In August 2013 I developed a mobile, automated fluid dispenser that accepted bitcoin as the payment mechanism. You can learn more about this device by watching the
video below. The demonstrations in the video use diesel fuel as the working fluid.
You can also watch the video directly on you tube, if you prefer. https://youtu.be/YGBZxWOwkh4
Demonstration Device Details
- Pump: 12 volt direct current (DC) gear pump
- Other pump types could also be used based on the fluid and flow rate requirements.
- Flow Measurement: axial turbine flow meter
- Other flow meter types could also be used based on the fluid, flow rate, and accuracy requirements of the sale.
- Control Electronics:
- Power: 110-240 volts alternating current (AC), 50-60 Hertz (currently wired to a 12 volt direct current to 120 volt alternating current inverter)
- Network Connection: ethernet, connected to an ethernet to IEEE 802.11g wireless network adapter
- User Interface: web/HTML based pump status page + controller LCD touchscreen
- Pump status web page is displayed on a tablet PC running the Linux operating system and the Firefox web browser.
- Payment Process: Fluid is prepaid in bitcoin by making payment to the bitcoin address encoded into a two-dimensional barcode (a quick response (QR) code))
that is displayed on the web based pump status
page on a dedicated screen, or by loading the web based pump status page directly on the customer's device and activating a bitcoin:
link which includes the bitcoin address. A unique bitcoin address is presented for each transaction. When payment is made to this unique bitcoin address, a certain quantity of fluid is authorized to be
pumped based on the current rate of sale which is established by the fluid vendor. When the sale is complete, change may be returned back to the sending bitcoin address
if the total credit is unused. Connections to the bitcoin network are managed by the web server that presents the pump status web page.
- Internet Connection: Cellular 3G, using an Android cellular phone and a wireless tethering application.
- Other modern internet connections such as cable, DSL, fiber optic, or satellite would also be acceptable.
- Demonstration Vehicle: 1985 Toyota Pickup 4x4, with a 2L-T diesel engine and a custom made flat bed
Possible Applications of a Bitcoin Based Fluid Dispenser
- Fuel stations where gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene, biodiesel, methanol, ethanol, compressed natural gas, or propane are sold.
- Water delivery trucks for areas where city water is not available and a family may consume more water than their cistern or well collects.
- Propane or fuel oil delivery trucks that provide fuel for home or business heating.
- Aviation gasoline or jet fuel delivery trucks at airports.
- Diesel fuel delivery trucks for farms, construction sites, or backup generators.
- Bulk dispensing of milk and honey by producers directly to consumers. Think of all the milk containers you waste every week! Wouldn't it be great to reuse
containers and buy fresh milk locally, rather than from who knows where?
- The sale of craft beer.
Advantages of a Bitcoin Based Fluid Dispenser
- The transaction is instant between the buyer and the seller.
- A charge back or double spend is very unlikely after about 1 hour of the bitcoin network confirming the transaction.
- The seller does not need to limit the sale total per purchase, such as commonly done with credit card sales.
- Compared to a bitcoin ATM, individuals can use bitcoins to purchase something useful. No palm scanner, drivers license, or personal information must be shared with the seller.
- Transaction fees are typically a small fraction of 1 percent of the transaction total, whereas traditional credit card companies typically charge several percent of the transaction total. More value
remains within the local community.
- No cash needs to be stored at the point of sale and no cash needs to be transferred from the point of sale at the end of the business day.
- The person receiving the fluid doesn't necessarily need to be the the one making payment. Payment can be made for the fluid from a remote location.
- A fluid dispensing device can utilize the existing cellular, satellite, or land based internet connection infrastructure.
- Water and home heating fuel companies don't necessarily need to refuse doing business with individuals with a poor credit history because the payment will be made upon delivery.
- The payment network and the currency are global. No need for exchanging currencies when conducting business in multiple jurisdictions or when traveling. Greater competition in the global
marketplace because the cost of all goods will be compared using a universal medium of exchange.
- The payment network is based on advanced cryptographic techniques. Ever wonder what security mechanism is protecting bank account and credit card accounts from unauthorized
withdrawals? I'm still wondering.
- The payment network doesn't close at the end of the business day.
- The bitcoin software is open source. Every user of the bitcoin network has a copy of every transaction. There are no secret transactions or secret money printing. The money supply increases
at a controlled and predictable rate.
- The payment network is distributed. There is no single point of failure or censorship. Bitcoin can't be manipulated or inflated by any central authority.
- The purchasing power of bitcoin can be anchored to diverse set of physical commodities that are regularly consumed by society, and not just a handful of unstable, centralized currency exchanges
or collectible commodities such as gold and silver.
- You can learn more about bitcoin at bitcoin.org