Berlin's Coyno Launches Bookkeeping Tool for Bitcoin
A Berlin startup hopes to become the Mint.com of bitcoin with a user-interface that visualises transactions and holdings across a variety of wallets.
Once wallets are connected to Coyno, users can see a chart displaying the 'net worth' of all the linked wallets over time, a list of all transactions performed across the wallets and a breakdown of holdings in the various storage platforms.
Co-founder Erasmus Hagen said the improved design is key for greater adoption of bitcoin, and that's where he hopes his firm will find a niche.
"[Current] wallets are nice, but just look at a bitcoin address. When I look at my phone wallet, it's impossible to remember what [transactions] happened at the time unless I write it down. Just to have a graphical representation, to help you use bitcoin the right way, is going to be absolutely crucial to mainstream adoption."
Exited an accelerator
Coyno is a three person team comprising Hagen, co-founder Levin Keller and technology lead Leopoldo Godines. The startup won entry to the Axel Springer Plug and Play Accelerator in Berlin last November, leaving the programme three months later.
The startup received €25,000 as part of the programme, money that Hagen says has been spent on building the beta. The team is now bootstrapping the project.
Hagen says the idea for Coyno developed when co-founder Keller ran into difficulty compiling the records necessary to file his taxes for his bitcoin holdings.
In Germany, capital gains taxes are levied on bitcoin holdings if they are sold at a profit. The difficulty arises when gathering the records of bitcoin transactions, Hagen said.
"It was just impossible to do," Hagen said.
Hagen says Coyno's current product acts as a "bookkeeper" for bitcoin holdings, but the plan is to introduce a tax reporting feature so that users can solve the very problem that inspired the firm in the first place.
Coyno will operate on a 'freemium' model, probably charging for features such as tax reports in future, Hagen said.
Tax reporting plans
Tax reporting will put Coyno in competition with software like LibraTax, which provides accounting software to ease the difficulty of filing taxes for digital currencies accurately in the US. Other software providers like Bitcoin Taxes offer a service for calculating an individual's cryptocurrency tax liabilities.
However, Hagen says tax accounting will comprise just one product in Coyno's planned "suite" of digital currency analytics software.
"Tax is a first step," he said.
The firm currently has 150 users in its beta, but Hagen hopes to increase this by tenfold within a month.
Hagen said Coyno has an advantage over other bitcoin startups because it never handles users' private keys or their funds. The firm therefore doesn't have to dive into the thicket of regulations around anti-money laundering (AML) or know-your-customer (KYC) rules, or obtain financial licenses from regulators.
"We never touch your private keys. You can do a lot of cool things [in bitcoin] without ever having to control people's funds," he said.
The Coyno co-founder said Germany suffers from a paucity of investment dollars for bitcoin startups. He pointed to the sole venture-backed bitcoin startup in the country at the moment, a firm called Bitbond, which raised $270,000 last August from Point Nine Capital and Nelson Holzer, according to the CoinDesk bitcoin venture capital database.
"The Germans are very conservative," Hagen said. "If they can drive it, if they can manufacture it, they will do it ... But to take the lead in something so innovative, they just don't have that kind of imagination. It has been quite difficult."
Bookkeeping image via Shutterstock
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