The widely publicized story of a college football fan using a sign that read “Hi Mom Send Bitcoin” to generate $22,000 in donations was great PR for the world’s favorite crypto-currency. However, as a digital media enthusiast, I was just as enthralled by the gigantic QR code on the sign, which facilitated the transactions. Did this single incident bring the QR code back into fashion?
We’ve all seen humiliating uses of QR codes by companies trying way too hard to appear tech savvy. Often, the applications make it virtually impossible to reach or scan the codes, rendering them completely useless. For this reason, the rage has died down and QR codes have experienced a slow and embarrassing death. Until now…
The QR code has made in-person Bitcoin transactions a breeze. Bitcoin users are able to create “addresses”, which are a series of 24-37 alphanumeric characters that serve as destinations for Bitcoin payments. By creating a QR code that links to the address, transactions can be made by scanning the code with a “wallet” application, which stores Bitcoins and facilitates transfers from one account to another.
Yes, there are simpler alternatives such as email transactions (Bitcoin addresses can be linked to an email address); however, the QR code opens up new possibilities for creative minds, such as the clever aforementioned football fan. In this case, a Reddit user took a picture of the fan’s sign, blew it up to a scannable size, and posted it online. Bitcoin advocates began using their wallet apps to scan the QR code and send donations.
This is the most creative and functional use of the QR code that we’ve seen in quite some time. The fact that it was associated with one of the hottest topics in popular culture just may have given the QR code enough steam to make another run at serving a real need.