Gem, a Venice-based Bitcoin startup, today launched a Bitcoin platform for developers at TechCrunch Disrupt SF's Startup Battlefield.
Selected as one of 30 companies competing for a chance to win $50,000 and the coveted Disrupt Cup, Gem's full-stack API now provides developers with a complete solution that eliminates the pain of building Bitcoin security infrastructure into their apps.
Founded by Bitcoin thought leader, open-source contributor, and community organizer Micah Winkelspecht, Gem offers a simple, yet powerful platform for securing Bitcoin and other digital currencies. The importance of protecting Bitcoin balances and transactions is now mandatory in the wake of several recent industry security challenges resulting in the loss or theft of over half a billion dollars' worth of Bitcoin.
Gem's solution, which can be deployed by developers in minutes, utilizes a three-key multi-signature system and several other integrated bank-grade security features to ensure Bitcoin wallets and funds are always secure and accessible. The combination of multi-signature technology with best-in-class authentication and monitoring systems in one comprehensive platform makes the Gem solution a first for the digital currency world.
"The major issue plaguing the digital currency community is security, and our goal is to dismantle fear surrounding digital currency and educate mainstream consumers on how they can maintain their currencies and other electronic assets with better security and ease-of-use," said Winkelspecht, CEO and Founder of Gem. "TechCrunch Disrupt was the ideal forum to introduce our powerful infrastructure and key-management capabilities to technology's key players and enthusiasts."
The Gem API suite for developers is the only one of its kind to provide a digital currency infrastructure that doesn't require developers to be experts in security or cryptography. Instead, Gem's platform makes it easy to integrate a full-stack solution, so developers can focus on building their product. Some key components include:
- Two-of-three multi-signature key technology
- Multi-factor device authentication
- Real-time bank level fraud and identification monitoring
- Cold Storage offline key backup
- Redundant architecture with military-grade encryption
The role of Gem is to make developers' lives easier by enabling them to integrate secure Bitcoin infrastructure into their apps in just minutes. Built using technology that eliminates any single point of failure, Gem's use of multi-signature technology means that the end customers (not Gem) are in control of their funds, unlike typical demand accounts with financial institutions, where the security of their funds lay completely in the hands of the institution.
"Traditional banking and payment technologies performed a valuable function in society, but they are outdated and cannot keep up with present day threats. The latest credit card hacks against Home Depot and Target are painful reminders of that," said Ken Miller, COO at Gem and former VP of Risk Management at PayPal, referring to a string of recent data breaches that have resulted in thousands of credit card numbers purportedly stolen from the major retailers.
And while Bitcoin appears to hold a tremendous amount of promise for replacing these systems, the uptick in mainstream user adoption has not yet matched the fervor of the core Bitcoin community. Gem believes this is due to a lack of high quality apps that deliver both a great user experience and an assurance of security to the mainstream consumer.
"Right now if you want to build an app that uses Bitcoin, you not only have to build an amazing product, but you also have to be an expert in cryptography, security and the underlying Bitcoin protocols. With Gem, developers can build their entire stack on our platform with less than ten lines of code so they can focus on building product, not infrastructure," said Winkelspecht. "We built our platform for developers who share our mission of empowering individuals to take control of their own assets, and we believe people shouldn't have to sacrifice convenience for security."