Meet Coinkite, the Toronto-based company who has brought digital currency to secure wallets, debit cards and point of sale terminals.
As a Bitcoin or even Litecoin oriented consumer, you can get a secure wallet optimized for mobile devices and/or debit-like cards for making purchases. As a merchant, you can process payments with these debit cards using point of sale terminals specially tailored toward digital currency.
You can also e-mail bitcoins to a friend, even if the receiver does not yet have a wallet.
Coinkite is the first to fill a key niche in the ever-evolving world of cryptocurrency, namely a “physical” means of payment in brick-and-mortar stores which has been traditionally performed via cash, debit or credit cards. This marks a shift from the strictly e-commerce or generally virtual methods of payment spearheaded by competitors such as BitPay and Coinbase.
You can get a pretty thorough overview of their solutions and features in their FAQ pages, which also make the notion of Bitcoin more palatable to the average consumer or merchant not yet familiar with digital currency.
DC Magnates spoke to Coinkite co-founder Rodolfo Novak about what makes them unique and their plans for the future.
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- The wallet does not employ any use of “cold storage”. Found elsewhere, ostensibly for security reasons, the holder of funds doesn’t know if his funds are really there or are in use as “play money” elsewhere. In such cases, the account holder is limited in how much he can withdraw at a time, analogous to traditional fiat savings accounts which often require some advance notice before withdrawal. Coinkite holds funds in “full reserve”, meaning you can withdraw any or the entire amount at any time, without compromising on security.
- True, merchants and consumers can do everything the “new-old” way with smartphones and tablets- but they don’t. Some merchants are wary of the high cost and risks of damage or theft that come with these devices and would rather not rely on them for their business to function. The payment terminals are useless to a thief and are strong enough to handle rough treatment.
- Consumers have the flexibility of having their smartphone scanned, printing off a scan-able paper form or using the debit cards. The cards are officially “dumb” and pose no security risk.
Will Coinkite be supporting additional crytpocurrencies in the future such as Peercoin, Namecoin or Dogecoin?
Coinkite is certainly open to it. Interested parties can voice their demand. Subject to Coinkite’s rules of adoption, technical specs, development time and funding, other crytpos can be enabled, as the systems are flexible toward any currency.
What kind of businesses use your service?
You have all types, ranging from professionals like to dentists to restaurants to exchanges and even places selling bitcoin-related technology.
The Canadian government does not recognize bitcoin as a currency. Does this work in Coinkite’s favor?
Yes, it gives more room to innovate and develop, which would be more difficult if legislation were to kick in. However, the company is well positioned even if it does.
Outlook on Bitcoin’s Value
Difficult to tell at this point. It will be great for the company’s solutions if it takes off. At the same time, Coinkite can still thrive if BTC drops in value. Coinkite has a reserve of Bitcoin to hedge for such scenarios.