Bitcoin related venture capital investments are continuing to take place, however the virtual currency business has become so ripe for investment that dedicated venture capital firms which seek to invest specifically in Bitcoin businesses are beginning to take hold.
Block26, the blockchain venture firm, today announced that it has invested $450,000 in Airbitz Inc., a digital wallet platform. Block26 joins Airbitz Board of Directors while leading a $1,250,000 seed round expected to close later this summer. The $450,000 infusion marks the first investment from Block26, led by Co-Founders Ni’coel Stark and Pedram Hasid, in the hot Bitcoin technology space. Airbitz was awarded first place at the 2015 Inside Bitcoin NYC startup competition and was named one of AlwaysOn OnFinance’s 50 Companies to Watch in 2015.
Airbitz’s decentralized and open source platform solves many of the current usability, security and privacy issues inherent in the current generation of bitcoin wallets. Airbitz is a remarkably easy-to-use and intelligently designed wallet that allows users to receive, store, or send funds with confidence. The digital wallet software is protected by ironclad and effortless security that prevents any third party from accessing user funds or data, including Airbitz itself, and features the world’s first one-touch 2-factor authentication.
Available for iOS and Android, Airbitz automatically encrypts, secures and backs up user data without requiring complicated user prompts, and the decentralized server architecture ensures that Airbitz wallets are functional even if company servers are disabled. Altogether, Airbitz provides the familiar feel and functionality of mobile banking while implementing blockchain operations under the hood, reducing friction and making Bitcoin universally approachable and usable. Block26 understands that this same technology has the potential to disrupt arenas beyond digital currency.
Block26 Co-Founder and Managing Principal Ni’coel Stark said, “Block26 is making its first investment in Airbitz because not only is it the best digital wallet for consumers, it is far more than a wallet. Airbitz technology enables a multifaceted financial tool, an extraordinary implementation on edge security, and a whole new contribution to the Internet of Things. Block26 is excited to empower Airbitz solutions in revolutionizing transaction, authentication and security processes.”
Airbitz is led by CEO and Co-Founder Paul Puey, a former Nvidia senior engineer and a prominent leader of Bitcoin advocacy in Southern California. The Airbitz leadership team includes CTO and Co-Founder Tim Horton, the former CTO of startup Breadcrumbs Inc.,; VP Design and Co-Founder Damian Cutillo, formerly Co-Founder at Breadcrumbs Inc.; Chief Architect and Co-Founder William Swanson, the core developer of Libbitcoin; and COO Rick “Henri” Chan, Co-Founder of AlphaPoint with 15 years experience at finance and technology firms including Robertson Stephens, Deutsche Bank and UBS Financial Services.
Airbitz CEO and Co-Founder Paul Puey said, “Airbitz is tremendously honored to have Block26 as our partner and lead investor. Their core focus on bitcoin, blockchain, and decentralized technologies is perfectly inline with the DNA of Airbitz founders. Block26 brings incredible experience in building highly tuned team dynamics and they see the value in people, companies, and industries that aren’t afraid to disrupt the status quo. We look forward to building a decentralized world with their passion and support at our side.”
Airbitz COO Rick “Henri” Chan added, “Block26 is more than an investor to Airbitz; they are an integral partner in our rapid development. We look forward to closely working with Block26 as partners in building a company that thrives as it grows. Block26’s unique financial model allows for a flexible investment strategy that could provide Airbitz and other portfolio companies with early stage capital, with the capacity to provide bridge funding as well. For these reasons and many more, we greatly look forward to Block26 joining our Board.”