Ben Davenport, One Of Facebook Messenger’s Creators, Joins Bitcoin Startup BitGo As CPO

Ben Davenport, who co-founded the startup Beluga which Facebook acquired to build its Messenger app, just left the company after several years to dive into the world of bitcoin.

He’s joining BitGo as a co-founder and chief product officer. BitGo is building a security-as-a-service platform for bitcoin. Last year, the startup launched a multi-signature wallet, which requires three keys to access. Other web-based wallets like Coinbase, store their bitcoin off the blockchain, or the public ledger of transactions, and manage a consumer’s private keys for them. Meanwhile, another web-based wallet startup called Blockchain lets users handle their own private keys directly.

BitGo is somewhere in between. There’s an online transactional key, which lives in the browser, and then a back-up offline key which can live in a vault or on a piece of paper. BitGo retains a third key, and two of the three are required to sign any transaction.

“In six months to a year, I believe the multi-signature approach will be the path forward in terms of being able to provide security and transaction ability for the mass market,” said Davenport.

Now BitGo is launching a number of enterprise focused products, like BitGo Cold Key, which is a multi-signature solution for cold storage, and BitGo Enterprise, which is a multi-signature bitcoin wallet for corporations and financial institutions.

He’s been actively investing in the space for the last couple of years, so a role inside an up-and-coming bitcoin startup made sense. He’ll be overseeing BitGo’s product strategy and development.

BitGo was also co-founded by Will O’Brien, who was an executive at Seattle’s Big Fish games, and Google and Microsoft alum Mike Belshe. It’s backed by Bridgescale Partners, former Netscape CTO Eric Hahn and angel investor Bill Lee.