a back water country with this technology do to corporate priorities. I see a reason for the problem you described if those type of investment relationships still exists today between the telcos and financial institutions.

Re:But I just got in to Simple! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44151665)

early 80s was 40 years ago? Greetings, man from the future! I don't suppose you brought a Grays Sports Almanac with you?

Re:But I just got in to Simple! (2)

lxs (131946) | about a year ago | (#44152017)

The grass always does seem greener doesn't it? In reality here in Europe and chip and pin has only been implemented for a decade or so and in most countries paying with the magnetic stripe has only been retired about a year ago.

Re:But I just got in to Simple! (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#44150811)

It's the latest hot startup. There are probably at least a dozen different new systems in the last year from companies trying to be the new payment app. Why? Because they all want a piece of each transaction, which adds up to huge money.

It's all about money.

Re:But I just got in to Simple! (1)

lxs (131946) | about a year ago | (#44152055)

And unless there is interoperability between all of them this scheme will not take off, but your average business rather kills off the competition to get the whole tiny pie instead of working together so each can take a piece of a huge global pie.

two way image transfer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44148439)

That's their secret sauce. Works with any smartphone with forward facing camera. Data rate doesn't matter for application.

They were wise to get exit money before the product is in market!

Re:two way image transfer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44149093)

Just out of curiosity, how do you know this? Is it just a guess on your part, or do you know something submitter didn't tell us?

Shameless /.vertisement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44148441)

No need to read.

Whose Data is it anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44148459)

Lets say at the outset that I will never ever sign up to this.

Now down to the nitty-gtitty.

What are they going to do with all this data they collect about it's customers? Who are they going to sell it to?

Now that's out pf the way, I sincerly hope this flat on its face. I can't see any compelling USP for this thing

Re:Whose Data is it anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44148559)

Who are they going to sell it to?

Probably to anyone who coughs up the asking price. But they'll give it away to the NSA.

Re:Whose Data is it anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44148889)

This is an alternative to credit cards. If you don't use credit cards, you're not part of the market they are targeting.

VC =/= people who know anything (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44148465)

Oh boy, wow! Some guys managed to give a powerpoint presentation about releveraging cross-platform web enabled responsive 3.0 paradigms, and some students want to get rich quick, and they made a web page with far too much javascript that seems to be trying to implement some bullshit marketting strategy.

Tell me when they have a product ready. Or better yet, don't, because I'm not going to use it anyway.

Re:VC =/= people who know anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44148535)

(Chrome logo) Turn on Javascript
Click the wrench icon on the browser toolbar.
Click the Settings tab.
Click Show advanced settings
Click Content Settings in the Privacy section.
Select Allow all sites to run JavaScript in the JavaScript section.

First of all I'm using Safari, not Chrome, so there's no "wrench icon" in my toolbar. Secondly, a website as simple as theirs should work without fucking javascript.

Re:VC =/= people who know anything (1)

Maudib (223520) | about a year ago | (#44148743)

Andreessen Horowitz doesn't fuck around.

Re:VC =/= people who know anything (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44148763)

If investing in Groupon isn't fucking around, then I don't know what the words "fucking around" mean.

Do not want (3, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44148475)

No room for a condom.

Re:Do not want (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#44148525)

Yeah, and with this somebody's gonna need one. Can anyone say 'pump and dump'?

Re:Do not want (1)

TWX (665546) | about a year ago | (#44148935)

I don't think that users of this will need one...

Re:Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44149681)

Clinkle sounds like a Clunker.

Until the US comes clean... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44148489)

I will not buy into another way for an American company to track what I do.

30-odd employees (3, Insightful)

frovingslosh (582462) | about a year ago | (#44148549)

The Wall Street Journal mentions Clinkle having some 30-odd employees already.

But how many normal employees do they have?

And why exactly would I want a product where I have to provide my own terminal to run their code and use my own capped data to support their service? Can't imagine any benefit to the actual consumer over just using my plastic card.

Re:30-odd employees (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#44148745)

And why exactly would I want a product where I have to provide my own terminal to run their code and use my own capped data to support their service? Can't imagine any benefit to the actual consumer over just using my plastic card.

Excuse me for asking, but what part of a cellphone or smartphone does NOT require you to supply your own terminal to run someone else's code and pay for your own bandwidth?

Come to think of it, it seems pretty clear that you didn't MAIL IN your post above, so you must have used your own terminal running Slashdot's javascript on your own bandwidth just to read and post here.

So why get so up in arms about this?

I would love not having to carry a wallet full of credit cards to get stolen, or even peeked at, and the numbers sent around the world in a text message.. If they steal my phone, I can have it killed and wiped, and de-authorized before they can crack the login. I would love to not carry a ring full of keys and car fobs. Its all going into your phone in coming years, and not a moment too soon.

Re:30-odd employees (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44149003)

"I would love to not carry a ring full of keys and car fobs."

Then don't.

Frank Sinatra had all his houses and apartments and cars, etc., re-keyed to a single master key. He never had more than that single key in his pocket. I did it too - it isn't terribly expensive.

Re:30-odd employees (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#44149063)

It is expensive these days with all the interlocks and digital keying used in cars.

I actually have no car keys. Just a fob. So this would be a major modification.

And the fob's functionality of could just as well be programmed into my phone, if the phone battery lasted longer.

Re:30-odd employees (1)

tftp (111690) | about a year ago | (#44149059)

Excuse me for asking, but what part of a cellphone or smartphone does NOT require you to supply your own terminal to run someone else's code and pay for your own bandwidth?

No part of my cell phone requires me to run anyone's code or to transfer someone's data. As matter of fact, my phone is not capable of running 3rd party code, and the data services (and SMS) on this account were blocked by AT&T by my request, from day zero, as a non-negotiable condition of purchase. I have no use for data on my cell phone. If someone needs me that desperately, they can always call and state their cause.

Come to think of it, it seems pretty clear that you didn't MAIL IN your post above, so you must have used your own terminal running Slashdot's javascript on your own bandwidth just to read and post here. So why get so up in arms about this?

Well, I personally wouldn't be too upset about using my bandwidth for accessing a service that I find beneficial. Credit card terminals do not communicate over hyperspace either - they are connected to something, be it telephone lines or the Internet, and I'm sure it's not the bank who pays those bills.

I would love not having to carry a wallet full of credit cards to get stolen, or even peeked at, and the numbers sent around the world in a text message...

What makes you think that the numbers are sent "around the world" in a text message? Those c/c readers do not leak the c/c information outside of their enclosure. It's banks' money, and banks know how to keep their money safe and secure. How many cases of intercept of the numbers off the wire can you recall?

With regard to "stolen or peeked at," anything can be stolen; and a robber will not forget to ask for your password. They do ask for the PIN number sometimes. But this is all a moot point because you are not responsible for the c/c theft. Banks just call it "cost of doing business," and in reality it's a drop in the ocean. The phone-based wallet, on the other hand, is probably a total loss. I don't use it, so I don't know, but what happens if someone somehow accesses your eWallet and spends the money? Will you get refund from Google or someone else who runs the service? If not, I will keep using my credit cards.

Re:30-odd employees (1)

joshuaobrien (588416) | about a year ago | (#44149259)

The benefit is not having to carry around that plastic card.

Re:30-odd employees (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about a year ago | (#44149511)

The additional benefit is to force credit card companies to provide the additional biometric data to confirm the identity of the user and end the lie of identity theft. Identity theft, is fraudulently applied charges by outlets against a person credit card, until such time as those outlets can prove they were defrauded. The lie of identity theft is used by credit card companies to criminally force the liability onto the card holder and not onto the credit card company and the outlets that make use of those payment services. This all criminally supported by government as a result of campaign financing corruption.

Re:30-odd employees (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44149657)

But how many normal employees do they have?

Yes. They have exactly 30 employees and they're all weirdos.

Free bonus uncloseable full page ad! (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year ago | (#44148567)

If you're using a mobile browser, be aware that the linked article will spawn a full-screen ad whose "close" button does not appear to consistently work on a touch device.

But back to the story... Okay, so a e-wallet startup got some venture capital. Why is this news, exactly?

Re:Free bonus uncloseable full page ad! (1)

X.25 (255792) | about a year ago | (#44149163)

But back to the story... Okay, so a e-wallet startup got some venture capital. Why is this news, exactly?

Probably because it has been paid for. So much for the "news".

Nice Idea (3, Insightful)

RedHackTea (2779623) | about a year ago | (#44148581)

if done right. You go to restaurant. Get receipt. Create a one-off closed account with user ID and one-off GUID with exactly the amount of receipt+tip transferred from your actual bank account. Unlike with a card, you just hand the server the user ID+GUID. They never know your full name and credit card number. They can't swap your card with an imposter (plenty of cases where servers will do this if have a similar looking card). If they do decide malicious intent or accidentally mix up your GUID with another, then there is no problem; all that is in the temporary "account" is the exact money. The only thing that will tie them to your accounts is the user ID, and that will not be your direct online banking account, etc.; it will be the (Clinkle's) service. This is just a pipe dream of course, and I'm sure Clinkle's service is more open so that restaurants/etc. don't have to buy new hardware/software; it's probably only a fraction safer than actually giving your plastic card.

Re:Nice Idea (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44148625)

I would only start to be comfortable with this if they licensed their software to banks and let banks keep the records.

The scenario you describe has a gaping privacy hole in that Clinkle will have records of all your purchases. One national security letter or weakly anonymized marketing datbase sale later, and you're screwed.

Banks, at least, already have this information, so we're no worse off; and, banking as a whole is more strongly regulated than valley startups.

Re:Nice Idea (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#44148775)

The scenario you describe has a gaping privacy hole in that Clinkle will have records of all your purchases. One national security letter or weakly anonymized marketing database sale later, and you're screwed.

Same for Visa and MasterCard. Unless you pay in cash money, you have already bought into having your dinner purchase somewhat public. Your bank, your restaurant's bank, your credit card company, and your restaurant's credit card clearing company all know this information and any Local Police Department can get all of that information on a whim, and the US government gets every single bit of it every single day of the year for every single citizen.

So your tin foil hat better be lined in 100 dollar bills, because that is the only way you can do anonymous purchases.

As a money handling agent, Clinkle or any other payment system will be regulated. Just like your bank or credit card company.

Re:Nice Idea (4, Insightful)

tftp (111690) | about a year ago | (#44148677)

You go to restaurant. Get receipt. Create a one-off closed account with user ID and one-off GUID with exactly the amount of receipt+tip transferred from your actual bank account. Unlike with a card, you just hand the server the user ID+GUID. They never know your full name and credit card number.

Or, if you are not one of those thirty "odd employees," you just pay with cash. Or you use a temporary c/c number with limited funds - many banks offer this service for free. Or you walk with the server to the payment terminal. There are several ways to pay that do not involve a third party.

This whole thing is designed to appeal to geeks who enjoy fiddling with computers. However everyone else will find it bothersome. It is just another step where you can make a mistake. All those eWallet companies are solving a problem that does not exist for the vast majority of people - and even to some geeks. I, personally, have no need of that service. I also have no desire to include another set of crooks into the payment chain.

I'm sure Clinkle's service is more open so that restaurants/etc. don't have to buy new hardware/software; it's probably only a fraction safer than actually giving your plastic card.

Where would these numbers go that a patron hands over to the server? Do they just type it into a browser, in a place where thousands of patrons and workers come and go every single day? It only takes a record in the HOSTS file, and a self-signed certificate, to impersonate the service. Businesses pay for secure terminals because they are secure. A mere computer in a corner cannot be called secure, if all it takes to compromise is to insert a USB stick and run a script.

Re:Nice Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44149899)

Seems like the real problem here is HOSTS files.

Re:Nice Idea (1)

tftp (111690) | about a year ago | (#44149995)

MS Security Essentials monitor the HOSTS file. However if you have physical access to the console you can always configure an exception. (I did, because I always have custom HOSTS files, because I have no DNS server on the LAN. (I have a couple of BBBs now to make one of them into a proper DNS server, but I still need to find time for that :-))

Re:Nice Idea (1)

lkcl (517947) | about a year ago | (#44148815)

the problem with the proposal that you've created is that if the phone is hacked then any number of one-off closed accounts can be created and transferred from your "actual bank account". what this tells us is that the actual problem is the concept of trying to use a general-purpose processor which is capable of running unverifiably-complex general-purpose software as a method of payment. it.... just.... doesn't.... add... up.

Re:Nice Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44152359)

Require the user to verify payments every 100$ or so. No hassle and the payoff for fraud is limited.

Alternatively... (5, Insightful)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year ago | (#44148609)

You know what else works just as well as a credit card that is way smaller and lighter than a cell phone, never needs recharging, works literally everywhere and already has proven, well-established limited liability for theft? A fucking credit card.

Oh, and nice analysis editor:

Clinkle, a new mobile payments start-up, may or may not have succeeded ...

Costly... (1)

Junta (36770) | about a year ago | (#44148673)

The credit card model has a fairly high cost of risk mitigation.

Fundamentally, you are throwing around what in any sane world would be the most secret of secrets. To hack around that reality, financial institutions bear non-trivial amounts of risk and have to do a lot to do analytics to try to detect fraud. Even with all that, the cardholder must be always vigilant as their circumstance could fall through the cracks.

I've long been amazed that my email provider offers me more rigorous prevention of unauthorized access than my financial institution.

Maybe Costly... but not to me (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | about a year ago | (#44148761)

The dark and evil world that you envision presents no risk or tangible costs to me. My credit card company and Visa assume all of those risks. Sure, you might argue that there are hidden costs that are passed along to all customers when credit cards are used, but costs would hit me anyway, even if I just paid cash (and I don't get 1% back when I pay cash). And if you really think that way then let me assure you that Clinkle and it's investors are out to make a buck too, so in the end this will just mean higher prices that are passed along to the consumer.

Re:Maybe Costly... but not to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44148881)

The cost is passed on to you, and a competitor does have recourse to take advantage of that. If a competitor were able to improve up front security to severely curtail expense and risk they incur doing business, they can make money for themselves while at the same time offering more enticing incentives than status quo payment processors.

They might be able to offer merchants a lower cost solution and the merchants can help influence customer choice. Merchant agreements are sufficiently anti-merchant as to make this hard, but not impossible. Alternatively, if they charge the same amount, they can offer, say, 2% cash back if your current card can afford 1%.

All that aside, you still have some risk. When my card was stolen, I did have to go through quite a few hoops costing me time and hassle. I had to update quite a few auto payment systems on top of numerous conversations with the fraud and theft department.

Now I don't believe Clinkle should be assumed to be doing things right (no data offered at all to suggest they are any better than the other hare brained schemes), but I do hold out hope that one day something will change. It's clear at this point it has to work with existing infrastructure, but there is some wiggle room in that.

Re:Costly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44149613)

At least credit cards have liability protection against unauthorized charges. With a checking account, anyone who has your checking account number and routing number that's printed on every check -- plus an ACH broker with lax security -- can transfer money out of your account without any signature or confirmation.

The worst secret, of course, is social security numbers. Second worst is "last four digits of your SSN" which is used everywhere, including at non-financial institutions like cable internet providers.

The problem with credit cards is... (3, Informative)

bradley13 (1118935) | about a year ago | (#44148741)

...they are bloody expensive! The consumer doesn't see most of this, but the merchants pay through the nose. A typical small business will pay around 3% of the total transaction to the credit card company, plus additional fees for payment processing, plus additional fees for certifications, plus...there's always another damned fee.

That could well represent the entire profit margin of a smaller business. Guess what, that means those costs are added into the price. Since most credit card contracts (at least in my country) explicitly prohibit giving a "cash discount" or anything else that would be to the disadvantage of credit card purchases, this means that there is no way out: everyone must pay the higher prices.

It's quite a racket, if you think about it: 3% of the top of a huge chunk of all consumer transactions. I dream of seeing some real competition in the payment processing market.

Re:The problem with credit cards is... (3)

tftp (111690) | about a year ago | (#44149117)

It's quite a racket, if you think about it: 3% of the top of a huge chunk of all consumer transactions.

How much are you spending on your c/c per year? Let's say $20K. This is a large sum of money, fit for a family guy with several children. (I don't spend that much.) 2% of that (often you get 1% back) would be $400.

Would you agree to carry, count and spend $20K in cash over the year if I promise to pay you $400? You will be in danger of losing the money, of being robbed, of miscounting not in your favor, and of not having enough cash on hand. Cash is dirty, having been in hands of lowest castes of the society, and it may carry diseases. Most of US cash carries traces of drugs, and that can attract attention of police dogs; the police will then be happy to tear your car apart.

The banks may be charging too much for the service; but from the POV of the consumer, the convenience is worth the cost. Is it a nice racket for the banks? Probably yes, it is. They inserted themselves into the payment chain, and it's all but impossible to extract them out of there.

The many eWallet providers (that always come and go) are not aiming for saving the world from the onerous 3%. They are aiming to collect those 3%. The world will be still paying the payment tax, one way or another. Those companies are not saviors; they are just the new generation of thieves who are trying to replace the prededing generation of thieves.

Re:The problem with credit cards is... (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#44150831)

The many eWallet providers (that always come and go) are not aiming for saving the world from the onerous 3%. They are aiming to collect those 3%. The world will be still paying the payment tax, one way or another. Those companies are not saviors; they are just the new generation of thieves who are trying to replace the prededing generation of thieves.

This is the thing that annoys me most about the whole thing. I don't want any of them.

Re:The problem with credit cards is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44150941)

having been in hands of lowest castes of the society

Were you trying to sound like an obnoxious asshole, or did that just come out naturally?

Re:The problem with credit cards is... (3, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year ago | (#44151117)

Cash is dirty, having been in hands of lowest castes of the society, and it may carry diseases.

What the fuck? Did you just actually say that? What sort of bullshit is this? Are you a time traveler from India circa 1840, or are you just a ignorant, bigoted prick?

Re:The problem with credit cards is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44151191)

Are you a time traveler from India circa 1840, or are you just a ignorant, bigoted prick?

Why can't he be both?

Re:The problem with credit cards is... (1)

dynamo52 (890601) | about a year ago | (#44149125)

It's quite a racket, if you think about it: 3% of the top of a huge chunk of all consumer transactions. I dream of seeing some real competition in the payment processing market.

I'm sure this will have essentially the same fee structure and profit models as standard credit cards. The best long term hope for true competition payment processing is Bitcoin. With a mostly voluntary transaction fee of about $0.01 on any transaction including those across borders, it is secure, pseudo-anonymous, non-reversible, and there is no bank or government to deny access or confiscate funds. With greater adoption values should rise significantly with diminishing volatility until eventually a slow, steady deflation sets in. While many would argue that deflation is bad, this is not necessarily correct as this only applies if Bitcoin were to totally supplant fiat currency but this is highly unlikely. More probable is that it will be used in much the same way as cash or debit cards, as a replacement for Western Union, and as a store of value. You will always need dollars (or euro, or yuan,...) to pay your taxes.

Re:The problem with credit cards is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44149603)

Mild deflation not so bad? ask an economist. If it is deflationary, and everything else you own is inflationary, it'll be the last thing you exchange for goods. It'd make about as much sense as buying things with actual gold coins, something that became impractical ages ago.

And you are not covering most of its cash-like negatives: It can be stolen with no recourse, and in very large quantities. It is only as safe from harm as whatever media is holding the data, so you can just lose it due to lack of proper, timely backups: and backing up offsite is another vector for getting it stolen.

And how do you deal with most of those problems? by keeping the coins at an external company, which will be liable if it's taken. We call those banks, so the moment you use them, all those things that you claim fix by using bitcoin immediately go away.

Re:The problem with credit cards is... (2)

tftp (111690) | about a year ago | (#44150125)

Reportedly, miners are already configuring their systems to drop transactions that do not bring revenue. Days of BTC mining just for fun, done by a few nerds and a computer, are gone. Today you need to have an ASIC miner to keep up - and as soon as the network becomes faster, the difficulty level goes up, and the number of still available bitcoins continues to drop. Why would a miner mine anything say, ten years from now, when he needs a quantum computer (at a mere $10M price tag) to even get started? The mined bitcoins, which will be coming at a rate of one per year, will not be a very good enticement. If a miner is in business, he wouldn't be donating his computer's time to freeloaders. I already have a small amount in BTC that I cannot transfer to another account because it requires a fee that is larger than the amount! Combine with the deflation of BTC, and your "small transaction fee" is quickly growing into a tax that is worse than these 3% of Visa.

Other poster already mentioned that BTC suffers from several problems. Here is one, for example. You come to the store and pay a small amount of BTC. You then stand there for ten minutes and wait for six confirmations. They are not coming. The store owner is getting nervous, if not aggressive. He suggests that you put the goods down and leave, or else he will call the cops. What are your options?

Those confirmations may be genuinely delayed, or you may have mistyped his account number, or it may be a ruse by the store owner. Why not - the software is not secure, and anyone can hack it in any way they want, to say whatever they want. If you have a block explorer on your smartphone and you know what it is, you can prove (? a web service proving that A paid B? Not even funny.) that the transaction went through. But for majority of people this is not just over their head, it's in another galaxy. That's why people use banks and cash - because there is an independent arbiter of all transactions. Cash can be checked for validity simply enough, and bank transactions are all logged and cross-referenced, so that none are lost.

Re:The problem with credit cards is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44149733)

They aren't bloody expensive for me, last year my credit card companies paid me over $50k in rewards.

I hope they raise merchant fees even higher so they can offer me even better rewards.

Re:The problem with credit cards is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44150441)

That could well represent the entire profit margin of a smaller business.

No. Just no.

Let's say you're a small business that does $50,000 in revenue per month. 3% is $1500. If the entire operating margin of the business is smaller than that, then there's nothing that would keep them in business, with or without that fee. Going cash only would also almost certainly cost them more than $1500 in lost profits.

If all you're saying is that 3% might be the entire slush fund after paying the employees, owners, and bills, then big friggin' deal. If the rent were cheaper, they could pick up that same $1500. If they negotiated a better deal with a supplier, they could pick that up. It's a service with a cost attached, and like any other business decision, the question is whether it brings in more profit than it costs. Dealing in cash has its own administrative and handling costs that can be equally burdensome for small businesses.

And really, you have to be a fairly large business to survive running margins in the low single digits, so that 3% fee actually grows increasingly burdensome the larger your business grows, not the other way around.

Re:Alternatively... (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#44149191)

You know what else works just as well as a credit card that is way smaller and lighter than a cell phone, never needs recharging, works literally everywhere and already has proven, well-established limited liability for theft?

Cash.

Plus, you have the benefit of not having your purchases become part of a massive database to be misused by powerful and evil forces.

I'd like to see some innovations in payment methods that still leave the shopper with a little bit of privacy protection.

Re:Alternatively... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year ago | (#44149337)

You know what else works just as well as a credit card that is way smaller and lighter than a cell phone, never needs recharging, works literally everywhere and already has proven, well-established limited liability for theft?

Cash.

Plus, you have the benefit of not having your purchases become part of a massive database to be misused by powerful and evil forces.

I'd like to see some innovations in payment methods that still leave the shopper with a little bit of privacy protection.

Granted. However, I use my no-fee CC for most purchases and pay it off every month so using is like using cash but negates me having to carry/restock my wallet with much cash. I accept the privacy loss of using a CC for the additional theft protection and convenient. I'm sure Clinkle will charge comparable service fees and mine people's purchase data as well. (Shareholders gotta profit.)

Truth be told, I was more peeved about the "may or may not" in the summary. "May" implies "may not" ... grrrr :-)

Don't get me started on the evils of debit cards though....

Re:Alternatively... (1)

tftp (111690) | about a year ago | (#44150219)

However, I use my no-fee CC for most purchases and pay it off every month so using is like using cash but negates me having to carry/restock my wallet with much cash. I accept the privacy loss of using a CC for the additional theft protection and convenient.

By using C/C you also are creating plausible deniability for your other purchases that you may not want to become known. Your spending pattern will remain the same, of an innocent person. You go to the same grocery stores, you buy gas at the same stations ... except that one case when you bought food at an odd store for cash, and bought gas at a faraway station for cash, since you were visiting a lover and did not want anyone to know.

An existing and unbroken pattern of everyday purchases can also create a false alibi - if it was not you but your brother who bought groceries on that very day when you were away. If your brother doesn't advertise the fact, anyone who pulls your c/c log will find that "you" were in this town on that day, and not somewhere else.

Re:Alternatively... (1)

coaxial (28297) | about a year ago | (#44150563)

You know who else pays in cash? Terrorists. :/

Re:Alternatively... (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about a year ago | (#44150671)

You know what else works just as well as a credit card that is way smaller and lighter than a cell phone, never needs recharging, works literally everywhere and already has proven, well-established limited liability for theft? A fucking credit card.

We live in an age, where people are so addicted to their smartphones, that everything needs done with a smartphone in their eyes.

The whole premise is silly, because most people assume that everyone only has one credit card. I have 4, and have my finances categorized. One card for gasoline, one for general household, one for house related purchases, and one for general living - meals, hotels, business expenses. I can't imagine that is all that rare.

So when I pull out my wallet and pick the card I want to pay with, it takes perhaps 3 seconds. I have to imagine that unlocking the phone, choosing the app, choosing the card, would only take, say 10 times as long?

But we live in a world where one time I had a friend who owuld get cash form an ATM, and he'd expound on how convenient it was, while we wasted 20 minutes of a lunch hour waiting in line for him to get his money.

Smart phone addiction means that using the smartphone is quicker and more convenient, no matter how clumsy or how much more time it takes. It just is, dammit! Addicts can become very upset when their addiction is challenged.

Real convenience would take an implanted chip in your wrist with your entire financial history on it. I'll pass on that too.

Plug (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44148661)

This is a worst plug I have heard in the last couple years.
I don't care if this is Clinkle, Twinkle or Clitkle

Just STFU

no hardware purchase required by merchant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44148753)

They claim no new hardware will be required for the merchant... But then they say they are only targeting merchants near college campuses, so a software purchase is required?

If no new hardware is required, why is it limited in any way? The downfall of all previous attempts at this has been that only *some* merchants accept these new payment methods while *all* merchants accept cash and nearly all accept credit/debit. If there is a chance that you will be somewhere that doesn't accept this new payment method, you still need your wallet. And if you have your wallet... its just so easy to pull out a plastic card and hand it to the cashier, especially if you're juggling merchandise/bags... I can't think of how you could design the app with so little UI interaction so as to be less cumbersome than handing a card over.

Heck I was just at an art festival last week, everything there was cash only (with 4 or 5 ATM "pavillions" scattered throughout). If I'd been trained to not bring my wallet, I would have been out of luck (even entrance to the festival was cash only). Unless all ATMs will be upgraded with whatever software is required to make an ATM spit out cash from this app... That'll happen in 20 years?

Go to Hell, Clinkle (4, Insightful)

nukenerd (172703) | about a year ago | (#44148781)

I followed the link to their website and the first thing up is their demand my email address. WTF? I cannot just browse their site without them demanding my email?

Next thing, they demand I upgrade my browser. That's my business; it's their business to design their website to use HTML standards.

Do these jerks seriously expect people to sign on after a start like that?

Re:Go to Hell, Clinkle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44149095)

It worked for facebook...

Re:Go to Hell, Clinkle (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44149129)

I cannot just browse their site without them demanding my email?

The catch is they don't even have a web site yet. Just a steadily growing mailing list that they'll send out progress reports to until they get a working product. Why on earth anyone would ever sign up for one, I have no idea. But that's what it is.

Next thing, they demand I upgrade my browser. That's my business; it's their business to design their website to use HTML standards.

It's part of the Silicon Valley startup douchebag mindset. They're innovators. They're moving forward. They are progress. They don't want to be tied down to legacy modes and archaic systems. In other words, they have no concept of graceful fallback and only design for their friends using whatever-the-fuck-Google-calls-Chrome-beta-these-days.

Do these jerks seriously expect people to sign on after a start like that?

Some of them probably do, but they really don't care. All they need is something to show a VC (who is, of course, running Chrome beta on a macbook pro), so that the VC thinks "Hey, some hypothetical people somewhere might find that really cool!". Then they need to say that a shitload of people signed up to hear about updates and present it on a nice hockey stick graph. Then they sit around writing blog posts, attending seminars, having lunch with other forward-thinking, progressive innovators while one of those starry eyed college students code monkeys up a prototype in jQuery cobbled together from bits of Stack Overflow. The idea is that sometime before the other shoe drops they'll be able to sell themselves to Yahoo! or Google (who have to buy out of fear that they've actually built something), rinse and repeat.

Re:Go to Hell, Clinkle (1)

pspahn (1175617) | about a year ago | (#44149639)

It's part of the Silicon Valley startup douchebag mindset.

Or! It's part of the mindset that decides it's a better idea to stop supporting old browsers. Whatever their motive, it's their motive. Maybe they want to save money in customer service because they don't want to have to deal with someone like my dad using their product.

Are you still watching Betamax too?

Re:Go to Hell, Clinkle (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about a year ago | (#44149293)

Do these jerks seriously expect people to sign on after a start like that?

Those guys are idiots. This kind of PR is not cheap. They're spending all their newfound investment money on slashadvertisments and huffingtonadvertisements before they even made a properly functioning web site.

Re:Go to Hell, Clinkle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44151493)

I followed the link to their website and the first thing up is their demand my email address. WTF? I cannot just browse their site without them demanding my email?

there's links at the bottom. some of em are pretty cool actually. far as i can tell the email box is to request an invite, it just shows you where you are in line.

Next thing, they demand I upgrade my browser. That's my business; it's their business to design their website to use HTML standards.

HTML standards are constantly evolving. I don't know why you are under the impression that the web does not change, but it most certainly does. It's up to you whether or not you want to follow it, i guess.

Do these jerks seriously expect people to sign on after a start like that?

Looks like they got about 30,000 people since this was put up, so I'm going to go with "yes"

Re:Go to Hell, Clinkle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44151507)

Next thing, they demand I upgrade my browser. That's my business; it's their business to design their website to use HTML standards.

HTML standards are constantly evolving. I don't know why you are under the impression that the web does not change, but it most certainly does. It's up to you whether or not you want to follow it, i guess.

seriously. bulk of their team page is html5 video and canvas. sure wouldn't want to be the sucker roped into making that backwards compatible..

Re:Go to Hell, Clinkle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44151721)

It gets better: once I gave them a fake email address, they complained about my not being logged into facebook so I could "share" their site.

what's the next article? (1)

lkcl (517947) | about a year ago | (#44148801)

what's the very next article right here on slashdot? an article about how the inventor of PGP cannot properly implement ZRTP, a security application for smart phones. clinkle - starting from scratch - on a payment system for smart phones, making it a high-profile target. this is going to end well.

Better sign up now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44148809)

or Clink-le will make you accompany Sgt Shultz to the Russian Front.

Single company solution? (2)

mars-nl (2777323) | about a year ago | (#44148911)

I don't think I ever want a payment system to be in the hands of one single company. In the Netherlands (Europe even) all banks adopted the same standard for electronic debit payments and this works fine. Credit cards are basically in the hands of two companies, MasterCard and Visa, and this sucks because they behave as monopolists.

IMHO an electronic payment system can only starts as a co-operation between many banks/governments or... bottom up, with some open specification invented by people like you.

re Already done (2)

jelizondo (183861) | about a year ago | (#44148921)

Sorry for the link in Spanish, but one of the banks [banorte.com] I use in Mexico already offers an option to pay using my celular instead of my debit/credit card. (Clic on Pago Movil)

I can go to many stores (20,000 according to the bank) and simply clic on an app and the bill is settled electronically.

Another example is token authentication, which is used by all banks for Internet banking in Mexico but is rare (o was until about a year ago) in the US.

Why are U.S. banks so backward?

Re:re Already done (1)

xombo (628858) | about a year ago | (#44148965)

From the CEO's blog post about the product it sounds like this is just an idea he got from what they're already doing in Europe.

I'm surprised anyone invested in this. Though raising $25m for a Stanford student only takes an e-mail sign up page these days.

Re:re Already done (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44149167)

I smell potential patent disaster if it is sucessful then.

Re:re Already done (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44151697)

Example of what's available in Europe (Denmark):

http://www.danskebank.com/en-uk/press/news/news-archives/pages/new-payment-solution-in-denmark.aspx

No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44148931)

Just read this article: "Bitcoin, properly explained [kimmoa.se] "

Re:No. (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | about a year ago | (#44149035)

And what is your point exactly?

As long as your phone doesn't die (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44148973)

It's happened to me at least once.

Will never use it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44148995)

Now that I see who's invested in it, I hope it gets old and crinkly like a 100 year old penis

fucking fag investors, investing in a fag company - Here's to hoping for failure!

Not with that name (1)

Sarusa (104047) | about a year ago | (#44149317)

I'm not using 'Clinkle' any more than I was willing to use 'Beenz'.

$25 million raised? (1)

tchdab1 (164848) | about a year ago | (#44149615)

It's a phone-based credit company with technology that nearly no one understands, and it's quickly raised $25 million. Why does that sound suspicious? Is that charged to Andreessen's phone bill alone? I hope some of it doesn't appear on my elderly mom's phone bill next month.

A solution in search of a problem (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44149717)

Server comes to my table with a wireless credit card machine, swipes it in front of me and hands me back my card. I review the amount and scribble a signature.
Easy as can be

Many places don't even require the signature any longer

My bank handles any fraudulent charges on my behalf, no risk to me

Contrast that to other payment systems, like PayPal, where your money is taken by PayPal and not returned for 6 months. Or a fraudulent use requires jumping through multiple hoops to try to get your money back. Ever try to close an account at PayPal? Sorry, we've "permanently limited your account" so you aren't allowed to EVER close it.

I'll stick with credit cards, they work great, earn rewards and are cheap and simple to use.

why? (2)

cas2000 (148703) | about a year ago | (#44150197)

why would anyone want to replace their credit card with their mobile phone, anyway?

what problem does it solve? what benefit does it give?

there are numerous security and privacy reasons why this is a bad idea but I can't think of even one reason why anyone would want it, or why it might be a good - or even useful - idea.

Heard this song before (2)

MountainLogic (92466) | about a year ago | (#44150729)

But a prominent group of Silicon Valley investors who do know what Clinkle is cooking up are acting as though it has achieved a breakthrough.

Was this the brain trust that told us breathlessly that "Ginger" was going to redefine civilization?

Is there a problem? (2)

wakeboarder (2695839) | about a year ago | (#44150843)

Why does my wallet need replacing? It does everything I need it to, and more importantly, it allows me to control my money via more physical means. I'm fine with swiping cards. Cash is fine too. The best part about it is I don't have to give my info to another third party who is going to find ways to take my money.

Already been done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44150859)

I don't see the big deal, it's already being done by Salt Technology [http://salt.com]

I've figured it out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44152229)

I wrote a blog post with my speculation. TL;DR is that it lets you buy cash from other Clinkle users who have it. It's a decentralized social ATM system. http://ericrie.se/blog/?p=18

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