Despite volatility and growing pains common in new markets, many believe that crytocurrencies like Bitcoin are going to revolutionize digital commerce. That has created a gold rush as entrepreneurs and companies move to take advantage of the opportunities Bitcoin has created.
In an effort to drive adoption of Bitcoin and direct its users to useful Bitcoin applications, Coinbase, one of the leading Bitcoin digital wallets, recently launched an app store to highlight applications built using its API.
Through Coinbase Apps, users can browse Bitcoin web and mobile apps developed on the Coinbase platform. These apps include the winners of its first online BitHack contest, CoinPlanter, Aircoin and Coinery.io, as well as popular applications like Pounce, Gliph and Hive. All of these applications allow Coinbase users to use Bitcoin in new and useful ways. For instance, Aircoin allows users to send Bitcoin to someone nearby using a mobile phone and Pounce offers a way for users to make purchases from their favorite brands using Bitcoin.
In addition to third party apps, Coinbase Apps also features Coinbase's own Android app, which was built on the same API third parties have access to.
Because security is of particular concern to any market involving financial transactions, Coinbase Apps isn't just a way to promote Bitcoin apps that might be of interest to its users; it's a way for Coinbase to curate apps that its users can trust. According to Coinbase, all of the apps that are built on its platform must adhere to the company's terms of service and the company has a team that reviews all apps to ensure compliance. All apps submitted for inclusion in Coinbase Apps go through this process before they're accepted.
Bitcoin, APIs and Mainstream Adoption
If Bitcoin is to go mainstream, the application ecosystem around it will be a big factor. As one of the most visible venture-backed companies targeting the nascent Bitcoin market, Coinbase sees its API as a crucial part of making Bitcoin accessible to individuals and businesses.
"Being a platform for easy bitcoin integration is a key mission we have at Coinbase. This includes both merchant services and apps using the API, which we consider very important to our business. We’re excited to see developers imaging new ways to use bitcoin and making it easier to use," a Coinbase spokesperson told me.
With Apple taking a hard-line stance against Bitcoin apps, homegrown app stores could prove very important for Coinbase and other Bitcoin players looking to drive adoption of Bitcoin and their services.