KryptoKit, the browser extension that allows users to send bitcoin payments and encrypted messaging in just a couple of clicks, today announced three big names from the bitcoin world would join the project "in ownership roles": Roger Ver, Erik Voorhees and Vitalik Buterin.
The move is sure to raise the profile of Toronto-based KryptoKit, which launched in Las Vegas last month. The browser plugin has a five-star user rating on the Google Chrome Web Store, but had been fairly low-key in its marketing tactics until recently.
All three names have worked on numerous bitcoin-related projects and have a personal interest in easy-to-use, private payment systems.
To many in the bitcoin community, these individuals need little introduction. Ver is known around the world for his serial entrepreneurship and bitcoin evangelism. He is CEO of MemoryDealers and has been involved with the Bitcoin Store, BitInstant and Blockchain.info. Ver has also acted as a seed investor on various other projects.
Buterin co-founded Bitcoin Magazine, where he is still a head writer. He has also been involved with bitcoin software projects including pybitcointools, multisig.info and the bitcoin private key secret-sharing utility btckeysplit.
Voorhees is another name long-associated with bitcoin. He is co-founder of Coinapult, a company which allows users to send bitcoins via SMS and email, and is planning to considerably expand its range of offerings.
The three will join co-founders Anthony Di Iorio and Steve Dakh. Di Iorio is Executive Director of the Bitcoin Alliance of Canada and founder of the 400+ member Toronto Bitcoin Meetup group which meets weekly, as well as downtown Toronto co-working space Bitcoin Decentral.
He said he reached out to the three out of admiration for their work building communities and representing bitcoin on the international stage.
"I have a lot of respect for those guys," Di Iorio said.
"We already had all the funding we needed, but I respected their leadership capabilities and reached out to them. Roger and Erik are probably two of the top Bitcoin spokespeople in the world and will be working with us on business strategy and other areas."
Simplicity and ease
KryptoKit promises a frictionless "Simple Bitcoin and Secure Social Network". There is no need to log in to any service: launched quickly from the browser toolbar, the compact window provides the user with a bitcoin address to load with spending funds and send with one click.
It also searches the page currently being browsed for bitcoin addresses and presents them as a list. Bitcoin data is accessed via the Blockchain.info API and all information is stored client-side, with no central server.
Centralized servers and remote data storage have been the downfall of other ill-fated web wallets in the past.
Another key feature is an encrypted message service based on GPG (GNU Privacy Guard). As with the bitcoin wallet, this is almost instantaneous to set up and use. Users may create new GPG keys or import an existing public-private pair.
KryptoKit also released a video this week demonstrating its ease of use with existing services, like Zynga's new bitcoin payment trial.
Buterin said he liked KryptoKit as the first in-browser bitcoin wallet that "does it right." He became interested in the project after writing an article on it for Bitcoin Magazine.
"The ability to not enter any kind of personal information and simply pay in two clicks on the page was always one of the promises of bitcoin for me, and KryptoKit is the first application in my opinion to properly realize the promise."
"Also, I've always been attracted to encrypted messaging technology, and KryptoKit makes encrypted messaging much easier than any other software I've used; unlike tools like Enigmail and Gibberbot, I can actually see KryptoKit catching on simply because it's so much easier to use than many classes of non-encrypted messaging software."
He promised more features to come soon, including more chat and messaging features that could turn KryptoKit into "the world's first truly viable encrypted and semi-decentralized social network".
While KryptoKit is Chrome-only for now, its developers have promised a Firefox version in the coming weeks with extensions for other browsers (eg: Safari) expected after that.
Network nodes image via Shutterstock