Gem, a developer API platform that simplifies integrating Bitcoin into apps and services, today announced that it has raised an additional $1.3 million.
Along with the funding, Gem also announced that its popular multi-signature wallet API is now out of private beta and available to any developer around the world to use.
Developing with Bitcoin is difficult. While many prominent technologists and investors believe the technology has the potential to disrupt major industries, including banking and finance, the Internet of Things, identity management and many others, the underlying Bitcoin protocol is quite complex, creating a barrier to entry for new developers. In addition to a steep learning curve, Bitcoin companies have become a target for hackers which has multiplied the security risk that comes with building a Bitcoin app or service.
Recent high-profile thefts at well-known Bitcoin companies like Bitstamp, Bter and Coinapult have highlighted the security risk. In total, roughly 10% of all bitcoins that have ever existed have been lost or stolen due to poor security practices, or around $350 million USD.
Gem has made it a mission to eliminate the security issue, shorten the learning curve and make Bitcoin friendly to every developer, everywhere, regardless of what they are building.
By eradicating the pain points associated with integrating Bitcoin, the API does the heavy lifting for developers. Multi-signature wallets, key generation and storage, broadcasting transactions to the blockchain, and the security required to keep bitcoin safe are all immediately accessible capabilities any developer can get their hands on through Gem’s service.
“We’ve been speaking a lot with our beta customers, and they’ve told us repeatedly that our API has freed up their development resources to focus on building experiences their customers love. They also feel they can sleep better at night knowing their customers’ bitcoins are safe,” said Micah Winkelspecht, Gem CEO and Founder. “They feel empowered, and that was our goal.”
With thee broad release of its API comes a significant amount of rich features and capabilities, including:
• Unlimited transactions
• 2-of-3 multi-signature security (BIP11/BIP16)
• Hardware Security Module (HSM) cosigning protection
• Hierarchical deterministic (HD) wallet (BIP32/BIP43/BIP44)
• Client SDKs in multiple languages (Ruby, Java, Python, Node.js)
• Webhook notifications
• Multi-factor authentication
• Fraud monitoring and rules enforcement
• Chat support
“Bitcoin is new technology, and let’s be honest, a lot of the essentials required to use it are rough to figure out and can take a lot of manpower, said Gem COO, Ken Miller. “There are enough adoption hurdles already without developers actually being incented not to integrate Bitcoin. So we decided to do something about that.”
Gem not only tackled the hard problems of streamlining Bitcoin adoption for developers, but did so with a strict focus around making it the most secure offering on the market. Gem’s API gives all developers access to a platform that has true 2-of-3 multi-sig functionality, a sophisticated set of rules and monitoring to intelligently cosign transactions and prevent fraud, and key management within FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certified Hardware Security Modules (HSMs) that Gem introduced to the Bitcoin industry earlier this year.
“The entire banking world has been using HSMs for years to secure financial transactions, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and even Apple Pay. But until now, the Bitcoin industry hasn’t been using them because they weren’t designed for Bitcoin. We fixed that problem,” said Winkelspecht.
Along with the open release of the platform, Gem also announced it has raised an additional $1.3 million, bringing its total raised to $3.3 million. The new funding will be used to help Gem accelerate feature development and scale its services to meet the needs of developers around the world. KEC Ventures led the add-on, with additional investment from First Round Capital, RRE Ventures, ECEG Partners, Birchmere Labs, Baroda Ventures, Amplify.LA, Tekton Ventures, Drummond Road Capital and angel investor Robert Wolfson.
“The growth of Gem’s platform in recent months has been really impressive. It’s great to see the impact of taking something as complicated as working with Bitcoin, and making it accessible to developers who might otherwise be turned off,” said Jeffrey Citron, Managing Partner at KEC Ventures, who led this latest round of investment. “It was clear Gem is fulfilling their mission to get Bitcoin in the hands of people everywhere.”
“The potential Bitcoin has to revolutionize payments is tremendous. We continue to be excited about the role Gem is playing to make that disruption happen quicker,” said Howard Morgan, Partner at First Round Capital, who participated again in this latest investment.
Winkelspecht added: "Many developers are eager to incorporate bitcoin into their products and services, but aren’t sure where to start, or are lacking resources to figure it out. It feels really good to say we’ve solved that problem.”
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