Tag Archives: startup

Circle, A High Profile Bitcoin Startup, Raises $9M with Seasoned Team

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“We’re as excited about Bitcoin and digital currency as we were when we first discovered the Internet in 1990.” — Circle launch announcement

Jeremy Allaire is a seasoned entrepreneur. In the late 1990s, he developed the web development platform ColdFusion that was widely adopted and later acquired by Macromedia in 2001. Mr. Allaire then started an online video platform called Brightcove that went public in 2012.

Now Mr. Allaire has raised $9 million for his new venture called Circle, a company that is embracing the Bitcoin revolution.

“Bitcoin and digital currency represent a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shape the future of the Internet and global commerce,” said Jeremy Allaire, founder and chief executive officer of Circle Internet Financial, Inc. “There’s a tremendous opportunity to make payments easier, more secure and less costly for consumers and businesses. Digital currency can dramatically reduce the friction and costs currently experienced in the world by merchants and consumers.”

Circle Jeremy Allaire Bitcoin

Jeremy Allaire photo by Keith Teare

Circle promises to enable global digital currency and transforming the world economy with secure, simple, and less costly technology for storing and using money. Circle is building a suite of online products for end-users, businesses and charities aimed at enabling greater ease-of-use in online and in-person payments, enhanced security and privacy for consumers, and lower costs for businesses in accepting digital payments.

The Circle platform will be built on top of open protocols such as Bitcoin. Circle has also announced that it is a gold member of the Bitcoin Foundation.

The company’s $9 million Series A funding comes from Jim Breyer, Accel Partners and General Catalyst Partners. Jim Breyer will join the Board of Directors of Circle, as will David Orfao of General Catalyst Partners.

“It is rare to find a world-class entrepreneur embarking on a path to bring innovation to the global financial marketplace,” said Jim Breyer, Partner, Accel Partners. “The dramatic global growth in mobile, social and online commerce is creating the need and potential for a real global digital currency. With Jeremy’s vision for Circle and track record as an Internet pioneer, the opportunity here is to potentially build a significant global company. I’m very pleased to be working with Jeremy again.”

Circle Internet Financial Bitcoin Startup

Unlike other companies in the Bitcoin space that have skirted regulatory gray areas, Circle is taking the challenge head on. Circle is regulated by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”), a bureau of the U.S. Department of Treasury, as a money transmitter and is seeking appropriate state licenses. Circle also recently hired John Beccia as General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer. Beccia, former Chief Regulatory Counsel for the Financial Services Roundtable in Washington, D.C. brings decades of operating experience in banking, compliance and risk management.

Circle’s funding was first announced in a New York Times profile piece published last night. Read “Bitcoin Pursues the Mainstream“.

Learn more at www.circle.com.

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Canadian Startup CoinTap Sells Bitcoin Gift Cards to Help Adoption

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CoinTap Looks to Make Buying Bitcoins Easy

Buying Bitcoins is complicated, and there are a number of companies are looking to change that. The latest entrant on this scene is Canadian Startup CoinTap.

CoinTap Bitcoin Startup

CoinTap is the creation of Bitcoin Ventures, Inc., a local virtual currency software development company that offers smart solutions for Bitcoin e-commerce.

The product is a gift card which streamlines an otherwise tricky and time-consuming process of trading your money on a market for Bitcoins, says the company’s representative and Bitcoin consultant Ashley Fulks.

“Buying Bitcoins are now as uncomplicated as buying a loaf of bread,” says Fulks. “Simply go to the store and buy a CoinTap card. Then go online, redeem your card on our website and, presto, you’ve got Bitcoins.”

A $50 gift card is redeemable for 50 dollars in credit, which can then be used to purchase Bitcoins at a competitive rate through the company’s website. (As of writing, the current value of 1 Bitcoin is $121 US on Mt.Gox.com exchange or $97 CDN on CaVirtex.ca.)

“The Bitcoin is the best-performing currency in the world,” says Fulks. “Whereas governments and banks set the values of fiat currencies based on how they want their economies to perform, the Bitcoin is decentralized and runs on a peer-to-peer network, so its value can’t be regulated by a small group of people.”

“With Bitcoins, there’s no inflation. It’s all math. There will only ever be 21,000,000 in circulation,” explains Fulks. “Since the Bitcoins value is determined purely by the market, it shows a different picture of what other currencies are worth.”

Currently, governments and financial institutions worldwide have varying definitions of what Bitcoins are.

While the Government of Canada views Bitcoins as a tradable commodity, but not a currency, Germany recently ruled that the Bitcoin is “private money” and therefore taxable, just like regular money.

So if Bitcoins are so cutting edge, what can you do with them?

“They can be saved as an investment; traded for other valuable currencies such as Euros, Rubles, US dollars, Yen, Litecoins, Feathercoins – which are just two of the many new virtual currencies cropping up,” says Fulks. “You can also use Bitcoins to purchase any type of good or service from any vendor willing to accept Bitcoins.”

There’s already a huge community online for shopping with Bitcoin, including bitcoinstore.com  an Amazon-style store that only deals in Bitcoin. Several smart-phone apps, like blockchain.info, offer portable wallets and easy point-of-sale systems for vendors to make transactions easy, Fulks explains.

Fulks says some early-adopters are now living exclusively off of Bitcoins.

“They buy their groceries and even pay their rent with the help of online companies like billpayforcoins.com, who will pay your bills in fiat currency in exchange for Bitcoins,” says Fulks.

Bitcoin Ventures Inc. is actively securing global partnerships, “to help bring Bitcoins to the world,” says Fulks.

“The Bitcoin community is very supportive of emerging technologies and has contacted us with open arms. I know a lot of people want to make it easy to get Bitcoins and CoinTap is here to help.”

About Bitcoin Ventures

Based in Calgary, Alberta, Bitcoin Ventures Inc. was founded in 2013 by a forward-thinking group of business-savvy computer-techs.

For more information visit www.cointap.ca

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Bitcoin Prediction Market Predictious: Bet on Gender of the Royal Baby

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Bitcoin prediction royal baby

Irish startup Pixode has launched a Bitcoin prediction marketplace called Predictious. You can bet on anything: the next winner of the Tour de France, the top grossing movie this summer, or the sex of the Royal baby.

There have been prediction marketplaces before. Predictify was a US-based startup that let people wager with virtual currency (no cash involved) and went out of business in 2009. Intrade is another Ireland-based company that let users bet on any outcome, famously including the U.S. presidential election, with real money and suddenly halted operations.

What makes Predictious different is that Bitcoin is the only supported currency for wagers. This means that wagers are both virtual and real money, and anyone in the world can participate if they have Bitcoins in their wallet.

This seems to be the first time real-world events wagering has been coupled with Bitcoin. There are numerous sites focused on the speculation of the price of Bitcoin, but none let users wager Bitcoin on actual events.

Betting on the gender of the Royal baby is just one example of the type of major event that could continue to propel Bitcoin into the spotlight through a Bitcoin prediction marketplace. In the meanwhile, whoever gets the sex correct will win 10 BTC, or just under $1000 USD.

Learn more at Predictious.com.


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Turn Cash into Bitcoins in Seconds with the Lamassu Bitcoin ATM Machine

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Lamassu Bitcoin ATM

Lamassu Bitcoin ATM: Turn Cash into Bitcoins in Seconds

Bitcoin startup Lamassu Bitcoin Ventures has launched an ATM that turns cash into Bitcoin in under 15 seconds. In the video below, 3 simple steps are demonstrated:

  1. Scan your Bitcoin QR code.
  2. Insert cash.
  3. Send Bitcoins.

The Lamassu Bitcoin machine was demonstrated at the BTC London conference as the first Bitcoin ATM ever outside the United States, reprogrammed of course to accept British sterling (GBP).

“The Bitcoin Machine was always meant as a global solution, and we’re thrilled to be able to demonstrate our machine in London, converting pounds sterling to Bitcoin,” said Lamassu co-founder Zach Harvey in a release on PR Web. “Talking about the economic and technological advantages of Bitcoin is a lot to wrap your head around, but experiencing the power of Bitcoin via our machine only takes six seconds. Even without prior knowledge of Bitcoin, it’s a wow factor.”

Here are the key features of the machine:

  • Fiat to Bitcoin in fifteen seconds
  • Accepts notes from over 200 countries
  • Compatible with leading exchanges, such as Mt.Gox and Bitstamp
  • Coded and audited by network security experts
  • Intuitive and simple user interface
  • Internal steel vault is securely bolted to wall, stand, or countertop
  • Web-based back end
  • Sub-second QR code scanning
  • License-free
  • Compact desktop size (13” W × 17” H × 10” D)

Lamassu has reportedly been contacted by more than 60 potential distributors in over 30 countries, including China, Canada, Libya, Cyprus, Kenya, Israel, the United Kingdom, Australia, Denmark and Switzerland, and expects production of the Bitcoin Machines to begin this fall.

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Startup Profile: Coingig Launches the eBay Marketplace for Bitcoin

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Coingig Bitcoin Marketplace

Coingig is part eBay, part Amazon, all Bitcoin

As adoption of Bitcoin rapidly increases, the alternative currency is gaining ground as a payment method for online marketplaces, but primarily only accepted for digital goods. Coingig is a relatively new marketplace that is taking the revolutionary step of only accepting Bitcoin for physical goods.

Coingig is part eBay, part Amazon, all Bitcoin. Individual sellers or small businesses can list physical items for sale, from clothing to electronics and beyond. Sellers price their goods in USD and Coingig automatically updates the price in Bitcoin every 10 seconds. Coingig charges a flat 2.5% fee to sellers, and holds payment in escrow to ensure transactions are successful.

Coingig Bitcoin Marketplace Listings

We connected with Kenneth Metral, CEO of Coingig to interview him about his company.

On Bitcoin: When did you create Coingig and what services does it offer?

Kenneth Metral: Coingig.com was launched 2 months ago with the intention of providing an easy and fast platform to allow users to buy and sell products using the new virtual currency bitcoin. Since the day that we opened we have already brought in 1000 products from sellers across the world that are looking to create a bitcoin business fast and easy. Many people compare us to the eBay and Amazon of Bitcoin but with the difference that our fees are pennies compared to what they charge and we allow users to buy and sell products from any part in the world, which is not possible with eBay nor Amazon.

On Bitcoin: What products sell best on your marketplace?

Kenneth Metral: The products in our inventory range from toys to electronics to even outdoor gear. Currently our best selling products are bitcoin t-shirts, stickers, electronics and paintball gear and even toy magnets. Everyday we receive tons of new products added to our inventory so orders come in for practically anything.

On Bitcoin: How has the volatility of Bitcoin impacted your sales?

Kenneth Metral: The volatility of bitcoin was a factor that was thought of when we built our system, when a seller lists a product they set the price they want to sell their item for to the current price of the local currency they choose when they sign up, our system will then automatically update their bitcoin price every 10 secs to the current exchange rate price for that currency. For example, if someone is selling a shirt for $10 USD, they set the price at $10 and it will show the equivalent bitcoin price right next to it, once the seller saves the item it will lock in that price and automatically load its BTC price on the fly without ever touching the price again.

On Bitcoin: What can you tell us about the future for Coingig?

Kenneth Metral: Coingig is still in it’s beta stage but we are growing very fast, with new buyers and sellers joining everyday our marketplace will soon grow to 5,000-10,000 items and housing all the possible products to be able to provide a one stop shop to purchasing goods and services with bitcoin. Our system was built from scratch so we can add any features that our users suggest and by being hosting with Rackspace we provide the fastest possible service to our users with zero downtime. We believe that by providing the best technology, design, and customer service we can become the new Amazon of this generation.

Learn more at Coingig.com

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