MiiCard, which stands for My Internet Identity Card, removes the need for in-person photo ID checks and allows people to register and buy bitcoins in under 15 minutes.
Currently, it typically takes a couple of days to register and become verified on a site that sells bitcoins. Users have to scan in an item of photo ID, plus a bill displaying their current address. This puts a lot of people off getting involved in the digital currency, as they simply can't be bothered to go through the motions. In fact, miiCard claims up to 70% of potential customers "drop out" or lose interest when they realise offline identity proofing is required.
Those who create an account with miiCard have to enter their name, email address and date of birth, then they are asked to state which bank they are with and enter their online banking details.
This is the bit a lot of people will have an issue with, but miiCard CEO James Varga assures it is safe to do and that the information given is protected by "the most stringent and up to date security and privacy methods used by the world’s leading banks".
Once the user's account is integrated, they are ready to go and can use their miiCard account to quickly verify their identity on a number of sites – now including btcQuick and Bittylicious.
Varga used to work for Money Dashboard – an online personal finance management solution similar to Mint.com – and became familiar with the difficulties people face when trying to sign up for financial products.
"If you're being told to invest in something or consolidate your debts with a particular loan, what you really want is to be able to get on and do that straight away, but you can't because there's a lack of online identity verification," he explained.
MiiCard was created to address this problem, to "tick that box to confirm you are who you say you are".
Varga said that, over the past six months, miiCard has been approached by a few bitcoin companies that want to make it quicker and easier for people to buy and sell bitcoins.
"We're seeing a lot of interest from the bitcoin space as people can see that the trust of identity that exists within the traditional financial services environment can be applied to the virtual currency market."
He believes that miiCard will help to increase the number of people who invest in bitcoin, but conceded that it's not for everybody.
"There will always be people who won't like the idea of it – just like there are people who don’t like online banking. It's designed to rule out inconvenience, though, so I know it will appeal to a lot of people."
Marc Warne, founder of UK-based Bittylicious, said he is constantly looking for ways to make it easier for his customers to buy bitcoins.
"We are passionate about getting new users to join the bitcoin world with no issues, and this means that we even allow users that haven't registered an email address to get started. Of course, we only sell tiny amounts of bitcoins to unknown and unverified users, but we hope it's enough to start the bitcoin addiction!" he added.
In order to sell large amounts of bitcoins to users, the company needs to know more about them, and this is where miiCard comes in. Warne explained:
Jerrod Bunce, CEO of Colorado-based btcQuick, was equally impressed with miiCard's offering.
"MiiCard allows us to verify an individual and also offer them our highest membership level – the highest level that can be reached via verification methods. Typically with miiCard, a user can register, link their miiCard account, and be able to buy bitcoins in less than 15 minutes," he explained.
MiiCard is currently valid in 10 countries: Australia, Canada, France, India, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa, Spain, the UK and the US, but the company is looking to expand its reach soon.
What do you think of miiCard? Will it encourage more people to buy bitcoins?
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