Bitcoin has had a bad year, but that isn’t stopping enthusiasts from launching new methods for consumers to buy, sell, and spend the digital currency. The latest introduction is a mobile wallet that allows users to send Bitcoin to contacts on their phone, and receive the currency from others, through text messages.
The wallet, called DropBit, comes from Coin Ninja, an Akron, Ohio-based technology company. Founded last year, the company says its product is intended to introduce new users to cryptocurrency by making transactions more intuitive. A Coin Ninja tweet, for example, calls DropBit “Venmo for Bitcoin.” The startup also stresses safety and security, pointing out that users retain ownership of the private keys in DropBit transactions.
“We know how important it is that our wallet makes it easier to transact Bitcoin to new users while maintaining all of the key protocols for advanced Bitcoin users—namely custodial ownership and anonymity,” says Larry Harmon, a long-time Bitcoin developer and chief executive of Coin Ninja, in a statement.
Coin Ninja isn’t the first company to conceive of the idea of using text messages to transfer Bitcoin. Indeed, in August, Intuit Inc., the Mountain View, Calif.-based marketer of the Quicken and Quickbooks accounting programs, won a U.S. patent for a method that would allow a smart-phone user to transfer Bitcoin to another user by means of a text message.
The new wallet from Coin Ninja arrives near the end of a year that has seen Bitcoin’s value plunge from a high point of nearly $20,000 last December to $3,825, the level as of mid-morning Wednesday.