That’s a very good point about GIFTS. Thus far the primary purchasing utility for cryptocurrencies are purchases when you want to keep your activity secret, hence the nature of the purchases. However, another reason for secrecy is for gift giving, such as when purchasing a gift for a spouse, and not wanting to share its cost via a credit card bill. Otherwise, to be honest, using credit cards makes far more sense for customers, and the main reason I suggested recruiting merchants is to promote Peercoin, and not because I thought this was the most sensible utility for the coin.
Another utility idea for the types of “merchants” to recruit to PPC (and appeal to both genders): Those that require repeat payments such as subscriptions. Ideally these would be well-established companies; say, the NYTimes could accept Peercoins for subscription fees, and give a discount to customers who use that payment feature and thus save the company CC fees (split the savings, or even give over 50% to the customer, which would still be significant savings for the company if the majority of customers adopt this payment method and use it over a long period of repeat payments). This would benefit both the customer and merchant. Surely, security would not be an issue for payments to the NYTimes! (Anyone have any contacts there?)
My last comment on utility: I became interested in cryptocoins because I was fascinated by how they work, but I wasn’t very motivated to purchase coins until I thought of a very useful and needed utility for me personally, which is international transfer of small amounts of money, for which wire transfer fees are excessive. I’ve now done this and was very happy with how well it worked (and rather than fees, I ended up making a bit of money in the process). I really think this is the biggest and most useful thing about cryptocoins (legal use, that is) and it is now a reasonably mature and ready-to-use feature. So I think it is the utility to push the most, rather than online purchasing, at least for a while. Not just international transfers, but other cases where credit cards aren’t practical or possible, like paying the person who mows your lawn, or sending money to family and friends.
Maybe more on-topic for this thread: after my first post I thought of another reason why women are much less drawn to bitcoin, which is the associated politics, especially the most extreme forms. I think the most extreme forms are unappealing to plenty of men as well, but almost certainly more so to women. Our “authoritative” and “violent” government, our laws, and tax-supported law enforcement are actually pretty much essential to protect women from violence and other mistreatment. It is really awful to be a woman in many parts of the world where laws and enforcement are less effective or even absent. The anti-government and anti-law enforcement and anti-tax philosophies, and the primary current utility of cryptocoins being illegal activity (quite blatantly displayed on the Bitcointalk forum), is a very significant issue for both genders but especially for women, I think. I was able to appreciate the beauty of the technical aspects of bitcoin enough to just look away and not think too much about the strongly associated politics and philosophies, but one has to be pretty enthusiastic about the technology to manage that, I think. And the politics, even if less extreme forms, is really very strongly associated with the technology – see Overstock.com’s “philosophical justification” for accepting bitcoin.
I’m sure there are Peercoin enthusiasts who may not like the above train of thought but I also think that’s far more likely to be the case for bitcoin, so maybe the politics are an opportunity to contrast PPC/XPM from bitcoin and many other cryptocoins (anoncoin!!), and at the same time increase the appeal to women. Trying to distance our coins from the current political associations would also help to recruit a wider range of merchants (NYTimes!) since at this point, a mainstream merchant accepting cryptos is very much making a political/philosophical statement.
I don’t think the currently associated politics are an essential aspect of cryptocoins, and the “disruptive” nature of the technology may end up being very supportive of politics and philosophies closer to the other end of the spectrum, or at least its middle, at least in the long run. While in the U.S. a person who is physically bigger and stronger does not usually have overwhelming power (thanks to law enforcement), it definitely is the case that money does have overwhelming power (and this is why the US is not a true democracy). The fact that the true source of cryptocoins is relatively hard to trace and could contribute at least indirectly to political campaigns, I’m hoping, will at long last make the huge amount of money in politics, and how it is distributed, unacceptable, and there will be sufficient motivation to establish a more sane and fair mechanism for supporting political campaigns (some mechanism that involves primarily public support for each candidate’s campaign).
But those are thoughts for the long term. In the meantime, maybe we can get The Nation, or Mother Jones, or The NYTimes, or The Onion to accept PPC and make a statement with that. ;D
Edit: I changed the comment about promoting “The other end” of the political spectrum which was not what I meant. I like being for the Green coin, not the Red one!!