One of the major Bitcoin stories of the past week has been on whether or not Uber is planning to integrate Bitcoin payments in the future. Whereas it was hinted at first that Bitcoin integration is on the to-do list, Uber quickly decided to counter that statement with an official press release. However, that is not keeping Uber drivers from collecting Bitcoin tips.
Uber Drivers See The Benefits of Bitcoin
Even though Uber is one of the world’s most popular – and hated – decentralized services to this very date, their choice of payment methods strikes many people as rather odd. Granted, customers need to have a convenient way of paying for their rides, and by integrating mobile payments, Uber has taken a big step in the right direction.
However, relying on a failing financial ecosystem by only accepting bank accounts and credit cards as methods of payment linked to an Uber account, is not the best idea. Additionally, both of these services leave a paper trail, and most Uber customers aren’t looking forward to giving their bank information on which services they use and how often this occurs.
However, it doesn’t look like Uber will be integrating Bitcoin payments any time soon. The reason for that has not been disclosed to us at the time of publication, but it may have to do with the level of Bitcoin adoption around the world. Although, using Bitcoin as an alternative method would still be a great idea, as it opens up Uber for a worldwide market, even in unbanked parts of the world.
What makes this story truly interesting is the fact that Uber drivers are not even supposed to ask for tips from people they transport. It isn’t a written law that Uber drivers are not allowed to do so, but you can see why the overarching company would rather not see these practices take place.
But here is the twist: Uber drivers are allegedly required to refuse a tip offered by a customer. Should that customer propose the tip a second time, they are technically allowed to accept it, as they stuck to Uber’s guidelines. Tipping Uber drivers is a very rare occurrence, but if more and more drivers print out a Bitcoin QR code in their car, they may receive a few more tips during the day or night.
Note from the Author: there is a good reason why Uber drivers are discouraged from asking for tips. Every time a customer is picked up, the Uber application adds a default 20% tip to the total amount owed. Asking for tips on top of that could lead to less and less people wanting to use Uber, as they are tipping the driver twice.
Setting Up Automatic Debits For Bitcoin Transactions
For Uber to officially integrate Bitcoin payments into their system, something will have to change. Right now, there is no way to “directly debit” Bitcoins from a user’s wallet, which is a conflict when it comes to using the Uber app. This is why linking a credit card or bank account is more convenient for the company, as both of these payment methods allow direct debiting.
But this could spur on developers to create a new breed of micropayments. Rather than debiting the entire amount at once, why not create a way to let earnings “trickle in”, based on the amount of distance covered? This way, the driver and the customer would not have to worry about manual Bitcoin payments, and no chunk of coins is deducted from a wallet in one go.
Images courtesy of Uber, Reddit