A New Bitcoin Exchange and Crowdfunding 2.0
By: Kim Wales (NY) — 01/23/2015
Over the past few weeks Bitcoin value has taken beating and in the past 12 months we’ve been hearing a lot about how Bitcoin’s underlying technology is going to decentralize the central banks monetary system, but also notary services, DNS, authentication, intellectual property ownership and data storage. And with all of the optimism surrounding Bitcoin, Europe’s leading Bitcoin exchange, Bitstamp, was forced to suspend operations, after losing millions of dollars worth of virtual currency due to a breach in its systems in early January 2015.
In a strong and bold move by, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss believe they have the answer a “fully regulated” Bitcoin exchange based in the United States. It is intended to break through as the frictionless payment method many believe it can be. However, in order to stabilize the value of Bitcoin and get more of the naysayers onboard, Bitcoin must evolve into “an ecosystem that is free of hacking, fraud and security breaches,” wrote Cameron Winklevoss in a blog post announcing the Gemini exchange.
While most of the products and services that were supposed to emerge on top of the bitcoin protocol have yet to see light, there’s actually one application of the bitcoin protocol that has been developed by several bitcoin 2.0 startups: decentralized crowdfunding.
Bitcoin is already driving the early stages of frictionless capitalism. A startup company, BitPesa, has launched a Bitcoin remittances company that intergrates with Kenya’s mobile money system M-Pesa. The pilot involves 15 diaspora originally from Kenya but who lives in London. These individuals regularly send money back to their home countries via traditional remittance mechanism. For the pilot program, the participants will only be able to use the BitPesa platform. This could prove a win for all in reducing transaction fees and placing more money in the pockets of local community people. This could spur business creation, job creation and ultimately decreasing the wealth inequality gap.
“A growing number of US investors, traders, financial institutions and businesses wanted to get involved with bitcoin directly, but had no options other than to trade overseas or sit on the sidelines.” An extended entry “GEMINI SAYS IT’LL HAVE TOP-NOTCH SECURITY AND FDIC INSURANCE!”
Gemini is set to standardize the way in which Bitcoin is traded for buyers and sellers bridging the gap that currently exist in the marketplace while expanding what some platforms powered by blockchain technology remove the need for trusted third party.
The evolution of the crowdfunding has merged with Bitcoin, allowing startups to raise funds by creating their own digital currencies and selling “cryptographic shares” to early backers. This means that investors in crowdfunding campaigns get tokens that represent shares of the startup they support and can actually benefit from the token value appreciation.
In part, revolutionizing the way companies can raise money while at the same time adding a return on the investors holding in Bitcoin is what I find attractive in the model, once implemented properly. The bitcoin community has coined the term “Bitcoin-powered crowdfunding” as real crowdfunding. Enthusiasm around these projects is also tied to the fact that these platforms would be a real source of investment for other types of blockchain-powered applications and would help with the funding of Bitcoin infrastructure.
Platforms like Swarm, Koinify and Lighthouse are three decentralized crowdfunding platforms that have generated a buzz in the Bitcoin community.
As soon as the exchange gains regulatory approval from Benjamin M. Lawsky, the superintendent of New York’s Department of Financial Services, Gemini will proceed forward. A test model of the exchange is already up and running, according to the Times.
It is too early to know Bitcoin’s fate since it is not clear whether a central bank or other regulatory entity will govern it; that final decision may ultimately rule in its success or demise. However, even with uncertainty, venture capitalist are swooning the market and the adoption rate of Bitcoin continues to increase by a number of well-known retailers, including Overstock, Expedia and Dell. Each started accepting Bitcoin for domestic sales through their websites over the past few months.
One thing is for sure, the capital market is being reformed and this in turn will influence how capital formation will be achieved in the coming years.