Author’s Note: This is a paid review on TheBlogChain.com. That means simply that I was paid to write about this service, NOT that I was paid to give it a good review. Anyone who chooses to pay me for a review knows ahead of time that paying me does not guarantee them a better review–although it does guarantee them space on this website. A second note is that this software comes with a “user beware” reminder: while I am fully capable of properly assessing the usefulness, aesthetic appeal, and ease-of-use of such software, I am not a qualified security consultant, and you should do your own due diligence before allowing any service, including this one, to help you manage your personal wallets. I am not responsible if there is something awry with this service, and I do not pretend to be fully capable of determining such, although I have given it a basic once-over. It is worth noting, though, that it is an open-sourced PHP application, and you can find the GitHub for it here. Also by the same developers, the Envrin group, comes their Python-based Offline Signer.
Synala is an open-source PHP-based Bitcoin payments solution that you install on your server, using any wallet structure you prefer. It comes with an easy-to-use, out of the box administration panel aimed at making the service usable by anyone with a reasonable but not intense knowledge of computers, servers and Bitcoin. It’s not something for EVERYONE, but it is something for most people.
Why use Synala for your Bitcoin payments needs?
Synala exists to help fulfill the promise of early Bitcoin pioneers: to allow people to be their own bank. Services like Coinbase or bitpay, that offer merchant integration, have various drawbacks. Major drawbacks, such as:
1. Fees! Synala is completely free to use.
2. Not being in complete control of your own funds. Those companies act as middlemen, just like credit card companies do for transactions on that medium. With Synala, there is no middleman.
Synala is better for both of those–it acts similarly to a wallet such as Electrum; except that it’s developed to be a secure online system, rather than a purely offline one.
Once set up, Synala offers the user a very simple but powerful administration panel. You can view the demo version of it here. Just login with the default credentials it provides, and you’ll be able to explore it. Don’t actually use the demo version to send any funds, though–I promise, you’ll be unhappy with the results of it.
You can also take a look at this mock-up of what your users will see when paying you. Remember that everything you see there is fully configurable! It’s open-source and has a solid admin panel–so whatever you might need to change, you can.
That’s the good stuff about Synala: it’s simple to setup. It’s easy to use. It integrates with known secure solutions. It’s completely free. It’s open-sourced.
So what’s the bad stuff?
In short… as simple as it is, for many small business owners, it’s still much too complicated. If the idea of putting this on your Apache or Nginx server is somewhere between daunting and completely foreign, I strongly recommend you stick with bitpay or Coinbase. If you don’t feel capable of keeping a secure offline wallet, including managing your BIP32 private keys yourself, I would not recommend this product to you. Lastly, if you need to convert your funds into USD immediately: Synala is not for you. The process of converting from BTC to USD (or other national currency) is not particularly difficult, but a service like bitpay is likely to be easier for you in the long run, as well as being less volatile.
Synala provides an excellent, simple, powerful service for someone who is capable of understanding and properly utilizing the technology it represents. It is not for everyone, but if it is for you, I can strongly recommend it as a one-click solution. If it’s not for you, there are alternatives–but they don’t do everything it does, they’re not free, and you won’t be in complete control.
Synala gets an A- for being an excellent product still just out-of-reach of the average business consumer.