Bitreserve, the currency conversion and transaction platform based on Bitcoin that was launched by CNet founder Halsey Minor, has created a platform for application programming interfaces (APIs) and has signed agreements with partners who are using the service.
“It’s a big part of our strategic plan,” says Minor. “We want to be the utility of money in the cloud.”
It’s the next step in the company’s evolution away from being a Bitcoin-based service to an open platform for the currency exchange and transactions online and on mobile devices.
We want to be the utility of money in the cloud Halsey Minor, CEO, Bitreserve
Minor’s company already supports a range of currencies and precious metals, including the Peso, the Dollar, the Yen, the Rupee, the Pound and precious metals like silver, gold, palladium and platinum, which are freely convertible through holdings on Bitreserve. “You can go from Facebook and authenticate into any service and have access to money in BitReserve,” says Minor.
And as the company reveals more of its partnerships, its plans become more clear. Already, the company has partnerships with Grupo Salinas banking and retail giant Elektra SA, in part through its investment relationship with the company’s founder, Ricardo Salinas-Pliego, one of Mexico’s richest men.
What the company wants to become is a very simple platform whereby people can debit and credit on BitReserve in any currency for any purpose, much like the Blockchain… but primarily by having other people hook-in to its existing conversion system, says Minor. The partnership with Grupo Elektra already gives it a chunk of the massive $30 billion remittance and payments market that exists between the U.S. and Mexico.
Users will be able to move money at a low cost from their account into an Elektra account, that an authorized person can withdraw from.
The API is creating a nexus that will drive functionality and partnerships 1,000 times faster than they would otherwise have been Halsey Minor
“Today we’re Bitcoin,” Minor acknowledges. “Our intent is to take all of the world’s currencies and allow them to be debited and credited instantly for free. The scope of Bitcoin is pretty limited. Elektra would have no interest if we didn’t do the dollar and the Mexican Peso.”
While Bitreserve is dependent on Bitcoin now, Minor believes he can create a system where Bitcoin is one of many points of access to the BitReserve transaction and remittance platform.
At the heart of this strategy is the launch of the API, says Minor. “The API is creating a nexus that will drive functionality and partnerships 1,000 times faster than they would otherwise have been,” according to the company’s chief executive.
Minor has been wrong before, sometimes catastrophically so, but this time, he’s managed to bring on some very big guns in the form of the former chief information officer for Barclays and Nike, Anthony Watson, and Nike’s former security chief, William Dennings.
It certainly wasn’t Bitreserve’s massive holdings that brought the two men on board. Halsey says the company holds under $2 million in assets right now and that the number is growing. The problem, according to Halsey, is that there’s not a massive use case for Bitcoin.
“When I looked at peer-to-peer money, people were already getting into their heads the idea of digital money,” says Minor. “The problem with digital money is that when it’s Bitcoin it’s not that useful.”
So far, Minor has managed to raise over $10 million in financing for Bitreserve, from investors including Salinas-Pliego (the company’s largest backer) and has inked agreements with three companies that are linking into the BitReserve API at its launch today.
LibertyX, a provider of conversion services for individuals without bank accounts to convert their money into Bitcoin — primarily in Mexico — is using the service. So is Bitwage, which is using BitReserve to provide its customers with an ability to freely and instantly convert their Bitcoin wages into the currency of their choice. Lastly, Easy.Money offers personalized gift certificate services for any currency backed by BitReserve by sending an email or a paper printout.