US bitcoin exchange Circle has launched its free mobile app for sending and storing the digital currency. The service will be available for iOS and Android devices.
Circle founder and CEO Jeremy Allaire said: “We’re particularly excited about our Android release, both because of its feature completeness, and also because Android is becoming an important platform for finance on a worldwide basis.
Low-cost Android phones are coming to markets like India, Indonesia, and Africa, where the vast majority of users don’t have bank accounts, and where digital currency services could become a critical new utility. While the initial release is US only, you can expect to see Circle’s apps available in more markets, languages and currencies.”
Allaire believes the launch will help to expand the bitcoin’s global footprint. Earlier this year, he wrote a post stating that “as we work towards building a more globally integrated society and economy, it seems increasingly critical that the form of money that binds us not be tied to any single nation-state.”
“We can deliver our services entirely though mobile devices and bring [mobile users in emerging markets] into the banking system in a way they haven’t been able to before,” he added.
Circle intends to simplify the process of using Bitcoin and make it as simple as traditional payment methods of peer-to-peer transactions and in-store purchases.
The app is now available only in the US, but Allaire plans to release the service in other countries soon.
The users will be able to send money using a phone’s contact address and a bitcoin address. It will be also possible to make in-person transactions using QR codes and convert bitcoin using bank accounts and cards. To provide quick access, the app uses specific pin codes and multi-factor authentication and is also integrated with TouchID.
In a blog post regarding the new service, Allaire wrote: “We also focused on smartphone-specific features for enhancing the security of your digital finance experience, including leveraging Multi-Factor Authentication, using app-specific PIN Codes for quick access, and new OS-specific features like TouchID to make payments.”
Circle is committed to expand through Android in such countries as India, Africa and Indonesia, where people have less access to traditional banking services.
The company said that being able to realize digital micro-transactions, and get an access to micro-financing services is a great opportunity for “informal economies where people want to be able to more easily interact financially.”