Bitcoin startup Circle has just announced its first major BTC solution at Bitcoin 2014 in Amsterdam.
The service, which is currently invite only, will offer a simplified Bitcoin experience similar to online banking and other financial services, similar to PayPal or Skrill. The most prominent feature Circle offers is that current balance is presented in USD, rather than BTC.
Circle’s interface is more simplified than other services, keeping the Bitcoin terminology and references to a minimum. This strategy is meant to attract less Bitcoin aficionados and is geared more towards the masses which until now have steered away from the cryptocurrency, be it due to technical or trust issues.
“A huge theme we saw with digital currency was that an enormous amount of friction exists for the average consumer trying to acquire and use it. Whether it be products that require users to understand public key cryptography, or install and manage desktop software, or navigate user experiences oriented toward traders not retail consumers: we saw complexity everywhere,” stated Circle CEO and founder Jeremy Allaire in a recent Blog post.
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Circle has stated the new BTC “banking” service will not require any fees. The service also picks up on Bitcoin links from supporting merchants to cleanly handle the payments. It is uncertain at this time if they are planning on supporting direct merchant payments, but it does seem they would process some sort of a transaction fee given they do in the future.
Circle does face stiff competition from the likes of Coinbase, and future high security wallet Xapo. Given Circle’s simplistic nature we do expect to see migration towards the service from first time Bitcoiners and those who find the current methods of BTC based payments too complicated for conventional use. Circle also plans on offering telephone support for its registered users, bridging the gap that much closer to conventional real-world banking. The firm is offering $10 in BTC to all new users as incentive to gear more users to the new service.
With Circle’s new banking oriented service, Xapo’s intentions of a Bitcoin debit card, and Robocoin’s BTC ATMs, we can see a major shift for the once obscure digital currency making its way into conventional payment and banking methods.