Thursday, April 26, 2012
Have you ever wanted to be your own bank? There's an app for that. With the new Blockchain bitcoin wallet for Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, anyone can emulate the functionality of a bank. Simply download the free app from the App Store and you have a fully-functioning send and receive online wallet that allows value transfer without the need for a bank or other financial intermediary. This is the proper path to a cashless society!
Blockchain.info is an offering from UK-based Qkos Services Ltd. that provides online wallet management services and real-time data analytics from the bitcoin block chain. Run by Ben Reeves, the small company has released several reliable services and products for the thriving bitcoin community including charts, statistical data, the web-based My Wallet, an Android wallet app, and most recently an impressive bitcoin wallet app for Apple’s iOS.
The reviews coming in so far are excellent. "Welcome to the future. This is going to change the game," writes one app user. Blockchain has combined powerful payment functionality with ease-of-use and an aesthetically pleasing interface. "The pace of innovation in the Bitcoin-related space is accelerating — something that could be revolutionary even, considering it all comes from participation by individuals as there is no corporation or industry group overseeing Bitcoin endeavors," observes the BitcoinMoney blog.
Apple has long had their eyes on the lucrative mobile payments space strategizing on an entry point. This non-dongle iPhone app is especially important now that the 'dongle wars' have heated up between Apple mobile payment competitors Square and PayPal. Ironically with mountains of existing iTunes customer accounts, Apple could find itself in the best position to capitalize on a robust cash-like ecosystem that completely bypasses the banks via apps. If they chose to do so, Apple could quickly become the premier bitcoin exchanger for retail.
Company founder Ben Reeves explains, "The beauty of bitcoin is that it's fully decentralized -- no government or corporation can block payments or revoke accounts. My hope is that this app allows bitcoin to reach a more mainstream audience." The company also plans to release an SDK (Software Development Kit) which will allow developers of iPhone apps to accept bitcoin payments in their own apps. Interviewed for this article, Reeves said that Apple wallet downloads have been averaging about 250 per day which should allow it to quickly surpass the number of downloads for the Android version.
So, what's new for Apple users worldwide? Firstly, financial privacy is paramount and it's protected by requiring only a password as identifying information and by shielding your Internet location from the network. International payments are now free without using credit cards and without the risk of chargebacks. Transactions are received in milliseconds and they become irreversible within a hour. There is capacity for up to 400 bitcoin addresses so you can open new bank accounts and instantly receive deposits at the touch of a button. Addresses are clickable to display a QR code and you can also scan QR codes to make payments. Keys are stored securely on your phone and encrypted on Blockchain's servers so if you lose your phone, no sweat -- you're protected.
Empowering your own monetary future has never been so accessible. I might even wait in line to purchase the new iPhone 5. Why approve the Blockchain app at this time when it was mysteriously rejected before? Maybe Apple no longer wanted it as an illicit app on the Cydia website. "Or perhaps Apple saw the Android version of the app and prefers to maintain its strong iPhone market share," posits BitcoinMoney. Whatever the reason, Blockchain now joins 16 other bitcoin-related apps currently available from the App Store.