Bitcoin Unicorns BitPay, Uphold and Circle Distancing Themselves from Bitcoin

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by Tatsiana Yablonskaya · 3 min read
Bitcoin Unicorns BitPay, Uphold and Circle Distancing Themselves from Bitcoin
Photo: yosuke muroya/Flickr

Bitcoin startups get focused on blockchain shifting away from bitcoin as a digital currency.

Three bitcoin giants – Circle, Uphold (prev. Bitreserve) and BitPay – have been noticed distancing from the cryptocurrency blockchain technology recently. Such rapid course change is likely to be connected with disability of bitcoin to become mainstream.

Bitreserve was started as a bitcoin wallet and exchange. It hasn’t been long since the company was rebranded in Uphold. It was October 14, 2015 when Bitreserve announced a complete rebranding and came up with new services and products.

In total Uphold has conducted transactions in 24 currencies with total value of more than $400 million. So far it has managed to embrace 163 countries. Being one of the largest bitcoin companies in the world Uphold has transacted approximately 22% of all publicly traded bitcoin.

Uphold is especially interested in blockchain. It uses the technology for free currency transfers. Anthony Watson, Uphold’s CEO, says: “By connecting the world’s legacy and fragmented financial networks and systems with the world’s leading cloud-money platform we bring to the marketplace instant, transparent, accountable and free financial services for all. We’re simplifying and radically reducing costs for all financial transactions and services — from currency conversions to international money transfers and payroll to bill payment and remittance.”

Watson explains why people are used to associating the company with bitcoin first of all: “When we say bit, we don’t mean bitcoin, we never did. We meant bit as is bits and bytes and reserve is obviously holding the value. But people are confused, they think we’re just a bitcoin company and it makes sense as our first use case was bitcoin.”

Circle, a mobile bitcoin wallet, echoes Bitreserve in its interest to blockchain. Its CEO Jeremy Allaire sees the technology able to make transferring money as easy as sending an email. He claims that Circle has always strived to go beyond bitcoin as a digital currency. The company has recently begun accepting US dollars.

BitPay, a global bitcoin payment service provider, has also focused on blockchain. It is developing applications now based on the technology. The company has recently handled layoffs to “reduce costs” and “better align with the pace of growth” in the industry.

Despite the fact that bitcoin does attract attention for research, it’s ability to act as a real payment method remains low. Nevertheless it’s always has one big trump – blockchain. According to Economist “bitcoin itself may never be more than a curiosity. However blockchains have a host of other uses because they meet the need for a trustworthy record, something vital for transactions of every sort.”

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