Best Crypto Trading Bots 2020 – Automated Crypto Profits!

Bittrex Review: One of the First Crypto Exchanges| Final Part

Bittrex Review: One of the First Crypto Exchanges| Final Part

4. Transaction Fees

Transferring funds across the blockchain and withdrawing them from Bittrex costs a fee for customers, with the rate unique for every coin.
Bittrex Global charges no commission for deposits. Please keep in mind that some tokens or cash may be required to perform a transaction by a crypto coin or token’s community. Bittrex crypto exchange can’t keep away from it.
Every token or coin has a blockchain transaction fee that is built in it, and the Bittrex fee is a small amount to cover this charge. You can view the fee percentage for every coin or token by clicking Withdrawal near to the coin. There you will see a transaction fee you will be charged for withdrawing a specific coin or token.
In the example below, the withdrawal fee amounts to 1 USDT
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The transaction fee for Bitcoin came to 0.00050000 BTC
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5. Trading Fees

The fee schedule below provides the applicable rate based on the account's 30-Day Volume and if the order is a maker or taker.
Bittrex Global Fee30 Day Volume (USD)MakerTaker$0k - $50k0.2%0.2%$50k - $1M0.12%0.18%$1M - $10M0.05%0.15%$10M - $60M0.02%0.1%$60M+0%0.08%>$100MContact TAM representative
Trading expenses are incurred when an order is prepared by means of the Bittrex worldwide matching engine. While an order is being executed, the purchaser and the vendor are charged a rate primarily based on the order’s amount. The fee charged by Bittrex exchange is calculated by the formula amount * buy rate * fee. There aren't any charges for placing an order which is not being executed so far. Any portion of an unfinished order will be refunded completely upon order cancelation.
Prices vary depending on the currency pair, monthly trade volume, and whether the order is a maker or taker. Bittrex reserves the right to alternate fee quotes at any time, including offering various discounts and incentive packages.

Monthly Volume

Your buying and selling volume affects the fee you pay for every order. Our expenses are built to encourage customers who ensure liquidity in the Bittrex crypto exchange markets. Your buying and selling charges are reduced according to your trade volume for the last 30 years in dollars.
Bittrex calculates the 30-day value every day, updating every account's volume calculation and buying and selling charge between of 12:30 AM UTC and 01:30 AM UTC every day.
You can check your monthly trade volume by logging in and opening Account > My Activity.
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6. Withdrawing Funds

Withdrawing any type of funds is likewise simple. You can profit by buying and selling Bitcoin, Ether, or any other cryptocurrency.
You determine the crypto address—to which the amount will be credited—and the transaction amount. The withdrawal fee will be automatically calculated and shown right away.
After confirming the transaction, the finances will be sent to the specified addresses and all that you need to do is to wait for the community to confirm the transaction.
If the 2FA is enabled, then the user receives a special code (via SMS or application) to confirm the withdrawal.

7. How to Trade on Bittrex Global

Currency selling and buying transactions are performed using the Sell and Buy buttons, accordingly.
To begin with, the dealer selects a currency pair and sees a graph of the rate dynamics and different values for the pair.
Below the chart, there is a section with orders where the user can buy or sell a virtual asset.
To create an order, you just need to specify the order type, price, and quantity. And do not forget about the 0.25% trade fee whatever the quantity.
For optimum profit, stay with liquid assets as they can be quickly sold at a near-market rate effective at the time of the transaction. Bittrex offers no referral program; so buying and selling crypto is the easiest way to earn.
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Order Types

Bittrex helps you alternate Limit and Stop-Limit orders.
A limit order or a simple limit order is performed when the asset fee reaches—or even exceeds—the price the trader seeks. To execute such an order, it is required that there's a counter market order on the platform that has the identical fee as the limit order.

Differences between Limit Order and Stop Limit Order

A stop limit order is a mixture of a stop limit order and a limit order. In such an application, charges are indicated—a stop charge and the limit.

Stop Limit Order Purpose

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Trade Terminal

Let’s discuss how you could trade conveniently with our service.
The key features include a user-friendly interface and precise currency pair statistics (timeframe graphs, network data, trade volumes, and so forth).
The platform’s top-notch advantage is handy, easy-to-analyze, customizable charts. There is also a column for quick switching between currency pairs and an order panel beneath the fee chart. Such an all-encompassing visual solution helps compare orders efficiently and in one place.
You can use the terminal in a day or night mode; when in the night mode, the icon in the upper-right corner changes and notice the Bittrex trading terminal in night mode is displayed. The main menu consists of 4 sections: Markets, Orders, Wallets, Settings.
Markets are the trade section. Bittrex allows handling over 270 currency pairs.
Orders. To see all open orders, go to OrdersOpen.
To see completed orders, go to OrdersCompleted.
Wallets. The Wallets tab displays many wallets for all cryptocurrencies supported by the exchange and the current balance of each of them.
After refilling the balance or creating a buy or sale order, you will see all actions in the section. Bittrex allows creating a separate wallet for every coin. Additionally, you can see how the coin price has changed, in terms of percentage, throughout the day.
Here’s what you can also do with your wallets:
  • Hide zero balances: hide currencies with zero balance
  • Green and red arrows: replenish balance/withdraw funds
  • Find: search for a cryptocurrency
The Settings section helps manage your account, verification, 2FA, password modification, API connection, and many more.

How to Sell

The process of selling crypto assets follows the same algorithm. The only difference is that after choosing the exchange direction, you need to initiate a Sell order. All the rest is similar: you select the order type, specify the quantity and price, and click Sell *Currency Name* (Sell Bitcoin in our case).
If you scroll the screen, the entire history of trades and orders will be displayed below.

LONG and SHORT

You can make a long deal or a short deal. Your choice depends on whether you expect an asset to fall or rise in price.
Long positions are a classic trading method. It concerns purchasing an asset to profit when its value increases. Long positions are carried out through any brokers and do not require a margin account. In this case, the trader’s account must have enough funds to cover the transaction.
Losses in a long position are considered to be limited; no matter when the trade starts, the price will not fall below zero with all possible errors. Short positions, in contrast, are used to profit from a falling market. A trader buys a financial instrument from a broker and sells it. After the price reaches the target level, the trader buys back the assets or buys them to pay off the initial debt to the broker.
A short position yields profit if the price falls, and it is considered unprofitable the price matches the asset value. Performing a short order requires a margin account as a trader borrows valuable assets from a broker to complete a transaction. Long transactions help gain from market growth; short from a market decline.

Trade via API

Bittrex also supports algorithmic trading through extensive APIs (application programming interface), which allows you to automate the trading process using third-party services.
To create an API key, the user must enable the two-factor authentication 2FA, verify their account, and log in to the site within 3 minutes.
If all the requirements of the system are fulfilled, you can proceed to generate the API key. Log in to your Bittrex account, click Settings. Find API Keys. Click Add new key (Create a new key).
Toggle on / off settings for READ INFO, TRADE, or WITHDRAW, depending on what functionality you want to use for our API key.
Click Save and enter the 2FA code from the authenticator → Confirm.
The secret key will be displayed only once and will disappear after the page is refreshed. Make sure you saved it!
To delete an API key, click X in the right corner for the key that you want to delete, then click Save, enter the 2FA code from the authenticator and click Confirm.

Bittrex Bot, a Trader’s Assistant

Robotized programs that appeared sometimes after the appearance of cryptocurrency exchanges save users from monotonous work and allow automating the trading process.
Bots for trading digital money work like all the other bots: they perform mechanical trading according to the preset parameters.
Currently, one of Bittrex’s most popular trading bots is Bittrex Flash Crash Buyer Bot that helps traders profit from altcoin volatility without missing the right moment.
The program monitors all the market changes in the market every second; also, it even can place an order in advance. The Bittrex bot can handle a stop loss—to sell a certain amount of currency when the rate changes in a favorable direction and reaches a certain level.

8. Secure Platform

Bittrex Global employs the most reliable and effective security technologies available. There are many cases of theft, fraud. It is no coincidence that the currency is compared to the Wild West, especially if we compare the 1800s when cowboys rushed to the West Coast of America to earn and start something new in a place that had no rules.
Cryptocurrency is still wild. One can earn and lose money fast. But Bittrex has a substantial security policy thanks to the team’s huge experience in security and development for companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, Qualys, and Blackberry.
The system employs an elastic, multi-stage holding strategy to ensure that the majority of funds are kept in cold storage for extra safety.
Bittrex Global also enables the two-factor authentication for all users and provides a host of additional security features to provide multiple layers of protection.
Bittrex cold wallet: https://bitinfocharts.com/en/bitcoin/address/385cR5DM96n1HvBDMzLHPYcw89fZAXULJP

How to Pass IP Verification

To ensure higher security of your Bittrex Global account, the system requires all users to approve each new IP address through an email confirmation. This IP verification procedure is required every time you attempt to log in from a new IP Address.
Confirming your IP address.
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The new IP address must be confirmed from the device that you are using to access Bittrex Global. This means that you must follow the CLICK HERE TO LOGIN link in an email on the device that you want to use to access your account.
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To ensure even more security, Bittrex Global supports whitelisting of IP addresses and Crypto addresses. These two features can help protect the account in the event of credentials or API key loss.

How to Add IP Address to Whitelist

By setting one or more whitelisted addresses, you are telling Bittrex Global to only authorize trades or withdrawals from those IPs. This concerns both the global.bittrex.com web interface and API-based trades or withdrawals. To do this, click IP Whitelist in Site Settings.
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How to Add Crypto Address to Whitelist

By setting a withdrawal address, you are telling Bittrex Global to authorize withdrawals only to that address.
This concerns both the global.bittrex.com web interface and API based withdrawals.
Note that when opting into this feature, you need to specify a withdrawal address would like to withdraw funds from for every currency. To do this, click Withdrawal Whitelist in the Site Settings section. The example below shows a BTC address.
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Afterword

Bittrex Global is a reliable and advanced platform for trading digital assets with a respected reputation, long history, and active market presence and development nowadays. The exchange is eligible to be used globally, including the US and its territories.
The legal component of Bittrex Global is one of the most legitimate among numerous crypto-asset exchanges.
The Bittrex team has had great ambitions and managed to deliver promises and more. The exchange staff comprises forward-thinking and exceptional individuals whose success is recognized in the traditional business and blockchain sector.
Bittrex's purpose is to be the driving force in the blockchain revolution, expanding the application, importance, and accessibility of this game-changing technology worldwide.
The exchange fosters new and innovative blockchain and related projects that could potentially change the way money and assets are managed globally.
Alongside innovation, safety will always be the main priority of the company. The platform utilizes the most reliable and effective practices and available technologies to protect user accounts. Bittrex customers have always primarily been those who appreciate the highest degree of security.
Because of the way the Bittrex trading platform is designed, it can easily scale to always provide instant order execution for any number of new customers.
Bittrex supports algorithmic trading and empowers its customers with extensive APIs for more automated and profitable trading.
One of the common features which is not available on the exchange is margin trading. No leverage used however adds up to the exchange's stability and prevents fast money seekers and risky traders from entering the exchange.
Bittrex is a force of the blockchain revolution and an important entity of the emerging sector.
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[Table] IAmA: I sell on ebay for a living. Ask me anything.

Verified? (This bot cannot verify AMAs just yet)
Date: 2013-08-22
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Questions Answers
What's the weirdest thing you've sold? How many hours would you say you work per week? What's the most valuable thing you've sold? Weirdest, that's hard to say since I collect oddities myself. Vintage jock straps would make the list. Link to imgur.com Link to imgur.com
Why were these links already purple for me? They were on the front page of WTF a few weeks back so maybe you looked at them back then.
Annual gross sales? Net profit? Where do you buy your stuff from? $110,000, $60,000 and I buy mostly at auction.
Does it get exhausting ALWAYS having to look for new product? Sometimes. That's honestly the easiest part though. The shipping is the biggest pain.
What's the shipping process like, especially on your bigger items? And how do you deal with having to potentially ship multiple big items around the same time? Sometimes I will spend an entire day just packaging. I bubble wrap my item and then put an two inch layer of foam cubes all the way around. Sometimes I will have to re-size a box or two.
What was the Black Keys experience like? And does it provide a steady income or does it come in spurts instead? It's all about averages. I sold the Black Keys a very rare drum machine. I shipped it to their studio but never talked to any of them.
How did you know it was them? One of their names was on the account and it was being shipped to the studio where they were recording in Nashville.
Have you ever been dicked by PayPal or ebay? Oh yea.
Elaborate … It's happened more than once. I had one customer who eBay allowed to return a package that they had accidentally run over with their car. The customer claimed that the post office had delivered it that way but I talked to their postmaster who said that was not the case.
That is not that bad compared to some stuff I have heard. This one guy sold a tape machine for >$5000 and the buyer claimed he never got it, and then the buyer got a full refund without any argument. I've had customers try to rip me off for more but I won the cases.
Do you have a lawyer or something, or you just spend hours on the phone arguing? On occasion I've been able to point out to them that the buyer is leaving a large amount of negative feedback which indicates fraud. In short though, you have to waist a lot of time on the phone talking to them.
Do you think if eBay where to start accepting bitcoin as a usable currency on their site that you would accept them for your transactions? I doubt it. ebay owns paypal so I think they want to keep as much of the profits as possible.
What sale has been the most special to you and why? I remember one customer who purchased a Christmas ornament from me. They were really excited and thankful because it was one that they had had before their house burned down.
Do you have any advice for people wanting to sell big ticket items ($500+ such as iPads, computers, cameras, etc.)? The last time I sold on ebay, I was scammed out of an iPad. The buyer claimed SNAD, by saying that I sent him and empty iPad box. Of course Paypal sided with him after I appealed the claim. What has been your strategy towards mitigating fraud? That's a hard one. Although in recent years ebay has gotten better at dealing with fraud it is still a pain in the neck to deal with their support team. There is no sure fire way to avoid fraud. Always buy insurance and if you are worried about fraud you can take additional steps like taking video the item working and taking pictures of your packaging process. When you have an issue with fraud also check the buyers feedback and feedback given to see if you can see a history of fraud. This can help when talking to an ebay rep.
How did you find your niche? I don't have a niche per say. I've found that it is better to have a well rounded knowledge. If you buy enough of any item though you will become more and more familiar with it.
If you had to set a standardised size for italian meatballs, What would be the diameter (in cm) of said meatballs? 2"
What are your primary marketing resources? Search marketing? FB? Newsletters? Word of mouth? Anything else? How much are your marketing costs? I don't do any marketing of my own. ebay spends a huge amount of money marketing their auctions. I don't do many consignments so it doesn't matter if people know who I am.
But you sell only very niche, special interest items. How do people find your stuff if you don't advertise it? Are there people searching specifically for the book 1639 The Use of The Lord Verulam Viscount English Law Book 17th Century? Not many if any. That's why the key words "English Law Book 17th Century" are in the title. Some items take a long long time to sell. I do sell other items such as cameras and audio equipment that sell much quicker as they have a much broader appeal. I also keep 400-500 items listed because like you said, there aren't many people looking for some of my items.
What's a good week's worth of income for you? About how many hours a day do you work? I try to make a profit of about $1,200 a week. I don't always work the same number of hours but I probably work 40-50.
That[s pretty good I would think that this would take a lot longer like 80-100, good job. Was it way longer at the start until you got 'faster' or always like that. I've only done this full time for 3 years so I had lots of time to practice while I sold part time. I was much slower when I started but luckily I didn't have to do it to make a living at that point.
How old are you? How far do you expect to grow this business? Will you be making six figures next year? What uni did you attend. I am 32. I will not be making six figures next year. I am still a few years away from that. I attended Cincinnati State. My degree is in Graphic Design. I was a graphic designer for 5 years.
Did you start your business out of necessity or out of opportunity? I was 18 when I started. My brother was 16 and we sold as partners. We've always been hustlers so we saw it as a fun opportunity.
Worst thing that happened to you during a sale? How about worst purchase. I once purchased hundreds of brand new shoes of of craigslist with plans of reselling them. Turned out, none of them matched.
Were they supposed to match? If they were what did you do? They were supposed to match but were just in a couple of giant boxes. There wasn't really anything I could do because after I noticed there was no way to find the buyer.
Sucks man. Well maybe someone else got the same shipment except they got the other shoes instead lol. Ha ha, I think they were display shoes from a store.
How bad is paypal to deal with? Terrible if their is an issue. They are getting better though.
What does eBay charge you for each listing? What about PayPal? It depends on what category that you list in. This calculator can help you figure that out Link to www.newlifeauctions.com
Do you have to file taxes in every state with income/franchise taxes? I assume you have a CPA that handles it. No, I only have to file taxes in the state of my residence.
Are you expecting a massive drop when the laws change regarding online sales? No. A large percentage of my customers are fairly wealthy.
Why did you stop graphic designing? It didn't pay enough, my boss was a jerk, and I hated working regular hours.
I'm guessing less than 60k then? Yes, far less. I was worth a lot more but it was a tough market.
How can I get started? Start by selling small things that you have sitting around your house. Don't go big, start small and work your way up.
What if I run out of things to sell? Do I buy things online and sell for a higher $$? Yes.
Any good items to sell for starters? Cameras? furniture? antiques? Stick with what you now best. Do your research on recent ebay sales of the same item to figure out how much you will make.
What kind of auctions do you buy from? Any tips for sellers that you can give us? I buy mostly from estate and consignment auctions. My best tip is research, research, research. When you buy don't be impulsive. Know your market.
Do you have a target market? I always wondered if it would be wise to try to market to a niche on ebay or just put all sorts of things out there. Ebay has gotten so big, it attracts a diverse crowd looking for all kinds of goods. I sell a huge variety of items so my target market varies from item to item. If you have an eBay store you can ad categories so if a person finds one of your items they can easy find other like items that you have for sale. You can also list in your sales that you offer combined shipping to encourage people to buy more than one thing.
Interesting, I've been seriously considering hustling and makin some money by going around to garage sales in my area. You can get some great deals. Once I bought a 5.1 receiver for $5 and then turned around and sold it to a friend for $30. I imagine I could extend that to ebay. If you have some free time and a little extra money I say give it a shot. Plus the hunt can be fun.
Do customers try to scam you ever? Occasionally but it is rare. That happens more with consumer electronics while I deal more with vintage, antique, and business.
Do you list items for sale that you are interested in buying beforehand, to see if you can make profit? No I do not. That's a dangerous game of chicken and violates ebay policy.
Do you pay federal income tax? Has the IRS every given you a hard time? I do. I've not had any issues.
Is it worth it? The commission they take must be ridiculous! How do you protect yourself from fraudulent buyers. I've heard ebay is very buyer biased. You have to calculate the fees when purching things for resale. It it is always worth it for me. Make sure you insure your packages, take lots of pictures, and don't be afraid to block a buyer.
Any tips you'd like to add? I'm a 15yo who does the occasional sell on ebay so would love some! Thanks! :) My tip would be to do your research. Check completed items to figure out what the average sale price of an item is. And if you need to check fees use a fee calculator like this one Link to www.newlifeauctions.com
How much would you take for your 6ft Mid Century Industrial Age Machine Work Bench w/ Cast Iron Legs & 2 Drawers? I think I almost broke my back moving that monster. I'm open to offers. If you picked it up it would be less.
How to you figure out what to charge for shipping ahead of time? Do you ship all items even oversized ones? I use a postal scale to estimate shipping costs. For items over 80lbs you have to use a freight service.
Vague answer. Care to elaborate? Sorry, when you are listing an item you have the choice to either choose flat rate, estimated, or freight. For most items I choose estimated. I weigh the item, ad what I estimate the packing material will weight (it depends on the size but generally a pound or two) enter that information on the form, and ad a handling charge to cover insurance and packing material. For items listed as freight the buyer has to contacted me and I get a quote from my rep at freightquote.com
When is the best day and time to end a auction item? It depends on what you are selling. I would normally try to end on any day but Friday or Saturday, early evening.
What's the largest amount of profit you made from a single sale? Probably $2,000.
How much 'time off' do you give yourself? And what do you do about listings when you're on vacation? Don schedule any to end during that time? I sell mostly store items so when I go out of town I shut down my store sales. I've taken two weeks off this Summer.
Ever made a substantial loss on something? Not more than a few hundred.
Whats the most profitable item youve sold? I once made over 2k off of an accordion.
What's the beat and cheapest place to ship from? Box supplies also? Thank you. I ship using USPS. UPS is generally cheaper for large items. I get a lot of my boxes and supplies from friends and family but when I buy them I use Link to amshipping.com
Where do you store all this stuff? Currently at my house.
Can you explain your process, maybe give us a run down on your workflow? Do you have a minimum ratio you are looking for? How you minimize shipping costs? When you say you buy at auction, does that include ebay? If so, primarily ebay? I start my week by making a list of all of the auctions that I plan on researching. After that it's pretty much just buying, listing, shipping. It's not the same everyday. My profit margin depends on how much has to be invested in the item, estimated time it takes to turn it over, and the difficulty in shipping it. Higher priced items generally have a lower margin of profit. I buy everything from audio equipment to books at auctions. I don't buy to resell on eBay.
I notice you do pretty much everything as a Buy-It-Now/Make Offer -- there's only nine things as an auction listing. Is there a reason for that? In recent years it's been my experience that for most items buy it nows get you the most money. The issue I have is a lot of my items are high dollar, niche items. There may only be a couple of people looking for them so if I sell them at auction I run the risk of them going very cheap.
Also: wifey and I are antique dealers, and so are my in-laws, and our experience, my inlaw's experience, and even what we hear from other dealers is that eBay sales are way, way down for antiques. What do you think you're doing different that keeps the sales coming? I stay on top of buying trends. What people are buying is constantly changing. People in their 30s and 40s are now major buyers while people in their 70s and 80s are dying. Therefore the prices for things from the 1980s are up while things from the 1950s are way down. I don't just buy based on what I was able to sell 5 years ago. I check the current prices.
What method should I use to pay the ebay sellers fee? - Paypal or by Debit? I use paypal which is directly linked to my checking account. That way I if transferred all of my funds out of my paypal it can pull it from my checking. Both Debit and Paypal will essentially work the same way though. The only issue would be if you didn't have any money when the bill was automatically paid.
What is your opinion on the eBay Buyer Protection? Do you ever get buyers who will receive an item, say it was not received as described, try to get a refund, send the item back and then turns out nothing was wrong with the item? Buyer protection is pretty one sided. I had a package sent back once that was "not as described" that was never opened. I've also had people try to work the system for a refund while keeping the item. Luckily though most buyers are honest.
You've said that you mainly get your items from auctions? I've spent a lot of time watching Auction related shows on Discovery but I've never been there myself. I'd like to try acquire an item there and then resell it on ebay? Can I get an interesting product at an auction for around 100 pounds (~155 USD) Can you share some of your auction techniques? Such as how do you know that a particular item you're bidding on will sell at a bigger price? Thanks. I don't buy at storage auctions. Plus those shows are rather scripted and set unrealistic expectations. A lot of estate auctions will have a list of some of the items that will be up for sale that you can get in advance or there will be a preview before the auction starts. Write down the items of interest and then search ebay for those items to see what recent sales have ended at.
I have an old Spirograph set that I'd like to sell on Ebay. Have never done that before, could you tell me how to go about that? Do I have to type in a lot of info, or is it all automatic? I mean, how do I get paid for instance? What do I need to set up? You will have to set up a paypal and an ebay seller account. You will have to type in all of the information yourself. The process from start to finish is too much to type out but they will walk you through it. You will get paid through paypal and then have the option to transfer it to your bank account.
Why are you currently selling women uniform shirts? Why not?
What would you say is your least favorite thing about eBay? And in your opinion, what would be the best thing eBay could change to help benefit the sellers? The high fees. The best fix would be to either lower the fees or to change the way that they deal with buyer complaints.
Do you operate under an official business? If so, what type? I pay taxes under my name. At this point I've not seen the advantages of becoming an LLC.
What do you sell primarily? I sell a lot of antique books and vintage audio equipment.
I'm always looking to expand and branch out. I sell online too. My sales are nothing compared to your sales. My goal is to have a six figure salary before I am thirty, that I have created myself. Last year, I got 1/5th of the way. This year, I look to surpass that. Do you import a lot of goods to resale? I really try to stay away from that. What do your products really include? Do you hate the IRS as much as I do? I buy all of my items locally. And yes, I hate the IRS. I pay them way too much money.
How did you get started? I attended an auction with my mother and my brother when I was 18 and my brother was 16. We have both always been hustlers to some degree and this seemed like a fun way to make some money. We started off dealing mostly in vintage board and video games.
When exporting to place's outside of the US e.g. countries in the EU have you ever been screwed over by the exchange rate or import tax? I have not. Paypal converts foreign currency to USD before it goes into my account. The buyer is responsible for all import taxes.
How do you deal with storage for all of the merchandise, packing materials ect. and do you pack and ship yourself? Any tips on making that a smooth or at least decent experience? I'll admit, I'm not really that good at this. I did purchase another building to put my inventory in but it is not yet ready for the move. I do most of the packaging myself but I do higher some family members from time to time to work for me.
I see on eBay too for a living, but my average sold item is $31, so I have to do a lot more volume. Been using eBay since 1998. How do you feel about the lack of power that sellers have now? Have you ever been scammed by a buyer taking advantage of the "Buyer Protection Program"? The buyer does have too much power. I agree. Fortunately ebay has recently taken steps towards fixing that. They aren't there yet though. It doesn't happen often but I have been scammed on a couple occasions. I have also won cases as well.
Does the international shipping charges depend on what country you're shipping to, or is it a flat rate or something? It varies by country. There are also different shipping restrictions for each country.
Do you use terapeak? How do you SEO your titles and listings? I do not. I generally search complete items and see what key words were used to fetch the highest price. Sometimes some creative thinking works just as well.
How much time do you spend working daily? Are your hours predictable? I probably average 8. Its not real predictable as it is determined but where I am buying from that day and what inventory I have to list and ship.
Would you trust people selling pills on eBay? Do you think a lot of them are fake? I wasn't ware that there were people selling pills on ebay. I would look at their feedback to see if they have a history of satisfied customers.
Do you use flat rate boxes or plain boxes? What's the cheapest way to ship non-media items? I use plain boxes. Flat rate priority can be a savings if you are either mailing heavy smaller items or you ship a lot to far away places.
What percent profit would you say you have on each item you sell? There is no standard. It varies from 25% to 200,000%
Funny that this is an AMA right now - this is my SO's store. Link to stores.ebay.com. Within the past few weeks he has been begging me to quit my full time job and work with him and I'm very tempted, your thoughts after quitting? Was it a good decision? It's certainly not for everyone but I've never regretted it.
Do you have health insurance? No.
Any advice for people who would want to sell manufactured items, i.e. cell phone cases, how do you go about starting this up? Where do you find people to produce items for you? This is outside my area of expertise. Sorry.
What freight service do you use? I use freightquote.com
What made you start selling on eBay for a living? I sold on ebay on the side for 12 years. I was a graphic designer and I just got tired of working for someone that I didn't like for pay that wasn't what it should be. So I quit and started working full time selling on ebay.
If you were to sell products that are fairly commonplace, is there any way to get your listing to consistently appear higher in search results, or do you list so many that you get more people coming to your channel? Yes, you have to earn the "top rated seller" status. When you search by "best match" it puts the sellers with a "top rated seller" status at the top. Link to pages.ebay.com
What was the most valuable/unique thing you've ever sold? Most valuable would be a set of coins that I sold for $5,600. Most unique is a hard one. I sold quite a few screen used props from the movie Ben Hur which were pretty unique.
Ever thought of opening a pawn shop? Not sure what the marketplace is where you live, but you could do both (ebay/physical store). I prefer to sell my own inventory. Dealing with cosigners ads an additional degree of difficulty and aggravation. Plus it would require me to keep business hours.
How do you do all the accounting? This may be the first year I may actually hit the point where I get sent a tax form, and I'm wondering what I should be doing in the mean time to prepare for tax season. Thanks! I use turbo tax. I keep my records using a simple spread sheet. It is very basic with line items for total month sales, fees, and a breakdown of purchases.
Congrats on your sales. Your descriptions are very sparse. Do you feel descriptions are overrated? You do not have any info on shipping costs, payment parameters such as when payment is due, etc. Thanks & continued success. If an item isn't unique then a long description isn't normally needed. Most people find the item because that is specifically what they are searching for.
Do you remember what was so special about the coins? I collect coins a little and I'm just curious It was a proof set. I can't remember the year. There was one gold coin and the rest were silver. The rare one was actually the silver dollar because it was only produced for that set.
Have you ever considered buying your own Online-Store to save the ebay and paypal fees? What is your opinion on these? A lot of my items are so niche that it would be very difficult to attract the right buyers with my own store.
Are you able to hookup Google Analytics, to see your customer demographics? Not sure if ebay is that robust for the users... I am not. ebay has some analytic but they are geared more towards the items that you've sold than the buyers themselves.
That's really interesting. You don't happen to have a picture, do you? Not that I could easily located and I can't for the life of me remember what year the proof set was. I only made $400 off of the purchase but I knew that I could flip it and make that money within 2 weeks so it was still a good buy.
Have you ever tries etsy? I have not. esty tends to work better for hand made items. At least that's been my experience.
Ever consider getting into Amazon with more predictable products and using FBA to save yourself some trouble? I also sell on Amazon. I've found that Amazon is good for selling more mainstream items.
What is the most overpriced thing you have ever bought? The most I've ever lost is maybe $300. The most I've spent on a single item is 5k.
How many hours would you say you work a week? 40-50. Sometimes more, some less.
Do you find it worth it? Yes.
I bet your house is very interesting. Does it smell a bit dusty though? My house is very interesting. I collect oddities and art.
Do you still ship to Italy ? :p. Some things, like Ben Hur props.
How's Steve Carrel? I feel like there is a joke in here somewhere but since I am oblivious to it I'm just going to say, "he is doing well but his mom is a bit under the weather."
Can you approximate your yearly income? 60k.
Use registered post for anything valuable. Signature required on delivery. USPS requires signature confirmation for anything insured for over $200.
OP did ... Yep, the answer is of course me. My more recent purchases which are not pictured are two WWII practice bombs and a piece of one of the popes robes.
You can see the fees on eBay itself. They're ridiculous. I believe it's 9% of the final value fee and PayPal is around 3% or so. There's a few categories that have flat rate listings I believe, like autos. They also cut into your shipping costs as well. They are category specific and vary from 4-9% on ebay. 10% would be a good average to use.
Why is it people with 0 feed back keep buying my shit but never pay. You can change your settings to not allow 0 feedback buyers to bid.
I just wanted to tell you that you have a typo in the description of your Industrial Age Work Bench. you wrote "Pleas ask all questions before purchasing" ;) I'll have to fix that. It's certainly not my fist typo ha ha.
Hello, I was wondering how far from your house do you usually go to find this stuff, and also, what the luckiest find you ever had was. Thanks. Not normally more than a 45 minute drive. I once found a book on a shelf at a second hand store that was 29 cents that I resold for $250. As far as luck goes I was lucky to even see it at the store.
Last updated: 2013-08-26 18:57 UTC
This post was generated by a robot! Send all complaints to epsy.
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[Table] IamA founder of Tindie, "Etsy for Tech". Started on /r/Arduino, team of 5, just finished fundraising (pitching 50+ investors), and have now closed $1m+ in funding. This is a follow up to last year's AMA, for anyone interested in startups/tech/Silicon Valley/open hardware. AMA!

Verified? (This bot cannot verify AMAs just yet)
Date: 2013-12-02
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Questions Answers
As a maker, why should I sell my goods on your site instead of amazon? As a buyer, why should I buy from you instead of amazon/ebay? Great questions - as a maker, our rates are lower than Amazon - flat 5% of the order. We also reach a core audience of people like you, which tends to mean you'll sell more on Tindie vs Amazon. As an example, one seller sold exclusively on Amazon, opened a Tindie store, and we began out selling Amazon. He closed his Amazon store and now sells exclusively on Tindie.
As a buyer, you are joining a community of likeminded people from all over the world and in different niches. Some like audio, some drones, others lighting. In the new year we are launching more features to build out the community side of the site. We are a community marketplace - community comes first. We can do a better job on the community side, and those features are currently being built.
As an example, one seller sold exclusively on Amazon, opened a Tindie store, and we began out selling Amazon. He closed his Amazon store and now sells exclusively on Tindie. Amazon has a flat fee you must pay $40 a month When you sell out many times over, inventory management becomes a huge issue.
Many reasons but here are two- * * Amazon has a flat fee you must pay $40 a month.* Easier inventory management when you have to just make sure 1 site is right vs multiple. When you sell out many times over, inventory management becomes a huge issue. But, that's three reasons. How can you run a successful business if you can't even count? Link to static.fjcdn.com
I have a desire to learn a programming language and have messed around with python and java on codeacademy. What would you recommend as the next step? Books? More beginner tutorials? Poking around on github? Sounds like you are now at the crossroad where people either keep going, or 'never have the time.' When I started, I'd get the occasional comment online, 'You'll never figure it out.' It's a pretty accurate statement for most. Most don't figure it out. If you can put your head down and just grit it out, you'll get to the other side.
If you want to grit it out, start with Learn Python the Hard Way. Then figure out a project you want to build and go build it. You'll pick things up as you go. You'll think you have it about 10 times before you really have a solid understanding. There were many times I'd talk to my friends and say "Oh I figured it out." I was wrong 10 times :)
It took 1 year to get to n00b level. The next year is when things settle in. After 2 years, you'll have a solid foundation to keep honing your skills. You won't know everything, but you can hack together projects, & figure things out.
Also checkout Stackoverflow. Learning how to properly break down my problems into questions was a great exercise. It helped me understand what the real problem is vs what I thought it was.
Did you eventually start working as an engineer or was programming geared towards side projects and building Tindie? I did - my first job after learning how to code was as a developer advocate. Not 'coding' but putting what I learned to good use. That company was acquired, and I eventually became a web engineer at the company which acquired us. That was my last job before starting Tindie.
My local hackerspace, a 501(c)3, is just getting started. We're thinking of making some products to generate some funding... would Tindie be the right marketplace for us? Oh cool! Yep! We have members of hackspaces all over the globe on Tindie. Sounds like a perfect fit. If you have any questions, just pm me and we can help!
What sort of things did you do for market validation? Good question - the only market validation I did was ask the question on /Arduino. There wasn't a marketplace for this type of hardware (we are still the only "big" site doing what we are doing). The space is emerging now.
Did you have personal experience with this type of thing, people you knew who needed something like this, or some other type of research? You are right. The big question I got from investors is actually - 'How big is the market?' Unfortunately there isn't a good answer for that bc the market is growing / being defined now. Arduino/Raspberry Pi/Drones/3D printers are all just getting started and all growing like weeds. If those platforms become as big as we think they will, then a site like Tindie will have to emerge.
Also, how do you go about estimating market potential? The one thing we look at is the components market is a massive, multibillion dollar market. The type of components that are on Tindie, generally speaking, first come to market on Tindie. The market potential is entirely untapped. However having orders from gov't agencies & large businesses is very reassuring that there is a much greater opportunity than just hobbyists (which is what most people thing on first glance).
What's been your biggest challenge as CEO of your own start-up? Great questions -
What's the most frequent challenge you saw when working across various start-ups in the Valley? Biggest Challenge as CEO - Communication, balancing expectations, keeping everyone on the same page from users, employees to investors. You'll constantly hear, "Did you see X?" when someone thinks it is a competitor. Chances are it isn't and they have their own idea of what the business is which is different than your own.
What words of wisdom do you have for someone wanting to create their own start-up? Wisdom to start a startup - If it is a tech startup, one of your cofounders must be technical. Either yourself or your cofounder. If you can't build the first version/ a proof of concept yourself, start there. If you aren't technical, and don't know anyone technical, learn. In the valley you hear, "I'm looking for a techincal cofounder." so many times its crazy. You either already know someone (a good friend usually) or you don't. Trust me , you won't 'find' a techincal cofounder.
Thanks for your time (and sorry for all of the questions) No worries - these were excellent questions. Keep 'em coming!
You'd be shocked how many random emails I get with businesses proposals. Are these the recreate facebook type of deals where you do all the work and they get to be the owner for giving you the idea of facebook? It runs the gamut from sales, hiring, marketing, partnerships, you name it.
Did you have a good breakfast? Eh, coffee, leftovers, and IRC. We have a channel on Freenode I hop in every morning to check in with users (Tindarians) and make sure everything is right with the world.
(hash)tindie on Freenode ftw
You've mentioned a few times how you shouldn't outsource development to a third party. Can you elaborate on this? Why not? What was your experience? What should you do instead if you're a n00b coder (like myself)? Sure thing - if you hire a 3rd party, you will always have to pay someone else to iterate on the site. There is a 0% chance it will be right on the first shot. Therefore its really an invitation to spend a lot of money down the road - not just the upfront cost you are spending to get your idea made. This is what I did with Knowble - it cost something like $20k+. Please learn from my mistake :) You'll have to iterate, make changes, learn as you go. If you know how to code, then you can make those changes yourself. You'll do it in the morning/nights/weekends and it will only cost you your time.
What advice do you have for me as a student? Thank you, I think what you're doing is awesome! Very cool! Getting press / outside attention is very difficult (if you don't pay for PR - we don't pay for PR). Write blog posts, like to those sites. The link love will go a long way (over time). Most of the companies that you read about on TechCrunch, PandoDaily, etc are paying for PR which is why they get listed on all of those blogs and have stories come out at the same time (embargoes). As a student, build something! Just keep building things. You have some free time - take full advantage of it. Also meet your peers. Build a network of other students in your class. Some will go to Google, Twitter, the next Google, the next Twitter. Increase your chances of doing well by meeting as many super smart people as you can. Build projects with them. Just make things and learn from experience.
I'm also a CS student and for the longest time I've been interested in Arduino. How did you get started tinkering and where would you recommend someone such as myself begin so as to eventually purchase from your website? There are tons of beginner Arduino books. Arduino also has some great tutorials: Link to arduino.cc
In this age, if you have a CS background, Google is your friend :)
Did some more reading. I personally feel a lot of excitement for how well you're doing lol, congrats! What we're you doing before the 5 year run in the valley? How did you get started there? Learn to do the things you don't know yourself.
NEVER outsource development to a 3rd party company.
Learn how to code.
If you don't know how to code, don't bring on another person that doesn't know how to code.
So what compelled you to go from NC to CA? How did you start getting acquainted with people there? Joined Yelp. Yelp was maybe 40-50 people at that point. Flew myself for the interview, got the job, packed my car and hit the road.
As an aspiring entrepreneur myself, my question is this: what was the process like of getting the company from an idea to something you would be able to pitch to investors? The site was already live, we had products, orders, traffic. The sales early on were ~doubling month over month. Sure they were small but that seems like a very good sign. As it kept growing, people around me connected me with other people interested in the space. The first investor I got was someone that was in my network already, but I didn't know him. He also invests in early stage companies, understands marketplaces, and believes in the changes we are seeing in the hardware space. From introductory call to email saying, "I'd like to invest" was about 12 - 18 hours.
How did you fund the project initially? Spend time/money to get a VERY polished pitch deck.
How did you go about finding investors? If an investor says "stay in touch, I'm interested" thats a No.
Did you have to refine or iterate your idea at all in the process? We didn't have to iterate on the site, but I did iterate on the messaging/how I frame what we are doing depending upon the investor, and how that message was received by the last investor. I was constantly iterating what I said from pitch to pitch.
Would you feel that taking a year off to learn python was a worthwhile decision? With no coding background, can I learn it in a year? Definitely - 100% worthwile. I had saved up enough to live for a year without a paycheck (without healthcare...not smart but I did it). If you are interested, go for it. While you still have a job start learning HTML, CSS, some basic things. Give yourself some sort of foundation before taking the plunge. After a year won't be able to get a job as an engineer, but it will definitely help in the long run. I have never regretted that decision.
Any recommendations on resources to learn HTML and CSS? I have some programming skills (C, assembly, VHDL) and found the code academy stuff to be too slow and had a hard time seeing how to really apply it. Link to webdesign.tutsplus.com
I <3 Tuts / Envato.
How much did a year of free time cost you? Rent was $710 a month, Food ~$200-300. Add in taxes & other spending. $20k ish.
There are many exciting developments in hobby-level electronics development. First things like Arduino, now affordable ARM processors. In addition to cheap accelerometers, laser cutting for enclosures, 3d printing, etc. What trends and fads are you seeing that are exciting to you? What kind of products do you think we will see in Tindie next year? Five years from now? Ten? AirPi - Two 17yr olds in London built a shield for Raspberry Pi to turn it into a weather station. Brilliant, cheap product that I never saw coming and has done amazingly. They had to incorporate in the UK, take a loan from their parents, and just shipped hundreds of preorders they got on Tindie. The only thing I know for certain is we will have tens of thousands of hardware companies emerge over the next few years because it is becoming cheaper to prototype and easier to manufacture in lower volumes. Yes "hardware is hard" but it is getting easier and that only opens the door for more people to come in.
Tapster - a robot for manual app testing on mobile devices. EVERY mobile app developer in the world should have one bc of the time you'll save.
How did you come up with the name Tindie? Indie Tech...Tech Indie... Tindie.
The domain was available. Best $7 I've spent.
Amazing site! Just found it. Question/Suggestion ... I'm looking for a site that will accept commissions for one-off projects based on boards like Arduino or Raspberry. Any chance you're site will offer such a market? Thanks! Can you break down "will accept commissions?" Just want to make sure I fully understand what you are looking for.
Hi there. I have been looking into creating a website my self, and I was just curious as to how you build a user base for something like this? How did you get people to sell on Tindie when it first began? Good question - you'll need to figure out where your initial users are and tell them what you are doing. Get people in your corner. As you build the site, give them updates, let them sign up before the site is live. If you don't have enough users on day 1, do more to drive more users to the site. Launch only when you have some amount of users (few hundred or maybe a few thousand is the best case scenario). You'll never be ready to launch but definitely give yourself some momentum before opening the doors.
I did this by keeping everyone on /Arduino in the loop. As I found a name, a domain, logo, I'd share those updates. Sellers were able to sign up and "stock the shelves" prior to launch which meant once I opened the site for transactions, we had ~20 sellers/ products on the site and orders on day 1.
Have you considered reaching out to the Bitcoin mining community? Their hardware seems to fit into your site. We haven't but I'm 100% open to Bitcoin mining products on the site.
Have you considered accepting Bitcoin? We haven't due to its volatility.
Who is your favorite ninja turtle? Easy one - Michelangelo!
Do you plan on taking currencies like bitcoin, megacoin, etc? Not right now. Bitcoin is too volatile. From talking with other marketplaces that implemented Bitcoin, the % of transactions that come through are very, very small. Most people seem to be holding Bitcoins as an investment strategy (the gold analogy). I think that is true. At this point, we can get a much bigger bang for our engineering buck by working on other features vs implementing/maintaing Bitcoin or a similar digital currency.
Why did you decide to go to the valley for this? For someone thinking of starting an e-shop startup, what would you advise? I had been in SF for 4 years, then moved to Portland after the last company I was at was acquired. I moved back bc missed friends and our head of engineering is in Mountain View too. Made sense from a personal perspective.
Would I move to the valley if I didn't already have a connection to the area? I'm not sure. It is definitely cheaper to live somewhere else. However it is more difficult to get into the community from outside the area. If you live in the the valley, you'll constantly hear about startups/tech and meet people who are part of the scene. It's easier to be a part of the conversation if you are in the area.
I've heard from many of my friends in the industry that moving to SF is also a risk as many of the big companies pose a risk at hiring your engineers. Many of them end up moving their companies back to Canada where Engineers are much cheaper for the same quality. Very true. It is very common for people to stay at a job for one year, vest 25% of your options, and leave for the next hot startup. It is valuable to have a presence in the valley - but not necessary for your team to all be there. I'm a huge fan of distributed businesses.
So what's your take on the interest level in hardware overall? Do you think things being sold on the site will continue to increase in complexity? Or will they be limited in scope and cost in the future because people are more interested in the low end of things? Hey Chris! I think it will gain in complexity - esp as parts come down in price, and manufacturing lower quantities becomes more accessible. The opportunities only get magnified as those two trends accelerate.
I think we will always have low level / low end products, but the sky is the limit - in terms of price point and customers. We already have products that cost pennies to $1k+. We will begin to have more consumerish products - but I think those will fuel growth in hardware. The more interesting products emerge, the more interested people will jump into diy. Very cyclical. Arduino & Raspberry Pi just make that first step so much easier. Gateway hardware drugs.
This looks awesome, I'm surprised I've never heard of it. My question: how hard is it really to start your own business and what are some obstacles no one hears about? It is difficult but not impossible. Things to plan for: taxes & attorney fees. You'll want to set up your business correctly if you plan on raising outside investment. If you don't do that right up front, you'll get bit when you fundraise. The legal fees we'll have for this financing round will be over $10k I bet (probably more)
Any suggestions on where to find and learn how to do this hardware stuff? Where did you learn to it? Was there any doubt while creating this project? Did you think about giving up? Google is your best friend. There are books, tutorials, but just dive in. If you have some coding background just get started. Fortunately that is where I started so its more a process of picking something up and playing around (vs starting from 0).
Question: how much equity did you give up for the investment you've gained? Thanks! A this point it is just closing and collecting checks so the final % will be set in a few weeks once we have a definitive amount closed with this round. However the answer you are looking for is 20%-25%.
I have a question. What stage was Tindie in when you pitched to the investors? (users/revenue) What was is about Tindie that made them decide to invest? At this time last year, I forget where we were with users but we had $3600 in sales that month which would be about 100 orders. When talking to early stage investors, it is very much a gamble. The chance of failure much higher, but then again the opportunity is great. I haven't asked them point blank, but I think it ultimately boils down to they have an idea of how the world will work in the future, and you fit in that narrative.
I have a very refined idea for a web/mobile app start up. I have done months of research on the problem/solution I am building but I have no experience designing websites. Thus, I will need to pitch investors to fund development. What are any tips or resources to get in touch with potential investors? Unfortunately you need to get it built. With out a product & traction, it will be very tough sailing
Do you accept Bitcoin and if not can we expect it in the future? We don't right now and don't have any plans to in the future. Copying answer from another question "Bitcoin is too volatile. From talking with other marketplaces that implemented Bitcoin, the % of transactions that come through are very, very small. Most people seem to be holding Bitcoins as an investment strategy (the gold analogy). I think that is true. At this point, we can get a much bigger bang for our engineering buck by working on other features vs implementing/maintaing Bitcoin or a similar digital currency."
I'm an idea guy; I have new ideas everyday and am actually executing a few of them. My roadblock right now is getting it out there and selling it (to consumers, to investors). I have a new idea that, while the product is different than yours, could rope in every business sector. I've never built a business model; all of my stuff is from the idea point of view. I get an idea, find out if it's been done, and then make it work. What can I do to get the word out there and find investors? What kind of cut do you think is fair for investors? Build it. Unfortunately "ideas are cheap." You have to build it before anything else.
We are a startup who has built it (4+ years of work). Its a business administration product. We are in desperate need of sales and marketing department. How do we approach investors? If you are growing like a weed, they should be approaching you (at least some should). Based on the tone of your question, it sounds like that may not be the case?
As a maker who is currently in final stages of getting a product ready (ie 2nd round of PCB prototypes) any advice about how I go about getting it ready to sell on tindie? How do I determine a good initial batch size to order, handle shipping, refunds etc? Good question - once you are ready, you can list it as a Fundraiser (our version of crowfunding which really is just accepting preorders). It has to hit the min # of units sold to 'live' where we bill the orders and you fulfill those ordered. That will give you a good idea of the initial demand. Shipping & handling you'll need to do a little testing on your end bc it depends where you are located & the shipping service you select. Refunds we can handle on our end. You'll just need to tell us which orders to refund. If you have any other questions, feel free to email us at support(at) tindie.com. More than happy to help!
How did you get in front of 50 investors? Thanks for the AMA I kind of see now what I need to do for my Start Up getting rejected 10 times shouldn't be a big deal I guess. 100% from networking. Friend introducing me to someone else, who says you should talk to X. That person sends the intro, and then schedule a meeting. Cold emails don't get you very far with the top investors who are constantly being bombarded with pitches.
This is very interesting. How is the actual pitching process? I mean, once you get introduced, do you pitch to them in a Shark Tank style? over coffee/lunch? And which aspects of Tindie was the biggest seller to the investors? My background.
How did you come up with the idea.
Why now?
What are you doing?
Traction.
Future plans.
The team.
Some were more presentation style with a slideshow and just run through the deck where the investor most likely will interrupt you from time to time with questions on your points/assumptions.
0 were like Shark Tank.
I think the main thing we have going for us is our team -very strong with startup experience at well known companies/ great engineers. Next is our traction and position in the space.
Thanks for the answer! I thought you were a one man team before getting some funding. How did you get a team together when nothing was really proven? Ah at that point it was just myself and I had built everything up until that point. The site was live, we had products, orders, early traction.
of all congrats on the success with your start up and initial funding. What is the number one thing you would say investors look for in a start up? What helped you achieve success while pitching your ideas? Depends ultimately on the investor and if they are the lead or a follow on investor. The lead must believe in the space, have some idea of what is going, and therefore be passionate about the opportunity.
Follow on investors might know something about the space, might not. The one thing I didn't realize is how much they just "pile on." Most investors look for a signal by another big name investor, and if they are investing, looks good and they want in! The pile on mentality is alive and well.
So are you saying that funding is closed and you are not accepting any new investors? Right - the round is closed. The docs are written. The lead investors have already wired their funds. Now just emailing the smaller investors, getting signatures and the wires for their commitments.
1.) What was the toughest question you were asked during pitches? 2.) Any questions worth mentioning a company should be able to answer that they don't think about? 2) I don't think there is any particular question - just think ahead of what they will ask you. Have your questions down cold. Answer & then shut up. Don't be afraid of silence.
3.) Our products are similar in the sense of the needed co-creation so I'm interested in your marketing strategy on both fronts. (finding sellers and finding buyers) 3) Sellers & Customers has been word of mouth. We haven't don't much on the direct marketing side, so I don't have very good advice on that.
4.) I'm sure not everyone has been full time with the company, so how did you manage a team of 5 part-timers and making sure deadlines were met, goals accomplished, etc.? 1) Market size. There isn't a good answer. You can come up with many different answers with many different data points but at the end of the day, no one knows 4) Everyone is full -time.
I'm trying to convince some friends of mine to get serious about taking an idea of there's to an angel to see if they (we) could get funding. So my question is, what did you need to take to investors in the form of demos/research/etc. to get them to take you seriously enough to give you your first (and subsequent) rounds of funding? Build it first. If you get traction on the idea/project, investors will be interested. If it is just an idea, you'll have a very tough time. The only real answer - build it and they will come (if it is a great project and they see potential).
Makers / producers of open source hardware and products? What niche do you feel is currently not being addressed in the open source hardware arena? I think any hardware product today should have an open equivalent. The opportunity is just sitting there for someone to build an open version of X. Open source if a flywheel. Once you get it started and there is a community to support it, it only becomes stronger and better. At the end of the day, I don't see much difference btwn producer vs educator. If you have an open project, part of your job will be education. Just start working on something. At the end of the day, if you want to produce it and sell it you can. If not, no harm/no foul.
Hi Thank you for doing this. My question is, how hard it is to work with VC/Angel people? Do they push you really hard? Good question - some investors you won't get along with. You'll have different ideas/ look at the world differently/ it just isn't a fit. If that is the case, probably not a good fit as a major investor in your company. The can email you rather frequently - don't want to hate that part of your job...
I'm 19 and have no marketable skills beyond being the designated local tech geek. In terms of coding, I could mess around with the variables in JavaScript, but that's about it. Would I have any use in your organization? If not, what would you recommend the first thing I do to set down that path? Unfortunately not. Get more experienced & become a solid JS developer. Build projects, open the code, get feedback, critiqued by the JS community. You'll have a lot of value as a seasoned JS dev (esp as Node picks up traction)
I'd love to hear your thoughts on patents for DIY hardware! Let's say I've got a hardware design idea, but I know it's an evolution of existing technology. How do I go about researching conflicting patents that could prevent me from bringing my idea to market, what steps should I take to differentiate my idea from similar products, and at what point (if any) do I need to see an attorney? I'm anti-patent. It is a huge time/money suck and ultimately hinders innovation. I'm not the best person to ask on researching your design/idea/ etc but I'd probably just go ahead build it and go for it. Any time you spend looking for conflicting patents, someone else will launch their version and get a leg up.
Plans for the international market? Already international! We have customers in over 60 countries, sellers in over 40. I haven't looked lately but those were the numbers about a month or two ago.
Thank you for shipping to India! \o/
Hello Tindie. I am just now incorporating as of January 1st (LLC) with friends in the tech industry for our first start-up. They are all NASA employees and MIT grads with extensive tech background, but my background is in Public Policy and Regulations development. Are there tools on your website for new start ups in the tech field, or could you offer any recommendations as to navigating pitfalls for someone without extensive tech background? We can definitely do a better job on that end. Since you all have an engineering background, most likely the biggest problem will come in execution - sourcing manufacturers, parts, work abroad vs a domestic manufacturer. PM me and we can definitely help!
What has been your biggest regret starting Tindie? No regrets so far. It's been a huge learning experience- esp this year. If I were still at my old job, I'd have been constantly wondering whether or not this could take off. Happy I took the plunge.
HAve you ever thought to add Music Tech to the site? I know a lot of people who are into buying and creating their own midi controllers/instruments. OR have I overlooked something? We have it :) Link to www.tindie.com
How many register sellers and buyers do you have? Sellers: Over 300.
Last updated: 2013-12-06 11:10 UTC
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[Table] IAmA Owner of MTG Internet Retailer Untapped Games (Also Yu-Gi-Oh & Pokemon TCG)

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Date: 2013-07-14
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1: can you hook me up with some free yugioh cards? 1: We do give away some free stuff on our monthly facebook contest. There are usually only a couple hundred entrants so you odds are pretty good!
2: How do u deal with potential scammer? Ex: They got the card but say they didnt, card was damaged, etc. 2: It's always a challenge. Large orders have signature confirmation which is usually adequate proof. Large international orders go registered with a physical return receipt. Once things are signed for we are usually fine. Smaller orders we refund sometimes, but if we think it is fraud we will blacklist the buyer.
3: How big of a staff do you keep? 3: There are currently 10 of us including myself. I usually add a couple people before the holidays.
4: What do you think about the future of TCG's? 4: I think the future looks great. It really depends on the game. Right now MTG, Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokemon, and Cardfight are all going strong.
What do you, as a card retailer, wish we consumers knew or did differently? 1) I wish more people would buy directly from our site so we can avoid fees that are usually around 10% to 15% of the purchase. Our prices on our site are thus typically lower and we also almost constantly have coupons to save more. We really pass most of the savings on to the customer in the hopes of future direct business! A lot of people do switch to buying direct from us, but even some big buyers don't. Some repeat eBay buyers could have saved hundreds over time if not more just buying direct from us.
2) Pricing. Sometimes people get upset if something is more than retail. We value collectables in real time. Just like any normal person we aren't going to sell a box of Modern Masters for $168. It's especially frustrating because most of our prices are so much lower than retail. We charge only $87.95 for a Magic 2014 booster box pre-order currently when the retail is like $144. Those hot products that go above retail are really how MTG shops make their money to stay in business today. Pricing is determined by the internet.
Have you thought about putting a post card in with the orders with a coupon directing them to the site? I did this and it has been wonderful. Thanks for the suggestion! We do include coupons with every order though :)
If we went directly to your site to buy singles, we would almost always be paying more than if we were to go to TCGplayer.com and buy from the lowest price on their (which is sometimes you guys). We love selling on TCGPlayer and I think it is a great place to shop especially if you are buying a lot of rarer cards that we might not have every one in stock of.
Our prices on TCGPlayer are already higher than our direct prices though! Plus, we almost always have 10% off coupons that work for standard MTG sets and recent sets from other games! If you enjoy shopping on TCGPlayer though definitely don't stop! Great deals can be found!
M14PREORDER - Save 10% on an order containing only MTG singles with at least one M14 single.
NUMBER10 - Save 10% on an order containing only YuGiOh singles with at least one Number Hunters single.
What is the worst example of you being burnt by speculative investment in a MTG card? What set has been the most popular of all time for you? Which card has been the most popular? Have you ever been lucky with a speculative investment in a card/set? How much did you make? 1) I can't really say we have made any investments in a particular card that turned out so poorly I remember it. MTG is usually pretty safe, but card values obviously fluctuate. 3) Black Lotus seems to be the most well known MTG card, but for what is selling it is often based on our supply. Popular cards from new sets can be hard to keep in stock. We sold out of our pre-order allocation for Archangel of Thune. We were pre-selling them for $13.95 originally and now we sold out, but they were up to $29.95. 4) Every new set is a speculative investment! A lot of the time you have to order product before it is fully revealed. Yu-Gi-Oh is more volatile than MTG. Some sets you make thousands of dollars in profit and other sets you lose thousands of dollars!
I have a small cache of Magic and Pokemon cards in my attic. 1995-2000 highlights like (a few) dual lands, Mox Diamonds, and cards of similar caliber. I also have some non-Charizard 1st edition foils. What's your recommendation on liquidating these and still doing my childhood justice? I agree with Beerblebrox's post below! MTG is enjoyable at any age! If you really don't plan to play ever again though I personally keep a couple of my favorite items from each era of my childhood and that has worked out well! That said I meet a lot of MTG players who play the game quit and then play again. Buying cards and then selling them back to the shop just to buy them again is not good for your wallet!
How do I go about acquiring a whole sale license so I can buy boxes for cheap and circumvent the middleman? To buy Magic: The Gathering product you need to have a brick and mortar store and a sales permit.
As a retailer how do you feel about the reserved list for mtg? We don't have large numbers of older cards, but I think it is a good idea. I don't know if a particular list is required. I just hope that Wizards refrains from reprinting too much. It's really easy to make a massive amount of money quick with good reprints (Modern Masters), but I'm not so sure it is good for the long term.
Yu-Gi-Oh seems to reprint everything and they kind of encourage a culture where vendors can't hold onto product for long because it will devalue. I know vendors who have stopped selling YuGiOh because their inventory would just be constantly devalued and when there are less vendors there are less places to play the game.
I don't know if a particular list is required. I just hope that Wizards refrains from reprinting too much. I'm not sure if they realize what the impact would be. If a card is valuable that card's value is held by the players and stores who own those cards. When they reprint something those cards all go down in value and the value of the reprint mostly just goes to the manufacturer.
Don't mention this over at /MagicTCG. That subreddit tends to want everything to be reprinted so every card is insanely cheap. I'm not doubting players would like MTG to be more affordable. Lowering the price on everything is certainly not what any company is going to want to do though. If Wizards of the Coast pursued an aggressive reprinting policy what would happen is you would have cards at least as expensive as you do now when new sets come out. Then once everyone bought those who could months later they would reprint them and destroy the value of that investment. Personally, I don't think standard is difficult to keep up with if you do some smart trading and play any type of limited format even semi-frequently.
Why is Solar Flare Dragon the greatest Yu-Gi-Oh card ever? 1) Everyone has a favorite!
What's your favorite of the TCGs? 3) I enjoy Magic: The Gathering the best. It is what I played during my childhood and what I still play today. I have played some Pokemon TCG and Yu-Gi-Oh as well and they are both enjoyable games.
How have profits changed in the last decade? Has the popularity dwindled as much as I expect or am I just getting old? 4) A decade ago, I was beginning college and only doing this part time. I didn't realize how good it was. Margins are lower today, but the market is tremendously larger! I think it is much tougher to get into this market than it was years ago and I wouldn't be able to build up to what i have if I had started later (or at least not as easily). If you want to retire early you might want to look for a more profitable career lol. I just love what I do! I don't know why you perceive the popularity as declining. Game popularity changes, but overall the market is strong. Obviously, Pokemon was a fad many years back and it is no where near what it was, but even it is doing solid.
How did you get started in the business? It's hard to say what was really the starting point. It's like a lot of things coming together. My interest in MTG started as early as elementary school and I played (incorrectly) on and off until high school. I used to sometimes sell some cards on eBay and it kind of just grew from there!
I'm considering a career change from kitchens and have been toying with the idea of starting an online re-selling business around one of my hobbies. I considered MTG, lately been revolving around Lego, both being products I'm familiar with. My plan at this stage is to just buy a few sets each of the next release (Lego), sell them individually through eBay and other local online classifieds, then re-invest the proceeds into more sets, using the first few batches to determine how feasible this will be and to not sink too much money into a pipe dream. 3) I'm slightly OCD when it comes to collectables, always thought that if I were in the Magic business I'd keep one of each card that passed through my hands, keep the first black lotus, sell the second on. How extensive is your personal collection? 1) I pretty much started my business in high school selling cards I traded for. I just did it on eBay and it was profitable immediately, but it was pretty much just like a small allowance of $10 or $20 per week. 2) If you plan to just sell on Ebay I think it is pretty easy if you can compete on pricing. I know that it would be very difficult for me to start my business as it is today. For MTG you need to have a brick and mortar store to buy from wholesalers, so I think you would have to stick with legos if you are considering just selling new product. It might be difficult to compete too. I'm able to buy product for good prices from distributors because I buy a large volume. They also know I'm likely to do future business since I have a history of selling the types of items I do. I don't think someone would be able to offer to buy the same volume and get the same price without that history. 3) That's a dangerous attitude to have lol. You want to make sure you sell the product that runs your business. I don't have any personal collection except my decks which I sell back to my business when I'm done with them.
What is my Fog of Gnats card worth? Lol.
What us the most expensive purchase someone has made on your site? I'm not sure the most expensive purchase, but we regularly have people who buy about $1000 worth of cards when a new set comes out. It is especially true for YuGiOh where we have a lot of Japanese customers. I suspect they are probably vendors who sell the cards themselves in Japan.
Do you feel like there are more Magic players nowadays than ever before? I've been a casual player for the past 5 years and rarely go into a store anymore but I read the other day that the number of MTG players tripled since Shards of Alara. Do you feel like it? The growth has been incredible. I'm not sure how to measure the number of MTG players there are, but I wouldn't be surprised if tournament attendance was at least 3 times what it was during Shards of Alara. Our online sales have definitely at least doubled in the past 3 years.
In my local area; I moved to Providence, RI in 2006 and there were no shops I could find that had tournaments in the immediate local area. Now my shop exists and there are at least 4 other MTG retailers running tournaments within 10 miles.
Hows business? Business is good this year! MTG, Yu-Gi-Oh, Cardfight, and Pokemon are all doing fantastic.
How do you feel about some of the best card games out right now (Netrunner, AGOT, Star Wars) being LCGs. Do you think the living format is the future of card games and have you seen a shift in costumers from big money games like mtg to fixed priced games? I thing CCGs are here to stay. I haven't noticed anyone who has quit MTG, YuGiOh, Pokemon, or Cardfight Vanguard specifically to instead play an LCG. I definitely think there is a place in the market for them especially on a less hardcore level.
I think that the formula for CCG's is more profitable for manufacturers. I can't imagine any LCG bringing in the revenue per player to have the development budget that MTG has. I also think the luck aspect of opening boosters and the ability to trade cards has appeal to many players especially younger ones.
Could you take a guess at what most of your buyers are like? Do you see more younger or older people, male vs. female? It really depends on the game. Being a seller specifically of TCG's we probably reach a different audience than say Walmart does when they sell cards. YuGiOh and Pokemon both have tournaments scenes that even attract a lot of college aged adults. Obviously, a lot of our sales for those two games are to kids as well. Most MTG players we see in our shop are adults in their 20s or older, but there are still a lot of kids who come play that too! MTG has just been around a while and people have stuck with it over the years!
Most players in tournaments are male, but I think people often underestimate the number of female gamers. They just tend to not come to tournaments as much.
When selling booster packs, do you do any tricks to figure out what's in them (look at them through bright light, analyzing the pack/booster box product id, etc.) to figure out if it has an expensive rare? No. That would just result in negative feedback and unhappy customers. We are in the business for the long term and aren't shutting down our site to make a new one or remaking eBay accounts every month. When we have cards we don't need from new sets we make booster box repacks...
YuGiOh Lord of Tachyon Galaxy Booster Box Repack
MTG Avacyn Restored Booster Box Repack
Although you aren't going to get any $10 cards in these they are popular, especially for MTG where you can use them to draft for less than $3 per person (depending on the set).
Has anyone tried to buy a bulk amount of seemingly bad cards like Wood Elemental? How about Tibalt? Our site has a maximum quantity people are allowed to buy of any particular card, but it is not uncommon for people to amass collections of one bad card as a hobby or because they like the artist. I have met many players who just pick a card and try to get as many copies of it as they can!
If I'm looking to open my own Magic: The Gathering brick and mortar store in the near future, what are the most important variables to consider? How important are online sales in keeping the doors to your store open? Location and having a friendly sociable person at the counter are both extremely important. I think there is a lot of luck involved! How much money you need depends on how you live and probably where you are opening. I don't want to hypothesize on a number because we didn't really start from scratch since we had a strong online operation before opening our brick and mortar store.
Our online sales are absolutely vital to keeping our normal store open the way we have it set up now. However, there are many shops that have great tournament organizers and are quite profitable without online operations. Just my skill is really in the online market and I treat our store like a community establishment. I honestly don't try to make money off it. If it does make a lot of money one day that would be great, but I just want people to have a fun and comfortable place to play!
What's the best way to get back into MTG? I've been out of the scene for about 9 years, and it seems like it's changed drastically since then. The core game is still the same! It depends on what format you want to play and how much you know, but the Duals of the Planeswalkers 2014 video game has an excellent tutorial on how to play!
Other than that you can easily find out about recent happenings on different forums like MTG Salvation, Wizards of the Coast's own forums, and even here on Reddit!
If you want physical product, the upcoming M14 Core Set that releases on July 19th is probably a simple start. I personally think something like a M14 fat pack is a good choice because you get some basic lands, a life counter, and a nice box to put some cards/decks in.
How do you see the recent developments in online card games? Magic 2014, Blizzard's Heartstone to name the one's I know. The free to play model works extremely well for them and their execution is AAA. Do think they will impact your business negatively? Are you preparing to move into online trading? I actually was initially worried that these types of games would eat into our business, but it turned out to be the opposite. A lot of people play games like Duals of the Planeswalkers 2014 and then start playing MTG for real. I think DotP 2014 is a great way to learn the game, but being in a room with real people I think that is social experience that online TCG's can't replicate yet and I don't see them doing in my future as a vendor. Online TCGs keep getting better, but they have been around for years and the physical TCG industry has continued to grow tremendously. As someone mentioned below MTG just had their biggest tournament yet! Even with Hearthstone, when it was revealed our limited remaining inventory of World of Warcraft card sales skyrocketed.
There is certainly a market for online trading and we have thought about it, but haven't taken any action yet.
What are your thoughts on the World of Warcraft TCG? You don't claim to carry it, so I'm curious if there's a reason or something. I played it a bit and think it is a fine game, but it definitely does not have an extremely large hardcore following and its popularity seems to be directly derived from how well the video game is doing.
The card game was initially very popular when it came out, but even then people were buying it for code cards to unlock stuff in the video game primarily. Now, there are many unlockables in WoW through different means, so there is not as much interest in buying packs of the TCG for codes. Since Cryptozoic has taken over the game they seem to be trying to build a strong gaming community so perhaps that will help, but for now we are at max capacity selling other games.
How is your relationship with other MTG retailers? Are you a large TO as well? Although we are all competitors I think most MTG retailers get along pretty well. I do a lot of business with other vendors, so we certainly help each other as well as compete.
On a local level, the Providence, RI area has a great TCG gaming scene and I think a lot of that has to do with the wide selection of shops. There really is a place for gamers of every type! I think all the events and happenings have really led to growth in the gaming scene in the area. I don't know how much better or worse it would be for us if our competition wasn't there. However, I do believe the gaming scene would be much smaller.
We aren't a large TO presently, but maybe one day! Our core business is currently online and just revenue wise it is hard to imagine our physical location could ever come close. Our online site sells all over the world! That said our physical store might be expanding soon!
Do you have / have you ever considered a "deck-building" feature on your website where customers can build a deck made of singles and then be given a quote on the price for it? I always felt like that would be useful when I played TCG's some 7 or 8 years ago. That sounds like a great idea! We have a feature called deck builder which essentially lets you search a list of cards, but it doesn't automatically give you a total for all of them. I may check and see if we could implement a feature that does!
Are you moving a lot of Modern staples right now (fetch lands, Dark Confidant, Tarmogoyf, Vendilion Clique, Thoughtseize, etc.)? How does the demand for these staples compare with prior years? 1) Those cards all sell out pretty quick when we get them in. I would say Modern as a format is more popular than ever and that the release of Modern Masters really boosted it.
How has the release of Modern Masters impacted your business? 2) Modern Masters is extremely popular, but was tightly allocated. We didn't receive an extremely large amount. However, I'm sure our return on our investment is higher than any other MTG new release. It's intense popularly I think did reduce demand for Dragon's Maze and possibly M14 though.
What game is most profitable in single sales? 1) I wouldn't say there is a wide deviation between them typically as we buy single restocks on the secondary market using similar buy pricing. Each new set is a different story. For YuGiOh, I at least doubled our investment on Legendary Collection 2, but then I probably lost half of our investment if not more on Hidden Arsenal 5.
Have you done anything with kaijudo (new version of duel masters)? 2) I have researched it quite a bit, but Cardfight Vanguard was getting big at the same time as Kaijudo was being pushed to me. Cardfight seemed like a better way to expand, so we decided to invest more in that instead. I don't notice much demand at our local physical shop for Kaijudo, but most of the kids who come in are 12+, while Kaijudo packs say 8+ on them.
Do you play yugioh? 3) I have played it to learn how to play. Honestly, I didn't expect it to be as deep, strategic, and fun as it was. However, I already am more of an MTG player and mostly stick to that.
Personally, do you love the pokemon games? I do enjoy the Pokemon games. I played a ton of Pokemon Blue & Red years ago. I feel like they continue to refine them, but they don't hold my interest as long anymore. I played a bit of Pokemon Black & White, but the formula just isn't as fresh and exciting as it was to me back in Blue & Red.
What is the single most expensive card you have sold? We don't carry many of the older extremely valuable MTG cards, but we do sometimes acquire and sell cards in the $200 to $300 range.
What advice would you have for someone who is looking to start playing Magic but has no idea how to play? Download Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014! It has a great tutorial!
You guys run a fun weekly draft, just wanted to say thanks. (You are the ones in Providence RI, right?) Technically, our tournament area is right over the border in Pawtucket! We do run weekly Thursday night drafts at 7:00 PM though!
(1) Is there any sort of format that you can see being "the future of card games" ? For instance, since Magic was the first game, it seems we're moving away from power creep to a more balanced card game, but is there going to be another progression from this? 1) I think the internet and game communities are shaping the future heavily and will continue to do so. I wouldn't be surprised if MTG picks up more officially supported formats like EDH as people create new ideas.
(2) Do you think more games like The Penny-Arcade board/card games will ever take over sales due to their cheaper price? 2) I think there is a place in the market for these, but I don't think people are going to quit MTG to play them and MTG is not really difficult or expensive to get into on a casual level. I also think MTG's huge revenue at this point gives it a very healthy development budget that keeps the game continually fresh,exciting, and balanced.
(3) Is there any card game that you loved and wanted to see successful? I miss Magination, personally. 3) I pretty much grew up playing MTG so it is the game I like. As a kid I used to enjoy Overpower and I'm kind of sad that didn't work out. I haven't played as an adult, but I'm guessing it wasn't as strong of a TCG.
I have read that a brick-and-mortar storefront is a requirement of ordering booster boxes at wholesale prices. How do you operate around this? You can't! We have a brick and mortar store! Come visit us! Learn about our store HERE!
Worst customer you have ever had to deal with? Are all your orders in the US, I live in the uk and have barely seen card games existing. The worst customers don't always have the biggest problems. It's really how they interact with my people.
Recently, we had one guy buy a bunch of YuGiOh packs and before they got there he requested to return them. We told him that was fine as long as they were still sealed. He ended up opening the packs though and then still wanted to return them, which obviously is a no go in a collectable card game with cards of different values and rarities. These types of problems happen every so often, but it was really how he was just screaming and swearing at my employee for not wanting to take back his open product. If people treat my people badly I'm less inclined to help them out.
We sell all over the world. We definitely ship some orders to the UK, but most of of our customers are in the United States. We don't send enough shipments there to have a set idea of how big a market it is.
Do you feel like video games an online games based off TCGs have or could have a threat toward the sale of the physical product? Someone below had a similar question... Here is my response from that...
I actually was initially worried that these types of games would eat into our business, but it turned out to be the opposite. A lot of people play games like Duals of the Planeswalkers 2014 and then start playing MTG for real. I think DotP 2014 is a great way to learn the game, but being in a room with real people I think that is social experience that online TCG's can't replicate yet and I don't see them doing in my future as a vendor. Online TCGs keep getting better, but they have been around for years and the physical TCG industry has continued to grow tremendously. As someone mentioned below MTG just had their biggest tournament yet! Even with Hearthstone, when it was revealed our limited remaining inventory of World of Warcraft card sales skyrocketed.
How much do you take out of you booster box repacks? They look like a good deal but i wouldn't want to purchase one and get nothing but 50 cent or lower cards. You get a lot of great commons, uncommons, and bulk rares from the set of the repack! However, you probably aren't going to find many if much if anything worth more than $1. That is what you should assume you will receive. However, we do make most of the repacks when the sets come out so if cards change in value later it might be possible to snag some good cards. I know we had some Craterhoof Behemoths in the Avacyn Restored booster box repacks because it wasn't a valuable card when the set came out, but then it skyrocketed to over $20 for a little while before coming back down. That kind of price movement is uncommon though and you shouldn't buy expecting to receive anything like that.
Is your staff local based or do you hire people online as well? All of my staff is local, but we do utilize many services from other companies that have employees elsewhere. It is certainly possible for us to hire a non-locally based employee, but for coordination and communication it's a lot easier to have everyone in one place. I have noticed even when people have jobs that can be done at home it is still good to have everyone in one place. This way if our e-mail customer service rep finds out someone needs a refund they can just say 'Hey, John Doe needs a refund' directly to the person in charge of refunds and etc.
Do girls look hotter in yoga pants or jeans? I think it depends on the girl!
Magic the gathering online exchange (mtgox) switched to Bitcoin a few years ago, and have made millions. Are you miffed that you didn't get into Bitcoin too? Lol, I actually didn't know that. I don't know near enough about bit coins to have done anything like that and I'm certainly not miffed! It's great that they had the foresight to see that opportunity!
Do you ever open any of the packs yourself and what kind of cards do you collect personally? When new sets come out it can be pretty busy and I often help open packs myself! I play MTG, but don't really have a separate collection from my store inventory.
Did you ever sell mechwarrior clicks? I LOVED the game, but it didn't catch on very well :( Sorry, we pretty much concentrate on trading card games! I dabbled in some Warhammer minis a few years ago and we do sell a small amount of HeroClix.
Do you have a buy list and do you buy bulk cards, i got yu-gi-oh cards i wanna unload, the coolest card is properly an original left arm of the forbidden one, and most of the cards are first edition if that matters? Our buy list is here. We do buy bulk cards! We mostly concentrate on newer sets though for singles!
I noticed that you haven't updated prices on fetchlands in quite some time. But then, you also appear to be out of stock on them all. Were you caught unaware by the price spike, and was your stock bought out? There was no specific price spike that caught us by surprise. We just mostly concentrate on standard cards. The fetch lands are in sets that aren't on our buy list, so we don't get restocked. Most popular cards on our site would sell out within a couple weeks if were weren't constantly restocking them. We open hundreds of boxes per month and probably receive even more singles from people selling to us through our buy list! I'm hoping to expand our buy list into all modern sets very soon though!
Last updated: 2013-07-18 23:00 UTC
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[Table] IAmA: IAM Peter Vessenes, Executive Director of the Bitcoin Foundation. AMAA!

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Date: 2012-09-28
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Questions Answers
Most proponents of Bitcoin seem to believe that there will be a point where one coin exceeds a value of $100 or even $1000. Sure, that is definitely possible and I can accept that it may happen one day. However, since each coin has this intrinsic potential value.. why would anyone spend them on trivial stuff like food now? How can you spend something that you believe will continue to grow in value effectively to infinity? That seems like a fair complaint to me, in general. In practice, and as opposed to Krugman's thoughts on the matter, we have many thousands of happy Bitcoin transactors, I think people like to spend their bitcoins with others, give them away, and use them for things. I do know some Bitcoin businesses that try never to spend their coins. That said, we have had some periods like last year where EVERYBODY wished they'd spent their coins.. To my mind volatility is a worse 'evil' than being deflationary. As I said above, I think most government economists wish an inflationary currency (and many bitcoiners hate this, and talk a lot about how much they hate it), but I think there's definitely a place in the world for a deflationary value system. An interesting thought experiment for you -- if you forked the Bitcoin blockchain and changed issuance so that it tracked say, USD or USD/EUR inflation rates for issuance, would it have the same uptake or not?
Every once in a while I hear stories about security breaches including 240,000 bitcoins that went missing the other month. How do you ensure security of account holders funds? The practical security aspects of running Bitcoin businesses are a REAL need, and it's something we want to help on with advice, and possibly opt-in certification at some point. I say more about this elsewhere in the AMA.
Furthermore, most sites I've came upon that sell goods seem poorly managed and difficult to use. Is there a Bitcoin equivalent to sites like Ebay and Amazon? Re: bitcoin site usability -- I agree, it's often terrible! I'm not sure why this is, except to say that bitcoins make transacting online so easy that even people who can't afford a designer can do it.
A: How does the intrinsic non-fiat nature of the currency affect its susceptibility to market fluctuation? I.E. Better or worse stability than fiat currency? So far, because market cap is so low, (Roughly $100mm of value), Bitcoin exchange rates are highly susceptible to people pushing it around. This is really tough for everyone. There are a bunch of businesses that might not be viable until you have some exchange rate certainties that extend beyond a short (one day-ish) window.
B: What can be done to improve the resistance to massive fluctuations in value stemming from exchange market manipulation or normal use? There are some macro-economic things that could be done, like exchanges publishing all trades to a central area, and implementing locks if prices rise / fall too suddenly, but those all have their own effects to consider. I think the fundamental thing to do is help Bitcoin acceptance and uptake grow, increasing the size of the pie until there are a much smaller number of parties that could push the price around.
C: Is there anything that can be done to the standard to improve stability or is it all up to the markets to implement safeguards? So, we all do have a part in that stabilization for sure. There's also the angle of creating whole supply chains that are bitcoin denominated -- paying our staff in Bitcoins only is an attempt to work on that angle.
What do you say to people that claim Bitcoin is nothing but a pump-and-dump pyramid scheme designed to benefit it's creators? That they're sitting on a huge pile of bitcoins obtained by them before the currency was made available to the public when mining was far easier then dumping huge batches of Bitcoins destroying the price over and over again to enrich themselves and fuck everybody else? And that they get more chumps into the system to inflate the price again, by going around the internet and promoting Bitcoins as an alternative currency rather than a complete fraud? This borders on the troll-ish, but I will say that the Bitcoin network autosizes coin generation based on how many people wish to do it. That is, people opt in to make the coins and secure the network. Nobody is forced to.
Is the Bitcoin Foundation a non-profit, tax-exempt organization in the United States? Who among the directors and the board has experience running a non-profit? Why is the ED also a member of the board? How does the ED have the time to run the organization given his obligation to CoinLab? Why haven't I seen any of the involved parties at either of the last two Bitcoin conferences? Can we get somebody who isn't a white male involved? We're a 501(c)6, Washington DC Nonprofit.
I have experience launching a non-profit, hence my job.
ED's typically get a salary and work full time at the job; we didn't know if we'd have budget to pay someone who could operate such a thing, so we went with this structure. I anticipate that I will step down from being the ED at the earliest moment we know we have someone better to do it; running CoinLab is plenty of work for me.
Our assistant director Lindsay Holland is not a white male.
In general, Bitcoin is a white male sausage-fest, though. I urge you and all Bitcoiners everywhere to work on changing that.
What is the future of bitcoins? Do you think they will ever make government-issued currency obsolete? I don't know the future of Bitcoin, but I hope that I and the Foundation are a part of it!
I don't believe Bitcoin will ever obsolete a government currency, but I only speak for myself when I say that. Bitcoin is a fascinating and novel technology with a HUGE number of potential benefits to the world, so I'm into it. I don't see a government wishing to cede control of its currency to anything like the technocratic / consensus model that Bitcoins are governed by, though.
That said, I do hope that Bitcoins will be able to help people in areas of the world that need better money features. Mpesa is a great example of something that helps Kenyans (and people from a few other countries) by changing how money is used. Bitcoin has the potential to help people like that, all over the world, whether or not the 'market' is large enough in that country.
I personally think that sort of thing is SUPER exciting.
Could you describe the bitcoin foundation for me? Sure! It's a trade organization, member-driven. Its goal is to promote, protect and help standardize Bitcoin. Our initial goals are to provide funding for the core development team, run a 2013 Silicon Valley Conference, and create some opt-in certification methods and best practices for businesses dealing with Bitcoin.
Join us.. :)
Standardize? I can tell you hate our goals, so I won't spend a long time trying to convince you. But, I will say that businesses often need a long, secure timeframe to make investment decisions, and they need to have some sense that what they work on or invest in will be roughly similar at the end of their investment to the beginning.
Why do you want to "standardize"? For instance, imagine ebay deciding to take bitcoins. The person-hours to get that done inside ebay are staggering to imagine, from wallet scalability issue to accounting treatments, refunds, ... It would be a major endeavor.
What gives you that authority? It would be great for bitcoin if ebay took bitcoins. Seriously great, but they can't right now until they feel there is some generally stable path going forward.
Why is the core development team so deserving of funding when they can't even make a decent client? You might hate everything about that, and that's cool. I urge you to go ahead, fork the code, advocate as much as you like for something else. Bitcoin's free, both the protocol and the software. Nobody is stopping you.
Is there any legal action to be done if someone steals your bitcoins? Yep, if you're in the US, file a police report, and call FBI Cybercrimes division.
As an individual member of the Bitcoin Foundation, what do I get? Any perks or privileges? Email aliases, voting rights, a newsletter, etc? Or are these memberships mostly a way of providing financial support to the foundation? The bylaws are up now, so you can read in great detail what the organization will provide its members: Link to github.com
In short, though, rights to vote people on / off the board of the Foundation, soon access to private forums, probably discounts to the bitcoin 2013 conference, happiness at supporting the dev team.
I would like to provide email aliases, we've got Patrick and Jon working on any possible gotchas there, though.
Many aren't taking bitcoin seriously because of the security issues some have had. What steps are you taking to legitimize this currency? Like Jeff says below, I would distinguish between fundamental protocol security and security practices.
Bitcoins fundamental protocol security seems pretty good at this point; I'm sure we'll all be keeping an eye on that quite intently into the future.
Practical Security has been, largely, terrible in the Bitcoin space for most businesses, Mt. Gox perhaps excepted. The amount of work it takes to secure 80 byte strings that may be valued in the million dollar range is non trivial. Think securing missile codes as to the level of security needed.
Many bitcoin businesses can't afford (or don't wish to) this sort of security. I'm hoping we can provide some tools and pointers for these businesses and their users to help people understand what they're getting into when they transact with a bitcoin business, and what their risks are.
The Bitcoin Foundation Membership (VIP) fees are definitely disproportionate. Why? Are we now heading for a two-tier bitcoin community? We got requests from large supporters to make a more expensive membership tier. I'm slow, but not so slow that I said 'no'.
I'm slow, but not so slow that I said 'no'. - So you said 'YES'? Someone said "Please make higher corporate member fees: Linux Foundation Top Tier member fees are $500k. Your plan is too low."
I said "OK, Thank you for that advice. We should do that."
Is the foundation primarily focused on US or also europe and the rest of the world? Right now Jon Matonis is considered our "Europe Expert" on the board. There's a huge amount of work to do just in keeping track of how Bitcoin is categorized and regulated around the world. I would expect the Foundation to put some time and energy into helping with that process, but it's not our first goal.
What would you or the Fundation do if the government declares Bitcoin ilegal? Advocate that such a thing is silly, unenforceable, and counterproductive.
Thats no answer to the question. Have you got any plans for the "unthinkable"? That really is what I would do. What do you suggest?
What are your thoughts on transparency of the foundation? How much revenue is there and how it is spent, will that info be public? We're aiming to be highly transparent. I proposed today that we publicize our cold wallet public keys so that people can check our balances. This got pushed back a month while we work on some logistics. I will follow up about this, though. I think having auditable books from day one is really cool.
What are your thoughts on fiat currency? I love it and wish more of it. I'm totally grateful that nations have standardized and created currencies for their people, so that I can travel and buy stuff without worrying about the reputability of a local bank when I go to exchange my money.
I read something recently about a Bitcoin based debit card system. How is that coming along? I don't know, but I want one! The Foundation would like one, too. We are trying to run the Foundation with only Bitcoins, so it would be nice to fuel up a debit card for some expenses.
Create an opt-in certification process for Bitcoin businesses. How will you be going about this? What will certification entail? TBD, But I am imagining that businesses could vet their processes and procedures against a set of published standards, pay for an audit, and then be able to help their users understand what level of security they provide, e.g. "Bronze certification -- the site could be trusted with 50 bitcoins of stored value per person."
Does the foundation intend to have control over bitcoin.org and thereby over the main distribution channel for Bitcoin-Qt? We're a member organization. Some of our members do have access to and influence over bitcoin.org and bitcoin-qt. I have no idea if they would like us to help manage bitcoin.org, since we just launched yesterday.
If the decision makers for bitcoin.org and bitcoin-qt want us to help out in those areas, I wouldn't mind. I don't think either of those things is super strategic to helping Bitcoin right now; there's more need for messaging and some financial security for the core team, and the other stuff we said we're going to work on this year. bitcoin.org and -qt publishing don't seem broken to me or risky right now.
Given that Mt Gox has a (rightfully deserved) place on he board, what steps can and will you be taking to ensure that independent exchanges are encouraged and not ignored? Also what steps, if any, can and will you take to ensure the public that the commercial interests of those on the board do not conflict with the decentralised ideals and paradigm of Bitcoin itself? I don't know how we'd encourage or ignore exchanges, since everyone is welcome to join.
I do think this individual / corporate angle is at the heart of the Bitcoin, though; it's got a lot of parties that care about it, passionately. Some are investing millions of dollars. Some are tirelessly advocating for Bitcoin. Many sit around and troll and waste people's time.
I guess that partly we expect our board members will act with integrity, and that if they aren't representing the needs of their member class, they'll get replaced with someone who will.
I also don't know how we would, practically, decentralize Bitcoin, even if we wished such a thing. I don't think anyone on the board thinks Bitcoin is doing badly. We're all really excited about it and want to help. I personally believe if corporations (a small group or just one) ever provably controlled Bitcoin, they would become vastly less appealing and useful. So, we're on watch.
Not as on watch as a paranoid bitcointalk forum troll wants us to be, but we're on watch.
Why do you require a real name and real address, when bitcoins core values are to be anonymous? The Foundation's core values include openness and transparency. I think the Bitcoin anonymous thing is overblown and a bit of a myth, by the way. Every bitcoin transaction links two addresses; often people can be determined from those addresses.
At any rate, we wish to make sure you can't stuff the ballot box during voting, and we wish civil productive discourse among our members, so we need real names and addresses.
If you just want to support us without joining, you can always send money to our vanity donation address: 1BTCorgHwCg6u2YSAWKgS17qUad6kHmtQW.
What is the current, largest obstacle when it comes to wider Bitcoin adoption? I think Bitcoin adoption is growing nicely. There seems to be a sort of stair-step function where people figure out something new and broadly appealing to do with them, and it makes a big jump. I expect we'll see that many times over the next five or ten years.
Doubts about the network's scalability, uncertain status about its legality or something else? Bitcoin's brand seems bad to me; mostly the highly publicized exchange attacks worry people. It's too hard to have a secure cold storage wallet for even a very smart individual. I'd like to see some of those things improved.
Does Bitcoin have any plan to combat criminals using the currency to purchase things on online black markets? I can't speak for Bitcoin, but the Foundation has no criminal combatant plans. We do want our members to use their real names and promise that they only engage in activities legal in their jurisdiction, though.
That's mostly just a way of us saying who we want to hang out with, and expressing some community values we think will help our organization be a success.
Did you expect for the Bitcoin concept to explode as it has? I sort of did, but I definitely didn't put my wallet behind that explosion. Sigh.
Also, where do you see it going in the future? I talk elsewhere in the AMA about what I'm hoping for Bitcoin.
Will the foundation be sponsoring Bitcoin software outside of Bitcoin.org? What do you mean? Like if Jeff Garzik made cool software that would help the Bitcoin world but didn't release it at bitcoin.org would we try and help him?
The answer is yes.
I.e., the Foundation would provide a service with recommendations such as wallet security for an exchange, but I don't think the Foundation should be in the business of "certifying". Yeah, there's an interesting set of questions there about certification. I would LOVE to see a certification that brought with it the ability to be insured against loss and theft. Think how nice it would be for an exchange or wallet business to be able to offer that insurance. That said, I don't know of any bitcoin company that has such insurance yet. I think we have some work to do vetting out the processes and procedures, and then some sales and relationship work with insurance companies first. At any rate, we won't be stumping up security for certified companies through the main Foundation corporate vehicle ever. But I think the membership will want to discuss what a good set of next steps is toward that goal, if we're all sold on trying to make it happen.
What's the advantage to using bitcoins over government issued currency, basically why should I invest my $US in bitcoins? Some people have ideological preferences for Bitcoins money issuance scheme.
Some are nerds, and like it for nerdy reasons.
Some just like being able to pay whom they choose when they choose.
Some deal with payment infrastructures that are scary (Paypal freezes are scary), or slow (wiring money in and out of small country central banks is REALLY slow).
Also, they're neat.
How does it feel to know that a kitten wearing a top hat has more upvotes than you? That kitten is so damn cute. I spent some of my AMA time going "AWWW"
How will you try to keep BIG businesses from buying their way into "THE" Bitcoin Foundation? Bitcoin is inherently free, it's peer to peer, it can be forked, it's not controlled by the Foundation, especially one that's one day old.
So, I look forward to large donations from BIG businesses. We will use that money to further the Foundation's mission. Our members will, no doubt, be highly engaged in discussions about what to do with large donations. I'm looking forward to it.
What is your opinion on Canada's new digital currency, "Mint Chip"? How does this affect Bitcoin? I don't know much about it, but I think it's cool from what I do know, (and is it technically flawed? I don't recall). I'm all for money system experimentation, as you might guess.
You are starting to get increased media/congressional notice. Are you at all worried about being shut down and prosecuted like E-Gold was? Who is we? The Foundation is a member organization, nothing else.
There are some bitcoin exchange operators that actively flout the same AML laws that got the E-Gold founders in trouble.
There are some that try hard to do the right thing, jurisdiction by jurisdiction.
Personally, I don't worry about the ones trying to comply, and I don't transact with the ones flouting the laws.
Why do you have different vote classes, is one class worth more then another? Corporate members vote their seats, Individual members vote theirs.
Anecdotally, there are fewer corporate members, so a corporate membership vote has a greater proportional influence over a board seat than an individual membership.
so a corporate membership vote has a greater proportional influence over a board seat than an individual membership. - So there may be poll when votes of both classes come together? Like asking ALL members to opt out changes to the source code? I would be stunned if we voted on source code, ever. I don't think anyone thinks that is in the remit of the Foundation.
Pragmatically, the dev team is one arm of bitcoin source code governance, and miners are the other, since they can refuse to work with code changes they don't like if they do it in bulk.
The board meets often, and should be listening to its constituents; sign up as a member, and then mail your appropriate rep. As a sample of what we discussed today: "Should we do an AMA? Who will get member signup confirmations out? Can we publicize Patrick's bylaws yet?" were the scintillating topics of conversation.
Will I be getting an e-mail with receipt for my payment confirming my membership subscription? Yes, we are ACTIVELY working on it. Apologies.
What's the dev's payroll? TBD, now that we know what our member signups are.
I don't know if we'll release payroll or budget numbers outside the membership -- something we have to discuss.
What power does this foundation have over Bitcoin? Why did you make Satoshi the founder without his permission? We have no power over Bitcoin whatsoever.
I think we felt a foundation that didn't somehow acknowledge Satoshi would be a bit churlish, like ignoring Linus completely while making the Linux Foundation. Satoshi is, as always, free to participate as he/she chooses.
Has there been a growth in algorithmic trading of Bitcoins in the past year? If so, is that growth in algos added stability to the Bitcoin Market? I have no idea. But I'm curious about this too!
Why hasn't (almost) anybody heard of you before today? I keep a low profile. Until yesterday. Also, I gave up on the forums a long time ago; not productive enough for me.
That was very informative, thanks. Not that hard to grasp when somebody spells it out. The reason you do it is to provide a second element of value to a chain of transactions; the first element of value is consensus -- what everyone else says happens.
Is there a reason for doing this? Or just a way to pace the grinding nature of mining bitcoins? The second, arguably more powerful one is provable computation time spent on creating the consensus. So you can look at a set of bitcoin transactions and say "Ah ha, that had roughly [say] $1mm worth of computation time put in to securing and validating it! I believe it's safe to consider my $55 transaction secure."
Just out of curiosity, do you have any idea how many people have applied so far? Yep. We'll release end of first-month member numbers in 29 days. :)
How does one go about buying bitcoins? Probably the fastest way is to ask a friend who has some.
Next would be to use a service like Link to bitinstant.com.
How long are terms for each board member? Two years.
Will the Bitcoin Foundation promote a Vulnerability Reward Program ? I would like to see that, but I think the first things to do in terms of importance are on our published list.
Will the funds for a permanent memberships be put into an endowment, or will they be spent immediately? We haven't discussed it. Budget discussions are next couple of weeks, now that we have our heads around some numbers.
We also have to discuss if the foundation wishes to go long bitcoin, or instead spend to its annual budget. All TBD; if you have opinions send them on to your member reps.
I'm curious about this too. I'm not sure I understand how they work entirely. Maybe somebody could Explain like i'm five... Totally. They are confusing; it's a truly novel solution. Essentially it mixes something non-intuitive and magical-seeming (public key cryptography) with something very hard to imagine a solution for (distributed timestamping among non-trusted parties).
We will be seeing the concept extended out into a number of technology arenas over the next 25 years I imagine. It's an incredibly powerful solution-space.
I spent maybe an hour on the wiki reading the FAQ and everything, and it still makes references to "blocks" and "mining blocks" and those that mine have the option of transaction fees.. and I'm still not really sure what is happening. Yep, like I said. I've been thinking hard about them for two years, I have a cryptography background, and I still have 'a-ha!' moments weekly, at the very least.
There are a couple pretty good bitcoin explanation videos out there, but I'm not up to date on what the best one is. Maybe someone helpful can post a link.
After establishing support for food and shelter for Gavin, will there be opportunities for other bitcoin developers to apply for grants - maybe for specific implementations or features desperately needed. I'd love it. I think Gavin will be working out the specifics of what we want to do. I'd LOVE to see money put into a huge test suite, personally.
Thank you for furthering the effort of Cryptocurrency, I have written several policy papers in this arena, and look forward to the day where the deep web stigma is removed from the currency. Thanks FapNowPayLater! We genuinely appreciate the support.
Last updated: 2012-10-02 22:30 UTC | Next update: 2012-10-03 04:30 UTC
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