A team of developers is hoping to spread bitcoin to the non-technical Mac community with a new wallet, called Hive. The software, still in alpha, is designed specifically for new bitcoin users.
The system has been written with ease of use in mind, according to the developers, who introduced it on the Bitcoin Talk forum earlier this week. It includes an address book, so that people can send bitcoins to people in their contacts list.
It also features an integrated application platform that lists other online services and bitcoin-related sites, such as Bitstamp and SatoshiDice. The idea is for services to develop Hive-enabled apps that drop straight into the OSX application, enabling tight integration.
For example, being able to buy and sell bitcoins from an exchange without leaving the wallet would make it easier to promote bitcoin to new users.
An example integrated BitStamp app shows a customer balance, along with a bitcoin price, and provides the option to deposit, withdraw, and trade bitcoins from within the wallet interface.
The application is being developed under an open source GPL license on GitHub. It uses BitcoinKit, a software framework developed by the team behind Hive, designed for creating bitcoin wallet apps using the OSX Cocoa framework.
It also uses bitcoinj, which is a Java implementation of the bitcoin client, and includes support for the Tor anonymous browsing network, using the TorKit protocol, developed by the same team.
There is also a serious possibility that the software could be enhanced with support for litecoin, said a representative for the development team.
"Charles said that 'bitcoinj' for litecoin is presently in development. So, once that is released, it will be fairly trivial for us to add support."
Significantly, the system also includes a Simplified Verification Protocol (SPV) back end, meaning that users won't have to download the block chain to get started with the wallet.
The OSX wallet project is an important one, given the relatively large share of OSX users online.
According to research firm Net Market Share, Macintosh users make up 7.28% of those online. There are other wallets available for OSX, in particular MultiBit and Electrum, and of course Bitcoin QT, but each of these is operating system-agnostic, being available for Linux and Windows in addition to the Mac.
The team that developed the software has said that it is focused on Mac, primarily, meaning that the interface can be tailored to the operating system, creating a more intuitive and appealing experience for OSX users.
This interface, in addition to the integrated application platform, has elicited largely positive comments from Bitcoin.org members so far.
That said, the development team has emphasized that as an early beta product, the OSX wallet is still not ready for prime time, and should be used mainly for testing purposes.
Feature image: grabhive.com