Swarm Economy: Yesterday, news broke that the Expensify service has enabled bitcoin payments. With the rapidly expanding number of businesses accepting bitcoin as payment method, one could think that this was merely another player in the pool of bitcoin’s expanding economy (which just broke the one-billion-USD barrier, by the way). But Expensify is something much more than that.
Let’s first discuss the concept of expense reports to understand Expensify’s important role in the subsurface payments ecosystem. On all companies I’ve worked for lately, you don’t ask the company to buy something you need for your work – it’s just too much paperwork, too much red tape to make it happen. Instead, you get a small budget for discretionary stuff you need to do your job, and you just buy stuff as you need it with your private credit card, send in the receipts to your employer, and get reimbursed on the next paycheck, which arrives before the credit card bill is due.
This system is pervasive and ubiquitous. Sending in receipts for payment like this is known as submitting an expense report. It’s still bureaucracy and red tape and it still sucks, but it sucks considerably less than asking for approval in advance.
Enter Expensify, a service that markets itself straightforwardly as “Expense reports that don’t suck”. I’ve been using Expensify through its development for the past couple of years and have also contributed my use case (frequent travel outside of internet coverage), which led them to implement important new features – meaning, they’re a responsive bunch, too.