Gyft Integration Lets iOS Users Buy Gift Cards from Pheeva Bitcoin Wallet

Daniel Cawrey
May 28, 2014 at 21:00 UTC
Updated May 29, 2014 at 08:48 UTC

Bitcoin wallet provider Pheeva has integrated its hot wallet service with Gyft, a San Francisco-based mobile gift card company that accepts bitcoin. Users can access more than 200 retail gift cards from inside of its wallet, thanks to its new relationship with Gyft.

The idea is to simplify the process for people using bitcoin, and vice-versa.

Lamar Wilson, the founder of Pheeva, told CoinDesk:

“We just took away more of [bitcoin’s] friction, so you can just buy gift cards directly in the wallet.”

Gyft access

The difference between most wallets and Pheeva is users are able to access retail spending right inside the app, rather than having to transfer bitcoins to another service.

The partnership with Gyft allows for easy purchasing of stored value with BTC from a number of retailers. Those gift cards can then be used directly from Gyft’s mobile app.

Wilson explained:

“If you don’t have Gyft on your phone then you can sign up for a Gyft account as soon as you get in [the wallet].”

There are companies moving away from isolated applications and toward allowing an e-commerce ecosystem for bitcoin.

Hive, a newly released mobile app for Android, offers an app store that has this added functionality, and Coinbase Apps is an example of bringing bitcoin extensibility from that popular wallet into one centralized location.

The iOS workaround

Pheeva is able to successfully get around Apple’s mobile restriction on bitcoin wallets transactions through the use of a cooperative. This is normally used for organizations that keep mobile applications private and that are focused on a smaller subset of users.

The way it works is that mobile users have to sign up for Pheeva on its website in order to join the cooperative. This is true for Pheeva on both iOS and Android. After signing up, the site then redirects to a download page, depending on mobile platform.

Here is a demonstration of the app sign-up process, as well as some shots of the Gyft functionality within Pheeva’s wallet service:

 

Wilson told CoinDesk that getting a full iPhone bitcoin wallet experience is easier than most people realize, saying:

“If you fill out the form on the iPhone, you can click the button and literally download the app right there.”

Of course, there are other available wallet apps for iOS, however, these options have limited transaction capability, and Apple’s restrictive policy toward bitcoin wallets on its app store has led to a number of high-profile delistings.

Major players such as Coinbase and Blockchain have had full-function wallets removed from the Apple App Store. The Apple stance on bitcoin has been thought by some in the bitcoin community as a way to control all financial transactions within its mobile ecosystem.

Cooperative mentality

Wilson knows the cooperative approach does give Pheeva a unique position on iOS.

He said the network effects also give the wallet a more community-oriented vibe. “The cooperative is actually bringing us in users,” he added.

Pheeva has monetization plans in place for its future. At some point, the company plans to launch an ad network and, as a cooperative,  proceeds will be redistributed to members.

As Wilson explained:

“The way [it] works, revenue that comes into the company is split up into the cooperative.”

Having iOS is clearly a major advantage, given the few options for people in that market. Looking to tap into nascent demand among Apple users, Wilson said he hopes to add both Coinbase and Blockchain capabilities to the wallet through the use of those companies’ APIs.

Ultimately, he believes in selling Pheeva to the masses as a ‘hot’ wallet. The focus is specifically for retail payments, thus the reason for the Gyft integration:

“We’re promoting it as a hot wallet because we’d rather people just use it for small to medium transactions.”

iPhone image via Twin Design / Shutterstock