A startup that claims to have built the Bitcoin world’s version of the proverbial better mousetrap has added three high-profile Bitcoin entrepreneurs to its team, seeking their help with business strategy, programming and other areas of the business.
Toronto-based KryptoKit announced Sunday that Erik Voorhees, Roger Ver and Vitalik Buterin are joining the business in ownership roles, though it declined to specify their equity shares. All three are prominent in digital currency circles. Buterin, for instance, co-founded Bitcoin Magazine, and can be involved with various Bitcoin software projects.
"Vitalik rounds out what’s learning to be a very diverse and capable team," Steve Dakh, among KryptoKit’s co-founders, said in a statement. "Among the top developers in Bitcoin, he’ll be considered a huge asset as we continue steadily to develop and perfect our backend and programming."
Ver and Voorhees will serve as advisors on business strategy and communications. Although Voorhees expects his time commitment to be limited, he says he wished to become involved after KryptoKit co-founder Anthony Di Iorio showed him a prototype of the wallet service weeks ago. "He’s an incredible programmer who built this thing really quickly, one among those genius guys," he says of Di Iorio.
Voorhees is a bonafide Bitcoin millionaire. Last July, he sold his Bitcoin gambling site, SatoshiDice, for 126,315 bitcoins, a sum then worth $12.4 million and worth some $115.8 million on Coinbase, or $129.2 million on Mt. Gox, by 2 p.m. EST on Monday. Buterin wrote the story for his magazine.
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KryptoKit debuted its wallet service at the within Bitcoins conference in NEVADA last month. The wallet is a plug-in for Google Chrome which, once installed, runs constantly. You don’t have to sign in or out. Among KryptoKit’s unique features is that it captures Bitcoin addresses on a website and makes them obtainable in the plug-in as payment destinations. That way, buying things online with Bitcoin is really as simple as pointing and clicking.
This feature is particularly convenient when coming up with several small transactions, Voorhees says. In a stroke of good timing, gaming company Zynga announced on Saturday that it’s now trying out Bitcoin as a payment option for virtual-good purchases in its "Ville" games — FarmVille and FarmVille 2, CityVille, CastleVille and others. Zynga, with market capitalization of $3.25 billion, is currently the first major gaming company to simply accept payments in Bitcoin.
The cost of Bitcoin spiked on the news headlines, reaching $917 on Coinbase by midday Monday EST.
Because many Bitcoin users are worried with security and privacy, KryptoKit offers an encrypted chat function and backup service for every user’s private key. That way, in the event that you lose your personal computer, you haven’t lost your cash.
KryptoKit helps move Bitcoin "from the difficult-to-use camp and helps it be better for normal people," Voorhees says.
KryptoKit’s new hires not merely represent a vote of confidence in the startup’s growth potential but also reflect the cameraderie that exists among Bitcoin pioneers. For example, Buterin is also involved with what would seem to become a competing in-browser Bitcoin wallet, Dark Wallet, which has been produced by Cody Wilson of Defense Distributed, amongst others.
But Voorhees, who moved to Panama and launched his startup Coinapult after working as the director of marketing for BitInstant in NY, says the Bitcoin ecosystem makes cooperation more appealing than competition.
"It is the first decentralized, open-source company or open-source organization," he says. "There is no one leading Bitcoin, nonetheless it ties people together, and as Bitcoin benefits, most of us do."
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