Reflections and Projections — Bitcoin 2014 to 2015

Bitcoin from 2014 to 2015

As 2014 rolls to an end I’d like to reflect on the accomplishments made this past year and project some expectations for 2015.

Bitcoin in 2014

2014 was a major buildout year with amazing growth in infrastructure, startup investment, media coverage, and most of all for Airbitz, merchant adoption. We saw Overstock, Tiger Direct, Dish Networks, Dell, and Microsoft give the thumbs up to our internet “funny money”. Merchant adoption exploded with Airbitz encountering almost 100 merchants coming online per week globally, with many more quietly accepting bitcoin. At this time last year, our hometown, San Diego, had 10 merchants accepting bitcoin and only two restaurants. We now have over 110 merchants and 6 restaurants accepting bitcoin in San Diego with many more to follow.

We saw the first Bitcoin ATM land in Vancouver in Nov 2013, and a year later we have over 300 ATMs worldwide manufactured by almost a dozen different providers and being rolled out by over a dozen different organizations.

The selection of wallets has also exploded, especially coinciding with Apple relaxing their ban on bitcoin software. This is the beauty of the bitcoin ecosystem. Compared to the thousands of banks to which are more or less the same, bitcoin provides users with a plethora of wallet choices to suite the needs of each individual, organization, or business — for the tech savvy to newb, for quick spending to uber secure, for mobile to desktop.

The promise of multisig wallets has come to the forefront although many still claim usability as a missing component.

October 2014 marked the launch of the Airbitz wallet which brings full financial functionality to a wallet while still retaining bitcoin’s privacy and financial autonomy. Airbitz provides HD, rolling address wallets with a simple login & password that’s usable on any iOS or Android device. We’ve stepped up wallet functionality by providing full transaction tagging of payee, category, and notes and exportable transaction data to save your accountant many grey hairs.

For 2015 here’s what to expect from Bitcoin and Airbitz

I predict merchant adoption will be the next major ramp up with tight knit integration with major Point-of-Sale systems such as Aloha and Micros. This will FINALLY make the merchant experience seamless and eliminate the need for clunky, external tablets & phones.

NFC and Bluetooth (BLE) will become far more standard between wallets and POS systems, helping alleviate the need for QR codes. Apple will *hopefully* open up their NFC SDK to developers allowing NFC across the board on iOS & Android devices. BLE will finally be fixed in Android and be significantly more widespread across Android 5.0 devices. See our video for how seamless a bitcoin transaction can be with BLE.

Multisig wallets will finally come to the masses. Airbitz aims to be one of the great consumer multisig solutions following our own lead in implementing the easiest user experience for each bitcoin technology we support.

I predict bitcoin recognition among the public will take another order of magnitude jump in 2015 with exposure from the Bitcoin Bowl II, new VCs entering the space, and major merchants hopping on board. Systems to easily provide merchant discounts to consumers will be put into place. Passing the credit card fee savings to consumers will finally make for a compelling use case for bitcoin and eliminate the benefit of credit card rewards.

With the great increase in merchant adoption, people will finally realize that living a large portion of their life on bitcoin will become much more trivial, allowing people to take more of their salary in bitcoin using great services like Bitwage.

For Airbitz, one of our core goals for 2015 will be delivering our Airbitz Core (ABC) platform to developers. We’re taking our extreme focus on ease-of-use and giving developers the most complete bitcoin wallet platform that provides the most amount of functionality, leaving them to innovate on their core expertise. We expect this to bring about a major upgrade in innovation for many bitcoin projects such as ATMs, exchanges, mobile apps, and payroll services.

As for the price?!

The big question on everyones’ minds. Well that up to you, us, to decide. It’s up to every evangelist, developer, entrepreneur, and investor. Do we keep the faith or run for seemingly safer ground? Ask yourself if 100,000s of smart, young, savvy entrepreneurs, developers, investors, technologists, and economists have ever been wrong about a technology that’s not just survived, but experienced six years of growth. Then place your vote and see where the needle moves.

Happy New Year!
Paul Puey
CEO / Airbitz

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