Bitcoin pioneers rub their hands as it emerges from the underworld

Category: Analysis

Born in 2009, it has slowly gained territory. Its short history is full of avatars, among them an amazing boom, the everlasting suspicion of its use as hot money and, above all, one great question: will this decentralised cryptocurrency substitute coins and notes?

Startups that decided to build their business around Bitcoin start reaping its rewards, while it still has to reach users who are the ones that will eventually decide on its success or failure. What used to be considered complex and geeky, is now attracting funds worth hundreds of millions of dollars from, among other, the main global financial institutions.

The Bitcoin business has even reached the media, with the use that Mark Zuckerberg’s Hollywood archenemies, the Winklevoss twins, have publicly done of it. Years ago, they fought for the original idea of Facebook. Now, they are lovers of the cryptocurrency and have created Gemini, a company that enables the use of bitcoins in the US, offering American-style security, direct treatment with US banks, and ease for users.

However, beyond famous personalities of the technological world, betting for Bitcoin is also taking place in the financial sector. In fact, Goldman Sachs took part in a funding round recently with which Circle, the mobile application for Bitcoin exchange, took 50 Million Dollars (over 43 Million Euros).

This same amount was raised a year ago by Coinbase. Without any known businessman behind, this growing startup became the most popular Bitcoin exchange platform in the world. As a matter of fact, at that time it was the project with highest investment in the sector. Its secret? It got into the market in 2012 and, despite having fought with the cryptocurrency’s volatility and the lack of regulation, garnered trust from investors (among them BBVA).

CoinbaseThe investment of BBVA and other banks like Santander make clear that giant banks increasingly bet for the FinTech sector. Among the startups that have contributed to the boom of finance technology in terms of the cryptocurrency is, precisely, Spanish Coinffeine, the first company in the world made of bitcoins like social capital. This Madrid-based company proposed a revolutionary system for bitcoins exchange through a peer-to-peer open code platform that prevents exchange through intermediaries. Coinffeine

In a sector which in itself is already innovative, such as FinTech and Bitcoins, startups look for new formulas or combine new products using traditional methods. This is the case of bitcoin wallet Snapcard and its partnership with online rewards card system Tango. As well as keeping bitcoins, you can win them in shops or by participating in specific campaigns.

SnapcardThese and many other startups have, with time, made Bitcoin a more mainstream and less geeky payment method that finally grabbed the attention of the main global financial institutions. In order to consolidate this, the work of startups like Bitwage is essential. Its users can choose what percentage of their salary they receive in bitcoins. In this way, by easing the access to bitcoins for users that feel buying bitcoins is complicated, Bitcoin will be able to expand. For this, it will have to overcome the current lack of regulation and the instability generated by, among other, controls and investigations done by public administrations on businesses that choose to accept Bitcoin as a payment method. Bitwage

However, the support of great investors is also being key, and investment does not only come from the main financial companies of the world. In fact, another of the most successful startups of the world, US BitPay, recently attracted an investment of over 30 Million Dollars. Among those who believed in these peer-to-peer payments tool, the very Richard Branson; undoubtedly, a good godfather to grow in the business sector.

Bitpay

Thus, greater easiness of usage and the appearance of important investors that seem convinced by the strong cryptocurrency, it seems as Bitcoin pioneers made a right bet (and now, of course, they are rubbing their hands).

Image: Antana | Flickr (Licencia Creative Commons)

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