BLOCKCHAIN ROLLS OUT NEW ANDROID APP WITH BITCOIN MERCHANT MAP
19 JUL 2014 POSTED BY AARON SINES
Blockchain has released a new, entirely redesigned version of its Android App. The app’s design is said to be so smooth and simple, that its users will hardly know they are transacting in bitcoin.
In an exclusive conversation with Romain Dillet of TechCrunch, Blockchain co-founder and CEO, Nic Cary explains the purpose behind the company’s new app:
“Our Android app has to do with making bitcoin so easy to use that people don’t even have to think about addresses for example.”
In Blockchain’s initiative to bring bitcoin to the masses, much like the adoption of email, Cary explains that in doing so, it is important to hide the more technical aspects behind the technology that many users would find daunting:
“That stuff exists in bitcoin, but just like there are complicated things happening in email, they are hidden.”
Thanks to Blockchain’s new Android app, sending bitcoin will be as easy as sending a text message. Forget about using the lengthy, sometimes intimidating bitcoin address, because with the new app, you simply scroll through your contacts and select a name. Then, given that user already has the app, your work is finished and the transaction is complete.
In a perhaps an inadvertent effort of spreading adoption, Blockchain’s new app lets users send bitcoin to those who don’t even have a bitcoin wallet. Simply select a contact just as you would as if they already have the app, then Blockchain provides that user with an alert and a redemption code, which will then prompt that user to download the app, or they can simply sign up online to redeem their balance.
According to Cary:
“When you explain why bitcoin is valuable, 99 percent of people understand that it’s useful. But it gets a little intimidating when they actually start using bitcoin.”
Thats why Blockchain’s new app not only provides an easy way for those unfamiliar to begin transacting in bitcoin, but the app comes complete with a set of instructions on how to secure, store and manage your bitcoin. The app further explains to new users the importance of implementing a strong password in addition to two-factor authentication.
THE MERCHANT MAP
The “wow factor” of Blockchain’s new app; however, isn’t in its simplicity to send bitcoin, but rather in its new bitcoin merchant map. Cary tells TechCrunch that along with today’s update comes the “world’s first” verified merchant map:
“We verified every single one of these merchants and we’re bringing new ones every week.”
The app shows an actual mapped out view of its verified bitcoin-accepting merchants while letting you know which ones are closest to you at any given time.
MUCH MORE TO COME
With the now over two million users listed on Blockchain.info, including those using the Blockchain app, the company has many more exciting developments on the way, and according to Cary, the revamp of its Android app is just the first.
Cary tells TechCrunch:
“The Android wallet is the first update to our wallets. We’re bringing branding, design and feature parity to Chrome, Firefox, the website and the mobile apps.”
Perhaps most exciting of these developments comes the talk of Blockchain’s soon-to-be trimuphant return of its iOS app.
Following Apple’s well-known blocking of the Blockchain.info iOS app, which had over 120,000 downloads upon its removal, Cary, who teased the app’s return via twitter just weeks ago, has some exciting news following Apple’s recent backtracking of its former policy.
Cary, in question as to if and when we can expect to see a Blockchain app with wallet functionality back on the App Store, responded by replying “yes, as soon as possible.”
However, not to jump the gun, Cary says that the company’s first initiative is to revisit the concept behind the QR code when carrying out bitcoin transactions:
“We are building an HTML5 wallet, and we’ve built a pairing solution for credentials, […] we completely reengineered the QR code reader to work in HTML5. We’ll be open-sourcing that as well.”
Blockchain’s initiative is to create the world’s most favored bitcoin wallets, the company recognizes that in doing so, QR codes may not be the way to go. Cary tells TechCrunch that among the company’s options, it is looking into Near field communication, where users nearby could simply select from those closest to them in order to complete transactions.
In part of Blockchain’s grand scheme, it’s not about creating a product that simply works, its about creating a product that works best. And perhaps more importantly, a product that can bring bitcoin to the masses.
Image Credit: Blockchain