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Hive, which develops bitcoin wallet software, has come out of beta.

The company recently released a stable version of its wallet, currently available for Mac OS X.

Hive's strategy for bitcoin wallets is to build software that is well-designed and accessible.

Making bitcoin simple

"Bitcoin is not always considered an easy concept for the masses to understand. Hive’s goal is to change that," said Wendell Davis, the company's CEO.

"We’re trying to demystify the wallet. We’re trying to provide a really good on-ramping service for new users of bitcoin."

Other platforms for Hive, such as Android, are expected to arrive soon, according to the company.

Last November, Hive purchased the Android wallet Bridgewalker, bringing developer Jan Vornberger on board with the company to help with mobile development.

“We do have the Android version coming in late spring,” Davis said.

Unlike some other wallets, it is Hive’s strategy to build a refined product in terms of design.

Hive's main user interface.
Hive's main user interface.

The intention is to captivate users who might not be as technical as some of bitcoin's earlier adopters – a key for the currency to keep growing.

More about Hive

Davis told CoinDesk that Blockchain.info and Kryptokit are Hive's biggest wallet competitors right now.

The company consists of eight people working full-time on the project. Hive has received investment from Seedcoin and Roger Ver. Davis, who was an early bitcoin investor, also has invested "a little bit of money" in the company.

Hive's workforce is globally distributed – something that Davis believes is the future for many businesses.

Distribution is important to Hive, the company is planning to build a system that will allow the future mobile wallet, for instance, to communicate with the desktop one.

“We’re in the process of having a network to share contact data,” he said.

"We’re all about decentralization, about the wallet being resilient and it working everywhere."

Monetization and security

Hive's plan for making money is through its own app platform. Davis believes that his company can build a gateway into the world of cryptocurrencies.

“I liken Hive as something like a portal, something like a browser,” he said.

As a result, Davis plans on Hive taking small transaction fees inside apps through the Hive App Store. The concept is still nebulous, but Davis intimates that the company is testing out some transaction-centric revenue ideas.

Hive apps that come with the current version.
Hive apps that come with the current version.

The Hive App Store would clearly be a play to monetize from value-added products and services that are added on top of the bitcoin wallets.

Wallet security is important in the bitcoin space and it is Hive’s mission to provide a secure solution that also protects the privacy of its users.

That's why, in a world primarily made up of hosted web-based wallets, Hive decided to start with building a native-installed desktop version first.

"We took this initial approach because at the time when we were thinking about it, it made the most sense," he said.

“I like the idea of a desktop wallet because you can secure your money."

"But there’s caveats to that too. That’s why we’ve integrated things like automatic backups so the user doesn’t have to think about things like that," Davis said.

Backup configurations in Hive are part of the initial setup.
Backup configurations in Hive are part of the initial setup.

Obtaining users

Hive has already had a promising number of people download its wallet.

"We have had over 10,000 people download Hive already," Davis said.

Davis believes that symposiums like the North American Bitcoin Conference are a great way to captivate new bitcoin users.

He was a speaker, on the startup panel and had a booth there. The company plans to continue to exhibit at conferences like the one in Miami.

Hive CEO Wendell Davis (3rd from right) on the BTC Miami startup panel.
Hive CEO Wendell Davis (3rd from right) on the BTC Miami startup panel.

Hive's simple user setup guide, its contacts book and app store is an updated way of thinking about what a bitcoin wallet can be.

But it's probably just the beginning of what is possible for the future of crypto-based wallets. Davis realizes that's where Hive can really be a valuable as a company and potentially a brand.

"What a wallet is a year from now, the whole idea I think is in flux," he said.

Figuring out how to integrate innovative ideas like multisig transactions and hierarchical deterministic concepts into a user-friendly wallet is one thing that Hive can bring to the table.

"That’s sort of our job, where we take a user’s hand and walk them through really technical stuff," Davis said.

The Hive wallet software is available as a free Mac OS X download on the company’s website.

Disclaimer: This article should not be viewed as an endorsement of Hive. Please do your own research before considering investing any funds in this service.

Hive Image via Shutterstock

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