You Won’t Believe What These 32 Bitcoin Startups are Doing
By Linda Bustos
With major ecommerce players like Overstock.com and Square on board, Bitcoin’s on its way to becoming a serious payment method, despite its bad press.
While there may be some way to go, a booming Bitcoin startup community could further enhance Bitcoin’s appeal to both consumers and business by making Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency “safer,” easier to get, spend and profit from.
While there’s over 250 Bitcoin startups to date, these 32 give you an idea of what’s shakin’ in the space.
By definition, a Bitcoin wallet is a file that stores a collection of private keys (transaction records and Bitcoin addresses), facilitating the exchange of bitcoin for an individual holder. It serves as…a Bitcoin wallet.
Bitcoin wallets may be held in the cloud or on a user’s computer. Both have risk. Cloud wallets can be more easily hacked, while desktop wallets may be deleted accidentally or by a virus.
Though heaps of Bitcoin wallets exist, Coinbase is one of the more popular services, with over 1 million users, 25,000 merchants and 4,000 Bitcoin apps using its API. Hive and Blockchain are similar competitors.
SecondMarket’s venture Bitcoin Investment Trust is a private, open-ended trust dealing only in Bitcoin, providing investors with insight into the price movement of the cryptocurrency without the hassle of buying, holding and keeping safe large quantities of Bitcoin.
Vaurum enables banks and brokerages, hedge funds, trading firms and foreign exchange dealers to trade, store and offer Bitcoin to their customers.
Bitcoin mining is how Bitcoin is generated. For an overview, please watch the video below. (Subscribers, can’t see video? View this post on the ‘Net).
Hashfast claims its 28nm precision mining ASIC is 4 times faster than its closest competitor. It uses built-in thermal controls that protect computer cores from overheating.
BTCJam is a peer-to-peer borrowing and lending platform for Bitcoin.
Zeroblock is a mobile app that helps you stay on top of all things B with a live news feed and ticker and push notifications.
Bitcoin is anonymous, but there are some cases where you want your identity made known. VerifyBTC is the “Yellow Pages for Bitcoin addresses,” allowing you to connect your digital identity with your Bitcoin address for additional security and verification.
Mastercoin Foundation’s Master Protocol is an open source, secondary platform upon which any developer can create innovative Bitcoin applications for trade and ecommerce.
Leetcoin’s API gives game developers the ability to add competitive gaming for Bitcoin to their products, increasing the value prop of their games whilst monetizing them. Examples are Counter-strike and Team Fortress 2.
BitPremier is a luxury marketplace that accepts Bitcoin. Though it does not trade exclusively in Bitcoin, all sellers must be Bitcoin-friendly, and connects those with Bitcoin to spend.
To help businesses ensure they’re transacting with a real person, Blockscore’s API allows developers to add ID verification and anti-fraud by asking knowledge-based questions like “what model of car did you own in 2007,” as well as verify customers through public records.
Spaarsh is “Square without the dongle,” aspiring to authorize in-app payments with fingerprint verification. Though it will support many payment methods, Bitcoin transactions will carry 0% merchant fees.
Hashtrust applies double-authentication to both sides of a transaction, requiring both parties to sign off on the exchange.
PayStand allows developers to integrate a variety of payment methods directly into websites, apps and social pages like blogs, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter without a merchant account, order management software or payment processor. Bitcoin transactions carry no fees, and transactions are completed on-page or in-app without redirection to PayPal, for example, and without the requirement of a password.
GlassPay is a Google Glass app that lets you pay with Bitcoin. Customers scan a UPC of a product in-store and check out through Glass, with 0% transaction fees for merchants.
The Bitcoin Card
The Bitcoin Card wasn’t legit, it claimed to be a co-branded, prepaid credit card in partnership with MasterCard. Though Bitcoin could not be directly traded via the card, it would allow users to convert Bitcoin into a “tangible, real-life spending solution.”
It’s possible, with Bitcoin’s momentum, a solution like this may emerge, but not without banks and lending institutions’ embrace of cryptocurrency.
Gyft offers legit, prepaid Bitcoin gift cards available at retailers such as Walmart and Target.
CoinTap is a Canadian company that similar to Gyft. Cards are denominated in dollars, and can be used to purchase Bitcoin.
Bitcoin relies on the kindness of the community to keep the blockchain running. Crunchbit allows regular folks to use their unused computing power to earn money, with a twist of MLM – recruit your friends and make a bit off your downline.
For the unbanked and low-teched, 37Coins is an Android app that supports Bitcoin exchange by SMS, even on “dump” feature-phones, even without Internet access. Great solution for the third world.
There’s opportunity for a gateway operator to create local Bitcoin markets, becoming a local agent and taking a fee for every transaction.
BitTravel is a community marketplace for traveling, connecting users with travel options that accept Bitcoin.
“LinkedIn and Yelp for Bitcoin” – Bitcorati is a global directory and rating system for individuals and businesses involved with Bitcoin. It facilitates discovery and builds social proof in this nascent arena.
Coingram lets every day folks send and receive Bitcoin on Facebook and Twitter.
Coinalytics takes big-data decision making and applies it to Bitcoin, such as real-time analytics to help you make smarter investment decisions and data aggregation with real-time notifications.
Bitcoingamer is but one of the many gaming sites that take Bitcoin.
Switchless develops enterprise Bitcoin software for financial institutions and brokerage firms.
Gamerholic is a competitive arcade where you can compete against friends, strangers or the computer for Bitcoin.
Popshop is an open social commerce platform for small businesses.
Currently pitching for funding, Bitwal aims to make Bitcoin available through traditional ATMs and reloadable debit cards.
Gambit is an online real-time multiplayer gaming platform that allows people to play and earn Bitcoin, making bets on their games.
GoCoin’s open API allows merchants to fully integrate a payment solution, analytics and reputation management modules into their websites for virtual currencies like Bitcoin and Litecoin. (Not to be confused with prepaid card Gogocoin).
Will they blend?
There’s no doubt some of these startups will fade out, but Bitcoin looks like it’s here to stay. Before it can seriously impact ecommerce, cryptocurrency needs to gain higher consumer adoption, and companies that support Bitcoin and succeed at enhancing the platform will be to thank for it.