Feature Interview: Paul Puey Puts “Buzz” into Bitcoin with Airbitz “2.0” and Fold

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Like a caffeine-infused jolt, Airbitz’s announcement late last year that it will be promoting bitcoin by offering discounts at Starbucks (20%) and Target (10%) has energized cryptocurrency enthusiasts worldwide. This initiative is part of a collaborative partnership with Fold, a digital card app that was seamlessly integrated onto the Airbitz bitcoin wallet. The hope is that incentivizing consumers to save money will encourage both current bitcoin users as well as those new to the digital currency to engage in its use for everyday purchases. This much-ballyhooed development by Airbitz, which officially launched its bitcoin wallet in October 2014, comes on the heels of $450,000 in seed funding that the company received from the blockchain venture capital firm Block26. BTCMANAGER had the opportunity to talk with Airbitz CEO Paul Puey about this partnership with Starbucks and Target and what it portends for the future of bitcoin consumer commerce. On Collaboration Puey first learned about Fold App in 2014 and determined it to be a powerful driver of engagement for those unfamiliar with bitcoin. But he felt that there were some challenges in terms of its fluidity and seamlessness for the user. So an initial meeting occurred with Fold in 2014. Later, …

VC Firm Block26 Makes First Bitcoin Bet on Airbitz Wallet

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Los Angeles-based venture capital firm Block26 has completed its first investment, contributing $450,000 to the ongoing seed round for bitcoin wallet provider Airbitz. Launched in June, Block26 has indicated it plans to focus specifically on blockchain and digital currency ventures, contributing to seed to later-stage rounds. Calling the funding the company’s “first big announcement”, Block26 principal Ni’coel Stark indicated that Airbitz is representative of the kind of companies in which her new venture firm is looking to invest. Stark told CoinDesk: “We’re really looking for nuances in the technology. Airbitz is an amazing wallet, it solves problems for consumers, but it’s so much more than that. We see opportunities beyond the wallet, the ability that they have to go into security, their contributions to the Internet of Things, altogether they really make them fascinating.” She went on to call Airbitz “underrated” compared to its competition due to its team’s ability to contribute to areas of the technology beyond simply creating quality mobile bitcoin wallets. “Block26 is attracted to what’s under the surface,” she added. Going forward, Stark indicated that Block26 intends to “innovate along with the space”, and that it plans to focus on a smaller selection of high-quality startups. …