Gliph iOS Messaging App Reinstates Bitcoin Functionality

Daniel Cawrey
Jul 22, 2014 at 14:01 UTC
Updated Dec 17, 2014 at 10:43 UTC

Privacy-focused messaging app Gliph once again supports bitcoin functionality in its newest iOS release. The announcement follows Apple’s recent reversal of its ban on bitcoin apps, which meant Gliph was forced to disable bitcoin sending late last year.

Now, with its latest version and the revised set of rules from Apple, Gliph is promoting itself as one of the easiest ways to both obtain and use bitcoin, integrating, as it does, two of the industry’s most popular wallets: Coinbase and Blockchain.

Gliph CEO and co-founder Rob Banagale believes the combination of Apple, Coinbase and Blockchain makes his product a powerful app that will help increase the number of transactions in the bitcoin ecosystem, he told CoinDesk, adding:

“Gliph is leading the way in providing solutions to take bitcoin mainstream.”

Building in bitcoin

Gliph is primarily a messaging app. However, unlike other options on the market today, it gives users who have linked bitcoin wallets to their accounts the ability to send bitcoin to one another.

Gliph

Banagale said he believes Gliph’s inclusion of bitcoin functionality provides an effortless way of transacting with the cryptocurrency.

He noted:

“The other [iOS] apps we’ve seen so far are locally hosted wallets. That’s great for advanced users. But managing your own private key and holding onto your own bitcoin is too overwhelming for most folks.”

Every bitcoin function on Gliph is pulled from either the Coinbase or Blockchain API – including the new QR code-generating feature that has made an appearance in this new release. According to Banagale, this makes Gliph an extremely practical way of sending and receiving bitcoin, removing the need for a wallet app.

However, it is worth noting that two-factor authorisation must be disabled to allow integration with the blockchain wallet, due to limitations of the API.

See an overview of Gliph in the video below:

Gliph Commercial Export 5 from Gliph on Vimeo.

Privacy tool

Gliph’s primary purpose is as a privacy-enhancing messaging application. It provides one-to-one capabilities, group messaging and something called ‘cloaked email’, which allows users to send messages to email recipients without revealing their true identity.

Banagale says that to provide advanced privacy, Gliph only temporarily stores messages on its servers, after which they are deleted.

He pointed out:

“We offer data impermanence – kind of a hot topic. [Some apps] will say that they are deleting stuff when they aren’t actually deleting stuff.”

Another new feature in the latest version is its optional ‘profiles’. The reason Gliph is called Gliph comes from the way it enables a series of symbols – or hieroglyphs – to identify someone, rather than revealing their name.

However, profiles provide the option to offer more identifying information – such as name, email address, phone number, bitcoin address, etc – should a user feel it is desirable to do so. Each item can be made public or private with a quick tap on the screen.

“We also provide really strong privacy around the personal information that you put in and we’ve included that with profiles. You can more easily identify people using the services – makes it easier than before,” said Banagale.

Apple appeal

Bitcoin sending and receiving functions included in the iOS version of Gliph were removed in late 2013 at the behest of Apple. Subsequently, a number of other apps ended up being removed from the App Store – including the wallet apps from Coinbase and Blockchain. Some other wallet apps are now starting to return to the online store.

Banagale believes that part of the reason Apple ended up revising its policies towards virtual currencies – which has led to bitcoin-related apps being accepted back into the App Store – is because Gliph appealed Apple’s decision to remove bitcoin functionality from its app.

He told CoinDesk:

“When we were asked to remove the bitcoin sending, I asked for clarification. And the way to do that, I was told, was to write an appeal letter.”

Banagale did that, and he’s convinced that this is the reason why Apple eventually acquiesced.

“I took [the appeal letter] seriously as the only real recourse that we had. When push came to shove, we just were really transparent and offering feedback instead of trying to point fingers,” he said.

Gliph is currently available for iOS and Android.

iPhone image via Dedi Grigoroiu / Shutterstock.com

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