David Knezic finished building a machine called Sweetbit on 27 May 2018 which dispenses candy in exchange for Bitcoin, and it proves the practicality, efficiency, and seamlessness of using Bitcoin as a currency. The video demonstrating Sweetbit can be found in the below tweet:
Just finished my Bitcoin-enabled candy dispenser pic.twitter.com/pU2xJdBIyx
— David Knezić (@davidknezic) May 27, 2018
In the video, David Knezic scans a QR code attached to the Sweetbit machine with a Bitcoin wallet on his mobile phone, and this instantly tells his wallet which address to send the Bitcoin to. Using QR codes is an excellent way to avoid errors when sending Bitcoin, since missing one letter or number in a Bitcoin address can result in your Bitcoin payment getting lost.
He then enters the amount he wants to pay for the candy, in this example he uses 1 Swiss Franc (CHF). The transaction fee is 0.09 CHF, which is a bit less than the current average transaction fee of 0.19 CHF (USD and CHF are at parity as of this writing). Bitcoin transaction fees have been much higher than this in the recent past, and in general, a solution like the Lightning Network is needed to ensure Bitcoin micropayments will be feasible over a long term.
Within seconds of sending the Bitcoin, the Sweetbit machine dispenses the candy, showing just how incredibly fast and seamless a Bitcoin transaction can be. David Knezic designed it so that it dispenses exactly how much candy you pay for. Sweetbit uses information directly from blockchain.info to see if any payments come in, and is set to dispense candy as soon as a transaction comes in and does not wait for any confirmations.
Most merchants wait for at least 1 confirmation on a Bitcoin transaction before giving a customer the goods or services they paid for, to prevent being scammed by double spend transactions from a 51% attack. Realistically though a 51% attack would take an incredible amount of mining power to perform successfully, and it is unfathomable that someone would do a 51% attack to rip off a candy machine. Generally, for micropayments like candy, coffee, and beer there is no need to wait for confirmations.
David Knezic made the code for Sweetbit open source and released it on GitHub. He says he is looking to develop a similar program which uses the Bitcoin Lightning Network, which can process far more transactions per second at a lower fee.
This sort of technology is what’s needed for Bitcoin to become a global currency. The Sweetbit video shows how Bitcoin can be more efficient than cash or card. With Bitcoin, you can simply scan a QR code with your phone and purchase a product instantly.
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