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These five bitcoin startups are going all-in on the crypto currency
The media’s fascination with bitcoin might have waned in the nine months since the cryptocurrency’s value reached more than $1100, but that doesn’t mean it’s going away anytime soon. Overstock.com now averages $15,000 a day in bitcoin transactions, the first bitcoin ATMs just opened in NY and Dallas, and it’s still trading at a robust $509+. Meet six startups that are hoping that’s just the beginning.
A Bit of Musk
Headquartered in Atlanta, BitPay has been called the PayPal of Bitcoin. The company’s API allows businesses to process bitcoin payments – their over 40,000 clients include Virgin, Shopify, and WordPress. They opened a San Francisco office earlier this year and aim to have 1 million merchants using the platform by 2016.
It’s Like Butter
Two Microsoft alums created Buttercoin, a localized bitcoin trading engine that will operate in India, Europe, and North America. The idea is to make international currency transactions significantly easier by cutting out the inefficiencies in bank transfers. Buttercoin has yet to officially open to the public, although they were promising in February that they would launch “very soon”.
The Drapes of Wrath
Rather than create a public-facing exchange like Buttercoin, Palo Alto’s Vaurum is building a white-label software that the company plans to license to financial institutions, allowing them to store, sell and exchange bitcoins. The company was founded by investment giant Tim Draper’s son in 2012; in May they raised $4 million in seed funding.
All Your Base
San Francisco’s Coinbase is one of the biggest (and oldest) bitcoin payments platform, with over 35,000 merchants using the service. The forty-person company raised a $25 million Series B in December and made two talent acquisitions this year, picking up startups Kippt and Blockr.io.
When New York’s Coinsetter officially launched in July, offering consumer and institutional trading, it helped fill the void created by the spectacular collapse of Mt. Gox, the bitcoin exchange that lost nearly half a billion dollars earlier this year. Coinsetter promises better consumer protections than Gox, though the emergence of NY’s BitLicense could stifle its growth.
Of course, just because bitcoin is seeing traction among serious money types doesn’t mean the currency isn’t also subject to sillier disputes – just witness the recent Burning Man brushup between Camp Bitcoin and Camp Dogecoin.
Now go forth (and go crypto).
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