One of the reasons Bitcoin is so exciting is the speed at which new innovations and standards can spring into place. The Bitcoin industry looks completely different today than it did five years ago, three years ago, or even six months ago.
1. PayPal Partnered with BitPay, Coinbase, and GoCoin to Accept Bitcoin
With over 150 million registered users, PayPal is a huge player in the world of transactions. This year it was announced that PayPal will be partnering with BitPay, Coinbase, and GoCoin, to enable all PayPal users to buy and sell things with Bitcoin.
This is absolutely huge, so huge in fact that immediately after the announcement the price of Bitcoin rose almost $50.
“PayPal is the biggest name in online payments, and Braintree is used by a TON of online retailers. Making it easier for all those retailers to accept Bitcoin will vastly increase the size of the Bitcoin ecosystem. Big win all around.” — Ben Parr, Managing Partner of DominateFund and Author of Captivology
2. Tim Draper Bought ~30,000 Bitcoins from the US Marshals
When the US Government shut down Silk Road, the illegal website that was enabling people to purchase drugs and weapons with bitcoin, they had the opportunity to seize the site’s bitcoins and never let them see the light of day, or alternatively they could decide to sell them.
The decided to auction them off. This is excellent because it means these bitcoins can go back into circulation, but it is also interesting because it shows that the US Governement officially values bitcoins and is treating them like assets.
“It was essentially a statement from the Government that Bitcoin was ‘legal’ and reaffirmed the growing interest of VC interest in the space. As VC investment pours in, more and more talent from tech giants join in to build the ecosystem.” — Derek Minter, Founder of Honeybadgr
3. Multi-Signature Transactions
Multi-Signature transactions, or commonly referred to as “Multi-sig”, is a rather new trend in the Bitcoin ecosystem. Multi-sig is specifically designed to make bitoins more secure, protecting your currency from theives and hackers.
Previously, in order to send your bitcoins all you had to was enter your private key and wallet address, and BAM, you could send your bitcoins anywhere. This can be nice, but it also means that as long as someone gains access to your private keys then they can steal your bitcoin. This is obviously bad.
Multi-sig lets you, or the company holding your bitcoin, create multiple private keys, thus making your bitcoin even more secure. You can now give private keys to more than one person (a husband and wife for example) and now those bitcoins can’t be sent to someone else unless both parties agree to do it.
“Multisig, implemented properly, transforms the Bitcoin metaphor from a mattress stuffed with cash to money in the bank. But it’s better than money in the bank, because it’s like having money in the bank that even the bank can’t touch.” — Adam McKenna, Co-Founder and CTO of ZapChain, Founder of Multipool.us
4. Major Companies Adopted Bitcoin
2014 has been a tremendous year for adoption of Bitcoin. Not only are companies like Stripe and PayPal adopting Bitcoin, but major merchants like Dell, DirecTV, CheapAir, LeapMotion, and 1–800-Flowers have come on board.
This recent acceleration of Bitcoin adoption is all thanks to companies like Coinbase and BitPay, who are currently leading the industry in merchant services.
“Major players [are] embracing the technology including Stripe, Paypal, Shopify and more. Finally the start of some M&A in ecosystem with the acquisition of Gyft.” — Sean Percival, Venture Partner at 500 Startups focused on Bitcoin investments
5. Huge Increase in Venture Capital Invested in Bitcoin Companies
Did you know that over $260 million of venture capital has been invested into Bitcoin companies, more than 50% of that happening in 2014 alone? That is insane!
Investors like Andreessen Horowitz, 500 Startups, Boost VC, Pantera, Ribbit, and more, are showing a lot of support for the Bitcoin ecosystem.
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