Bitcoin-Funded Dating App Develops After December Price Surge

Daniel Cawrey
Apr 15, 2014 at 20:35 UTC
Updated Apr 21, 2014 at 11:33 UTC

Gregor Amon, whose company Simply Travel accepts bitcoin, used the proceeds from the currency’s ascent into the $1,000 range to fund Sumtu, a new iOS app with ambitions to transform the way we date.

Last year, Amon looked at bitcoin as an option for his travel business. “Bitcoin was already interesting to me in those days,” he said.

He reached out to Austin and Beccy Craig, the Utah couple that not only lived on bitcoin for 90 days, but also traveled using nothing but the currency – no easy feat.

Upon hearing about the couple’s plans, Amon offered to provide a travel agency service that would accept bitcoin to facilitate flights and hotels to be paid in the cryptocurrency.

“When we got them, they were about $100 each,” said Amon late last September, when the price was not increasing by much. “I thought, at least they are not decreasing.”

Bitcoin at the end of 2013. Source: CoinDesk BPI

Bitcoin at the end of 2013. Source: CoinDesk BPI

The price of bitcoin skyrocketed in 2013 to a high of $1,147.25 in early December.

Funding the app

Amon had the foresight to seize the rising price of bitcoin as an opportunity. He said it seemed like a perfect convergence of events at the time:

“Bitcoin was up to $1,000. I thought it was a good time to finance the dating app … We just used our bitcoin because of the raise in value and just had enough money to get Sumtu up and running.”

He paid a lawyer in bitcoins to develop written privacy policies for the app, but had trouble finding developers he could pay in bitcoin – that might have been fortunate considering its current price.

Amon said he sold a good number of coins in the $900-$1,000 range. However, the price has dropped considerably since then.

Bitcoin's rise and fall from 2013 to 2014. Source: CoinDesk BPI

Bitcoin’s rise and fall from 2013 to 2014. Source: CoinDesk BPI

What is Sumtu?

Sumtu uses Apple’s iBeacon to apply Bluetooth Low Energy to proximity by broadcasting out a unique identifier.

People mostly meet significant others among friends, coworkers and business partners, Amon noted. The Sumtu app helps people find potential mates in social settings. The idea sprung from the notion that most dating apps are designed to match strangers people would probably never meet otherwise. Amon said:

“That’s where the idea evolved: you take away the fear of public rejection by this double blind matching tool. But you are matching somebody you already know.”

Bitcoin-funded ideas

Cryptocurrencies are used more and more to fund startups. The Boost Bitcoin Fund, which was used to accelerate seven bitcoin startups last summer in Silicon Valley, held 25% of its value in bitcoin and the rest in cash.

Hive, a user-friendly bitcoin wallet was also bitcoin-funded. The company took investment from Seedcoin as well as Roger Ver, an early bitcoin investor.

All-time bitcoin price chart. Source: CoinDesk BPI

All-time bitcoin price chart. Source: CoinDesk BPI

As with other entrepreneurs that have capitalized on the success of a cryptocurrency, bitcoin helped Anon realise what was once just an idea. Now comes the hard part: increasing user adoption.

Sumtu is now available in the Apple App Store. The Android version is set to follow at the end of this month.

Mobile app image via Shutterstock

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