In the maturing cryptocurrency market it has become increasingly difficult for new wallets and services to stand out, without their offering bringing something new to the table. This growing competition has resulted in the fall of some services, but the most innovative and useful sites continue to strive.
There is nothing innovative about simply providing a Bitcoin wallet and exchange nowadays. For a company to stand out, their platform must have a unique angle or set of features. A great example of an inventive business model within the cryptocurrency market is that of ShapeShift.io. This service is based upon cryptocurrency-to-cryptocurrency exchange; providing a welcome degree of connectivity within the growing alt-coin market. The ShapeShift experience is incredibly straightforward and the list of cryptocurrencies accepted is comprehensive. The company have received notable financial backing which will supposedly lead to continued development and optimisation.
Cryptopay provide a platform which seeks to integrate bitcoin more efficiently with fiat currencies. In some respects, it is similar to a service like Circle but somewhat unique in the UK market. Users are provided with a bitcoin wallet, as well as two “Flex” accounts, enabling secure storage of both euros and pound sterling. This allows users to store value in multiple currencies, and easily exchange between them, providing an easy way to protect against bitcoin price fluctuations. The company allows offers a bitcoin debit card and a very competitive exchange service. The provision of both SEPA and UK Faster payments allows users to move funds between their bank and Cryptopay rapidly. Focussing on an intuitive interface and straightforward user-experience, has positioned Cryptopay as a good choice for the growing mainstream Bitcoin user base in the UK & Europe.
Blocktrail began as a block explorer, API and developers platform, before this year announcing the release of their own wallet. The Blocktrail wallet has a particular focus on decentralisation, and claims to give users control over their own private keys. This could be seen as a response to the rise of centralised wallet services such as Coinbase, which essentially retain control of the users bitcoins, but it is a welcome addition to the Bitcoin space. Arguably, Blocktrail’s target consumer is tech-savvy and already experienced with Bitcoin, but the company stresses their focus on UI simplicity make the wallet suitable for the growing mainstream bitcoin market. Available on desktop, iOS and android, the Blocktrail wallet is an interesting offering, with the potential to stand out in a somewhat crowded market.
BitGo is a platform focussed solely on security, and dominates in multi-sig technology. The company offers the “most secure” bitcoin wallet, based on their multi-signature practices. In short, a BitGo wallet is secured with three private keys, instead of the usual one. Two keys are required to sign a transaction, and as BitGo only hold one private key, they have no power over the bitcoins stored in the wallet. The third key will usually be stored offline, which makes a BitGo wallet almost impossible to hack. BitGo security systems are used by many other large operations within the Bitcoin space; their unique angle and industry dominance make this a unique platform which will likely continue to excel in it’s area of focus.
A highly competitive market can be confusing for consumers, but ultimately results in the best and most innovative offerings. The growing number of services operating in the bitcoin, alt-coin and wider blockchain industries, make it increasingly easy for users to engage with these empowering technologies. The way we interact with money has the potential to change dramatically in the coming decades and the consistently exciting developments in Bitcoin mean the cryptocurrency is poised to remain on the scene.
All Posts by George Basiladze
George is a finance guy with an in-depth knowledge of financial systems. Together with Dmitry they designed the concept of Cryptopay in May 2013 and started developing the system.