Bitcoin, the growing digital currency that isn’t connected with a central bank, is well known but perhaps not so well understood and maybe even a little scary to some people. San Diego startup Airbitz has set out to change that with a secure, easy-to-use digital wallet for bitcoins. The wallet became available in October from the Apple App Store and Google Play, and the company just received $450,000 in financing from a Los Angeles-based venture fund. Times of San Diego spoke with Paul Puey, co-founder and CEO of the startup, about his company’s plans.
Why did you start Airbitz?
We saw the huge potential for bitcoin to positively disrupt our stagnant financial system but it needed a more human touch to bring its complex technology to the mainstream. We felt that this was a golden opportunity to not only help push this movement forward but to also etch our company and team in the history books as a key player in this financial revolution.
What can users expect from your Bitcoin Wallet?
They can expect the ease and familiarity of mobile banking. That includes easy account creation and access across their mobile devices. However, at the same time, they can rest assured that our wallet provides the security and privacy that no financial institution can provide thanks to the zero-knowledge, end-to-end encrypted, edge-security platform we built for the wallet.
How safe is the wallet?
Safety and security cannot be measured linearly but is a large mesh of tradeoffs between preventing various attack vectors, user simplicity, and making a platform so secure that it even locks out the users themselves. We feel strongly that we’ve found a powerful balance of all the above. Our goal has been to take the edge-security technology that has only been available and usable by programmers and information technology managers and deliver it to the common user. We feel that we’ve accomplished that goal but will continue to improve and innovate on it.
Airbitz just received a big investment from Block 26. How will you use this?
We’ll use this to continue to harden our platform and offer additional functionality within our mobile app such as enabling users to buy and sell bitcoin through third-party party providers. We also aim to offer the security functionality we’ve built as a platform for other developers to use with a myriad of apps, with and without bitcoin.
What’s the long-term potential for bitcoin as a financial medium?
Bitcoin has every capability to disrupt and replace every financial service from banking to stock trading. Any type of service that currently requires a third-party custodian or third-party transmitter is rendered nearly obsolete with bitcoin. In addition, the relatively new concept of government-based fiat currency can easily be replaced with bitcoin and take us back to the era of independent, borderless money that is only influenced by the individuals who decide to give it value and not the arbitrary political whims and chess matches of various state leaders.
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