Bitcoin extends reach to average consumers with mobile apps

By Rizza Sta. Ana

Dec 05, 2013 03:47 PM EST

Interest in Bitcoin had extended slowly to the average customer via mobile. According to a Bloomberg report, a mini-boom in smartphone software catering to the use and trade of Bitcoins had been seen in recent times. This, the report said, was influenced by the accessibility and ease of customers using virtual currency to make quick, everyday transactions like splitting a bill or paying for food. Moreover, widening appeal of the virtual currency had Bitcoin recording trading value in the highest levels, surpassing the thousand dollar apiece just last week.

Payment-researcher Crone Consulting LLC chief executive officer Richard Crone said, "Bitcoin's success hinges on how well it's adopted and configured for mobile. They are very dependent on mobile actually scaling."

Gliph Inc is one of the smartphone software makers who had been cashing in on the Bitcoin trend. Amassing over 25,000 users, Gliph recently raised over USD350,000 from Tim Draper and other venture capitalists to develop and market the mobile app. Gliph, Bloomberg noted, is one of the hundreds of apps related to Bitcoin available from Apple and Google app stores. Since Bitcoin technically exists as a software, app makers are seeing growth opportunities by gearing their products toward the Bitcoin as mobile apps are an efficient way for the average user to transfer money.

On the other hand, the financial industry is trying to set up regulations to ensure that no laws are violated in Bitcoin transactions. As part of its brief to regulate retail financial markets, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is watching over the mobile-payments industry for any signs of violations. Gliph CEP Rob Banagale and other enthusiasts of the virtual currency will be discussing security and regulation issues at a Las Vegas conference next week. San Francisco-based Bitcoin payment service Asedik Inc had curb the number of Bitcoin transactions using their payment service.

In an interview, Asedik CEO Matthew Martin said, "We want to make sure mobile-phone users are protected. We never want to get into a scenario where someone stole your phone and made purchases."

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