Berkeley, Calif., June 30, 2020 – Bitcoin has been around for more than a decade now, but it has yet to deliver on its promise of becoming the new standard for financial systems. As the COVID-19 crisis increases the need to accelerate the digital economy and global financial systems struggle to keep up, the new normal could soon arrive.
With that in mind, lastbit is launching a beta app that aims to make Bitcoin mainstream. The app integrates commonly-used products–such as credit and debit cards–with a Bitcoin and Lightning wallet. In the app, users will interact with products they are familiar with while having access to all of Bitcoin’s benefits. When lastbit’s app goes live, the option to buy from your favorite shop, pay for coffee and receive rewards, all in Bitcoin, will become a reality.
Building on Top of What Others Have Accomplished
Currently most Bitcoin companies focus on enabling the cryptocurrency’s use case as an investment asset. Through easy-to-use exchanges, trading platforms, and crypto wallets, these businesses provide users simple ways to buy, sell, trade, and store Bitcoin. While these solutions help to increase adoption, they are not enough to take Bitcoin mainstream.
“We believe in the use of Bitcoin as a medium of exchange,” said Prashanth Balasubramanian, CEO, lastbit. “One of our goals is to become a catalyst in helping Bitcoin become a payment instrument linked to real economic value. We are thrilled to be working with the latest Bitcoin developments, such as the Lightning Network, to enable use cases that were previously impossible. We work closely with innovative fintechs who develop solutions for fiat currencies to help make Bitcoin as widely accepted and intuitive to use as a credit card.”
Solving Some of the Most Critical Issues of Bitcoin
Lastbit’s solution looks to solve three critical problems that prevent Bitcoin’s mass adoption: price volatility, slow transaction processing, and big barriers to entry for inexperienced users due to the complexity of the technology.
“By tackling these problems, lastbit will not only unlock Bitcoin’s real potential for experienced users, but will also enable the growth of the cryptocurrency ecosystem for inexperienced users, allowing others in the space to build better products,” Balasubramanian said.
Price volatility with Bitcoin can be largely attributed to the inability to use Bitcoin for things other than saving or trading. Even when customers want to spend Bitcoin, most merchants don’t accept it as they do not want to deal with its volatility and complexity. As an example, according to coinmap.org, only 19,408 merchants accept Bitcoin as a payment instrument as of this June. Visa and Mastercard, on the other hand, have each tens of millions of merchants accepting their branded products.
Lastbit’s solution addresses this issue by eliminating the merchants’ exposure to Bitcoin while still allowing users to fund their purchases with the cryptocurrency. Thus, de facto users can pay with Bitcoin while merchants receive their local currency. This novel approach simplifies the road to mass adoption by eliminating the overwhelming challenge of building a network of merchants who directly accept Bitcoin.
Bitcoin’ speed can’t compete with that of leading payment networks, and solutions that solve this are not easily accessible to everyone. To illustrate, in one second, Bitcoin can only process seven transactions whereas Visa can process 24,000. The Lightning Network, a nascent peer-to-peer network on top of Bitcoin, solves this problem (estimated to handle at least 1 million transactions per second) and enables instant Bitcoin transactions. Nevertheless, the technology is far from mass adoption due to the sheer complexity behind its usage.
To solve these two issues, the lastbit mobile app features a “ready-to-go” Bitcoin experience where users can immediately use the Lightning Network in a simple manner. In addition, lastbit’s solution will allow experienced users to host their own services if desired. By providing an app that is both intuitive and flexible, lastbit will address the needs of both beginners and veterans.
“We believe Bitcoin will become mainstream once it’s useful for everyone,” added Bernardo Magnani, VP of Product, lastbit. “The core of our value proposition is to deliver products that abstract away all the inherent complexities of the technologies we work with to empower all our clients with the full benefits of Bitcoin. Facilitating access to Bitcoin for all types of users is key to our mission.”
To download the beta app (available in iOS and Android) and sign-up to be first in line for the pre-release visit www.lastbit.io.
Lastbit develops solutions to enable the mass adoption of Bitcoin. Incorporating the latest technologies, lastbit creates products that are accessible to both experienced and novice users alike. Lastbit is a member of the elite Visa Fast Track program and an alumni of UC Berkeley’s prestigious SkyDeck accelerator. The company is backed by Charlie Lee, managing director of The Litecoin Foundation, Fulgur Ventures, and the BinanceX Fellowship. For more information, please visit www.lastbit.io.