Day three of the DEMO Fall 2014 conference in California featured a bitcoin and FinTech track that saw four new bitcoin startups debut their products.
Now in its 24th year, DEMO stages conferences in the United States, China, Brazil, Russia and Vietnam that focus on emerging technologies and new product innovations. Well-known companies such as Evernote, Salesforce and VMWare have all launched at the conference in previous years.
Erick Schonfeld, the event’s executive producer, kicked off the bitcoin and FinTech session yesterday, telling the audience there was a need for a bitcoin component at the event and pointing out: “We’re starting to see new products built on top of the blockchain.”
A panel of three judges was present to question the startups after their pitch: Scott Robinson, FinTech Director for tech startup accelerator Plug and Play; Bobby Goodlatte, an angel investor in Coinbase; and Rick Yang, principal at VC firm NEA.
The four new startups were:
Obsidian sees the BTC/USD market as a huge opportunity and is working to create an exchange where users “know with a very high degree of certainty how much [they] are going to pay for bitcoin”.
To accomplish this, the company is building a new US-based exchange. The team says it has a banking partnership in place and that it is pairing up with two institutional bitcoin liquidity providers to ensure buy and sell orders on its platform are not exposed to slippage.
Founder Justin Litchfield told the audience he was able to leverage his “multigenerational relationship with a bank” to start the company.
SmartContract is building blockchain-based programmable contract systems. CEO Sergey Nazarov told the audience the startup’s goal is to “fulfill the full potential of the blockchain by creating trust”.
Although there are a number of startups looking into digital agreements built on top of blockchain technology, SmartContract aimed to differentiate itself by launching a handful of products at DEMO.
These included a contract for stabilized bitcoin payments and conditional bitcoin escrow based on external data sources that create parameters for the contract.
SmartContract said it is using multisignature authentication for its escrow product.
Founded by 17-year-olds Brendan Duhamel and Jamie Young, Pavilion aims to partner with large auction or marketplace websites to offer transparent bitcoin escrow services, while eliminating escrow fees and escrow providers.
Pavilion is targeting big players like eBay and Alibaba as potential customers, with the aim of making money from what they term a “white-label subscription-based platform”.
At the event, the founders showed off Pavilion’s interface, where marketplace customers could view the escrow flow on the bitcoin blockchain.
Pavilion now joins Bitwage as part of Plug and Play’s new class of bitcoin startups.
By building a smartphone app for remittances, HelloBit plans to use bitcoin as a pipeline to send money around the globe. The firm matches buyers and sellers on its platform and charges a fee on top.
Co-founder Ali Goss said the company wants to allow people to send bitcoin via SMS, then the recipients can go to exchanges in their local market to get fiat. People won’t need to necessarily know the technology is bitcoin, only that HelloBit provides a cross-border payment.
The company is hoping to partner with bitcoin wallet and exchange providers to roll out its service.
HelloBit was initially working within South American countries, however, the firm says it has seen a lot interest in the Indian and Philippine markets, and that it has shifted focus to these areas.
Images via CoinDesk