is an untraceable peer-to-peer system of digital "cryptocurrency" that operates outside the control of any government entity. This allows users to trade online money for products and services without transfer fees and credit card company interference. Although the rogue currency has recently faced several controversies
, many proponents are still working to legitimize it by providing new tools and services that streamline and stabilize transactions.
Many Gen Ys are drawn to the idea of an alternative financial system that is independent from the one that they feel betrayed by
. However, the actual process of Bitcoin transfer is so complex that it typically can only be completed by the technologically gifted. Enter Coinbase
, a Y Combinator
-incubated company that simplifies the exchange of Bitcoins, making the currency more accessible to the average person. Its Bitcoin Wallet tool allows users to send and receive Bitcoins through email addresses linked to their bank accounts, similar to how PayPal
works. Coinbase founder Brian Armstrong ultimately hopes to integrate the tool directly into online retailers’ shopping carts.
Bitcoin, while still an experimental method of payment favored by a niche group of open source advocates, is evolving into a more inclusive global movement. Indeed, Bitcoin Tribe
is a new "social network for Internet nomads" that seeks to grow the Bitcoin economy. The website aspires to leverage Bitcoin’s recent momentum
by establishing an active community of users who will drive the virtual currency structure. Members are encouraged to promote their Bitcoin-based businesses, participate in the exchange of goods, develop new ideas, and share their profiles. Although the site is still in beta, it is offering .001 Bitcoins to each person who joins and creates a profile.
Money transfer service BitInstant
facilitates the exchange of cash to Bitcoin at any of its 700,000 worldwide locations
. Now, in an effort to popularize the underdog currency, it's planning to launch the first internationally accepted Bitcoin-funded debit card within two months. The forthcoming Paycard
contains a unique address and QR code. When the code is scanned by a mobile app, the card instantly receives a Bitcoin transfer, which is then converted into the owner’s national legal tender. The card’s push for Bitcoin’s mainstream adoption isn’t its only benefit—it also boasts low conversion rates between foreign currencies, positioning it as a future must-have for global travelers.