Vivid History: ‘How Money Got Free’ Is the Untold Story of Bitcoin

An early bitcoin developer and entrepreneur, Alex Waters served as COO and CIO for bitcoin exchange startup BitInstant. Later going on to start several bitcoin ventures, he was also at the forefront of efforts to boost its regulatory compliance. In this opinion piece, Waters reviews “How Money Got Free: Bitcoin and the Fight for the Future of Finance” (Oneworld Publications), arguing it captures the zeitgeist of the original cryptocurrency and the sprawling – all too human – movement that helped it reach the masses. I have long suspected, owing to its…

Ledger Launches Blockchain Wallet for Smart Contract Era

Ledger, the French company known for its range of bitcoin hardware wallets, has launched a new extension of its product line: the Ledger Blue. Billed as “the most advanced hardware wallet on the market today”, the Ledger Blue is a significant departure from the thumbdrive style of Ledger’s previous products. With a 320 x 480 pixel screen (along with BlueTooth and near-field communication (NFC) capability), it’s a handheld touchscreen device that can run a number of different applications. In a video call, Ledger CEO Eric Larchevêque talked to CoinDesk about the…

Reveal App Channels SnapChat with a Crypto Edge

Name: Reveal What it is: A social networking question-and-answer app for mobile. Who’s behind it: Led by the former founders of Kindr and gossip website JuicyCampus, Reveal has raised $1.5m from Boost VC and Digital Currency Group, among other investors. Cost: Free Date launched: 16th June, 2015. Basic summary: Reveal is a SnapChat-like social network that allows users to ask questions and answer via photo or video. The social network uses reveal coin, an asset on the Stellar network, as its “currency of attention”, allowing users a means to incentivize interaction. CoinDesk…

Digital Gold is an Invaluable Page-Turner

Title: Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the inside story of the misfits and millionaires trying to reinvent money Author: Nathaniel Popper Publication date: 19th May 2015 Summary: Remember the headlines that first mentioned bitcoin, Mt. Gox, the Silk Road and Bitcoin Jesus? Those were fleeting peaks on the events unfolding behind closed doors in the development of bitcoin. Digital Gold is your backstage pass to those events. It’s a compelling and extensive narrative that gives a reader a personal look at the heroes and villains of bitcoin’s brief history. Digital Gold presents…

GetGems iOS App Glitters But It’s Still Seeking Gold

Name of product: GetGems. What it is: Mobile messaging app with built-in, bitcoin-based incentivization token. Made by: GetGems.Who’s behind it: Israeli developer Daniel Peled, with $400,000 in strategic investment from Magma VC and $780,000 raised in its initial crowdsale.Cost: Free to download. Date launched: 29th April 2015. Basic summary: GetGems is a decentralized social messaging app built on open-source software provided by popular encrypted messenger Telegram. The app allows users to send and receive both bitcoin (BTC) and its native digital token, GEMZ. Billed as “the first messaging app that…

Simplicity is Bitcoin Investment App Lawnmower’s Strength and Weakness

Name of product: Lawnmower What it is: Bitcoin’s take on the popular investment app Acorns, Lawnmower rounds traditional bank card purchases up to the nearest dollar and invests the change in bitcoin. Made by: Lawnmower.io Who’s behind it: Three University of Florida classmates Pieter Gorsira, Patrick Archambeau and Alex Sunnarborg and strategic backers Boost VC. Cost: Free Date launched: 9th April Basic summary: Lawnmower provides a painless way for users to start saving bitcoin in incremental amounts. CoinDesk rating: 3.5/5 The basics: Available as an iOS app and currently in Android…

Is Purse’s Discount Really Worth the Hassle?

Name: Purse What it is: A peer-to-peer marketplace that matches individuals wanting to buy items on Amazon at a discount with others wanting to buy bitcoin with a credit card or via PayPal. The service claims discounts of up to 20% for bitcoin shoppers. Who’s behind it: CEO and co-founder Andrew Lee, previously an advisor for BuyBitcoin.ph and co-founder at Superior Payments Processing LLC, and co-founder and CTO Kent Liu, formerly an engineer at IBM and Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. (See the full team here.) Roger Ver and BTC China’s Bobby Lee (also…

Haasbot 2.0 Brings Automated Trading to the Next Level

Name: Haasbot 2.0 What is it: Haasbot is a sophisticated bitcoin trading bot suite designed primarily for bitcoin trading professionals, but amateur traders and hobbyists could find it useful too. Who’s behind it: Haasbot started life as a personal project created by Stephan de Haas, but eventually the small team behind the bot decided to commercialise their product. The core team includes de Haas, lead developer and founder of Haasonline; marketing manager Phil Donsbach; developer Lander Vanhaverbeke; and support specialist Theo Goodman. Cost: Haasbot 2.0 is available in three different pricing tiers.…

Brawker Let’s You Buy ‘Almost Anything’ with Bitcoin

Name: Brawker What it is: Brawker is a site that offers discount shopping at all legitimate web retailers. The firm says users can buy “almost anything” online with bitcoin. It also enables people to semi-anonymously purchase bitcoin by shopping for others with their credit/debit cards or PayPal. Who’s behind it: Co-founder and CEO Cyril Houri previously founded Infosplit, the first company to provide geolocation based on IP address, and Navizon, a firm specialising in wireless geolocation. He designed and patented some of the technology that is now commonly used to geolocate website visitors. He remains chairman of Navizon. Cost: 1%…

Ledger Wallet Nano Provides Premium Security on a Budget

Name: Ledger Wallet Nano What it is: A USB bitcoin wallet with smartcard security in a very compact package. Who’s behind it: Three French startups: BTChip, Chronocoin and La Maison du Bitcoin. Cost: €29.90. Date launched: December 2014. Summary: The Ledger Wallet Nano is a relatively affordable bitcoin hardware wallet with a few clever tricks up its sleeve. It also looks good and the company promises to make it even better with a companion mobile app set to launch in 2015. CoinDesk rating: 4/5 Where to buy: Direct from Ledger or…