21 inc. Bitcoin: What do they have up their sleeve?

Bitcoin is known by the general public as a digital currency, useful to transfer money over the internet and known as the currency of choice over the ‘deep web’ made famous by Ross Ulbricht and his site Silk Road. But dubbing bitcoin as ‘a suspicious anonymous cryptocurrency’ is incorrect and misleading; it’s something much greater.

Yesterday, 21 inc. announced that a record $116 million in venture capital funding has been acquired over the last year 18 months. This eclipses the previous record held by Coinbase, who managed to raise $106 million as a bitcoin related business. So what do 21 inc. plan to do build with all this money?

21 inc. co-founder Matthew Pauker has stated:

“Bitcoin is going to change the way that people and businesses and even machines interact with each other. But for bitcoin to realize that vision we need mass adoption. It can’t just be for Silicon Valley.”


Pauker also mentioned, to expect several interesting developments over the next weeks and months” so the question everybody wants to know the answer to is ‘what does bitcoin need to be driven into mainstream adoption?’

We have seen bitcoin the ‘currency’ drive prices over $1100 USD with very little tangibility to get enthusiastic about. In 2013 bitcoin was only useful as a digital form of cash. It’s surprising that ‘bitcoin the currency’ with its low merchant acceptance and suspicious upbringing could fetch such a high price with such small infrastructure.

Now we are starting to see development in other parts of bitcoin, things that couldn’t exist months ago. You see, buying coffee was possible without bitcoin but blockchain technology and smart contracts absolutely were not. In 2015 we are seeing the smart contract market emerge and its potential for future mainstream adoption.

21 inc. Is currently looking for employees to: “Conceptualize and execute the deals that will make bitcoin happen at the hardware layer” – Coindesk

My prediction is that 21 inc. wants to build smart-property into the mainstream mindset by releasing a product to give the everyday consumers greater trust in cryptography. I predict that 21 inc. is going to build the tangible ‘house key’ equivalent for bitcoin smart-property, contracts and currency.

“Mr. Srinivasan (21 inc. investor) compares 21’s work in building bitcoin products for the general public to the sequential development of 56-kilobit Internet modems, international fiber cables and wireless Internet towers, which all helped bring the Internet into people’s homes in the late 1990s.” – WSJ

The “Internet of things” is a market waiting for mainstream adoption; it can provide innovation towards consumers and build entirely new industries. But in order for this to be realized, one very important thing is needed: a tangible trust mechanism to establish smart contracts into the mainstream mindset as being secure.

One very important thing is needed: a tangible trust mechanism to establish smart contracts into the mainstream mindset as being secure.

The system of association between digital and material is lacking a perfect end-user trust system. This mechanism would act as the point of interaction between the person and their digital security systems. Everyone trusts a house-key or a deed not because it’s absolutely secure but because of its tangibility and perceived security, this is what bitcoin lacks.

Bitcoin’s cryptography is much more secure than keys to a house (If you can hack bitcoin you can hack every online security system in existence), ‘mainstreamers’ just don’t trust it. To the consumer, it’s just letters and numbers on a computer susceptible to human error.

If you build a tangible trusted mechanism that allows people to strengthen their own security they will use it, they will self-enforce it, and they will begin to replace their existing security measure with better ones.  Once people trust a digital hardware device there will be no issue with blockchains and building this internet of things.

If 21 inc. builds a tangible ‘lock and key’ product for bitcoin smart property it will be a game changer towards consumer adoption. If it is cheap, secure and replicable it could replace your keys, credit cards, passport and create a multitude of new products that are immune to forgery, theft and corruption.

When people have a physical manifest of their digital property, bitcoin will be seen in an entirely different light than as a ‘shady online currency’ and so will its price.

I believe this product is the missing product in the bitcoin ecosystem. Once created it will allow the everyday person to trust bitcoin and its related services with the same trust they give to a key to open their house when they get home at night. When people have a physical manifest of their digital property, bitcoin will be seen in an entirely different light than as a ‘shady online currency’ and so will its price.

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