This is crazy – it’s already been a year!
On January 19th 2018 I started with IOTAshops.com and it’s been a crazy journey since then.
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What started as a small project became suddenly the biggest platform for the commercial usage of the IOTA token.
And that’s all thanks to the community!
How it all began
I started IOTAshops because i was bored with just hodling my precious IOTAs.
I wanted to use them.
New technology must be used to become adopted – at least thats what I think.
But it was hard to find shops where you could actually pay with IOTA or use the token in any other way for non-developers.
Some shops post it on Twitter or Reddit, but these posts get lost with time.
So I decided to build a page where every shop is listed that accepts IOTA payments, where you can get IOTA merchandise and some other interesting IOTA related things.
I’ve been a big IOTA fan since mid 2017, but I had no programming skills to help develop or whatsoever, to bring IOTA forward.
I was constantly looking for things I could do to help this project and the community.
This was the chance.
I noticed that many people were asking on Reddit and Slack/Discord where they could use IOTA.
My site would provide this information and help people like me start using the token, instead of only hodling them in the wallet.
Crypto is fun, but it’s even more fun for the „average Joe“, if you can use it in real life.
At the beginning there wasn’t many shops offering IOTA as a payment solution.
This was the time when IOTA had to fight FUD from all sides and many people were scared to implement it.
But I was happy to find a few shops that accepted IOTA already.
I contacted them and found out, that they had no problems with it as a payment method.
And this was what I personally experienced too.
At this moment it was not only about building a site with a few links anymore – I wanted to prove the FUDsters wrong – IOTA is already working (at least for payments).
I created social media accounts (Twitter: @iotashop for e.g.) and became very active in spreading the word of IOTA.
More and more shops started using IOTA with time and I helped them to get noticed.
When other shops started contacting me about how to implement IOTA payments, i thought it would be good to have a section on my site which shows all the possibilities how you can use IOTA in your business.
So I began searching for IOTA payment systems and started contacting the developers.
It was nice to see that there were quite a few solutions available.
There are now solutions for all kinds of business models, which all work very well.
Personal contact is the key
From the beginning I wanted to make it a positive experience for the people that get in contact with me and my site.
That’s why communication is so important to me.
I’m in personal contact with almost every shop listed on IOTAshops.com and talk to the business owners regularly.
This is important imo to find out, how to make things better.
Is there a problem with the payment system or sth. else – I can forward this to the right person or help to find a better solution.
Money was never on my mind
IOTAshops was from the beginning free for everybody.
From the community – for the community.
I never wanted to see a penny for listings, promotions or anything else.
It was all about spreading the word, helping the community and helping IOTA getting adopted (on the commercial/payment side).
The whole development of the site was done in my free time and my own money.
I work full time and I’ve got a family, but at the nighttime it was (and still is) all about IOTA and IOTAshops.
It just makes too much fun.
The response I get from the community, the businesses and the customers is motivating me day to day to keep going on with what I’m doing.
I met so many great people in the community which is why i love doing what i’m doing.
Another thing that keeps me motivated is to see how my site helps others to get noticed.
What else happened in 2018
It was not all about sitting on my PC and building the site.
Going out to the real world is also very important to spread the word i think.
I went to meetups, financial events (like the Fintech Week in Hamburg) and talked to a lot of people like from the Börse Stuttgart, bloggers, all kind of people from different businesses and other crypto enthusiasts.
Many of them had a bad feeling about IOTA because of the FUD being spread.
But I was happy to convince them that most of it was false.
In the meanwhile IOTAshops grew from day to day.
New sections were added and new shops and businesses got listed.
Things like the Trinity Wallet from the IF helped a lot to make it easier for the merchants to implement IOTA.
What’s up for 2019?
I’ll continue what I‘m doing.
Spreading the word, helping businesses wherever I can and supporting the community will stay the main focus.