San Francisco-based startup QuickCoin plans to bring bitcoin to the masses via its web-based 'social wallet' that lets connected users easily send and receive bitcoin via a simple interface.
Initially, the company is integrating its product with Facebook in the hope that bitcoin will go viral on the social network, but it also has plans for further partnerships in the future.
Marshall Hayner, co-founder of the company, said that the goal for QuickCoin is to remove the complexities of bitcoin for users:
Keeping it simple
QuickCoin has a simple interface that is clearly optimized for use on mobile devices, with 'Send Bitcoin', 'Receive Bitcoin', 'Logout' and 'Unlink Account' being the only available functions.
The wallet displays value in fiat currency as well as 'bits' to make the introduction to bitcoin easy for inexperienced users and to help people get over the hurdle of bitcoin's relatively high price.
"I would often hear 'I can't get into bitcoin, that's way too expensive', [but] the reality is that bitcoin is divisible into very tiny amounts," Hayner said.
Bitcoin's smallest unit is a tiny 0.00000001 of a bitcoin – a unit known as a ‘satoshi’. A bit, however, is worth a more manageable 0.000001 BTC. That's around $0.00058 at today's price, so 1,000 bits would be 58 cents.
How it works
Users of the social wallet must sign in to the service using their Facebook details. The application then creates a list of contacts from Facebook friends to whom the user can send bitcoin – even if they have not signed up for the service.
To add funds to their QuickCoin wallet, users can click the 'Receive Bitcoin' option, which brings up a QR code containing the wallet key. Funds can also be sent to an external wallet via the 'Send Bitcoin' option.
When bitcoin is sent to a Facebook contact, a notification shows up in the receiver's timeline letting them know they have received the funds.
See the company's demo below:
Starting with Facebook
Hayner told CoinDesk that a Facebook-centric social wallet seemed like the best avenue for starting a bitcoin company. This certainly makes sense considering the social network had around 1.28 billion users as of March 2014.
However, said Hayner, he and the company's other co-founders William Cotton and Nathan Lands (who organized February's Bitcoin Fair in San Francisco), have other services planned:
As bitcoin is still an early adopter technology, getting bitcoin in the hands of as many people as possible is something that the industry needs in order to progress.
That's why QuickCoin's founders have kept its wallet as simple as possible, believing that even aspects of the technology such as QR codes should only be introduced to users if absolutely necessary.
"Not everyone has the time to do extensive research about bitcoin before they begin to use it," said Hayner. "In fact, most of the people browsing the Internet today couldn't tell you how DNS works, the same is true for bitcoin."
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