Using Your Social Connections to Make Bitcoin More User Friendly

By Darnell Jackson Aug 20, 2014 11:38 AM EDT

NEW YORK (InsideBitcoins) — If Ryan Shea and Muneeb Ali have anything to do with it, the future of bitcoin will be social. Their startup, OneName, is an innovative Internet-based service that’s integrated with Facebook, Twitter, and GitHub.

The OneName website allows users to create a Bitcoin wallet that is publicly connected to and confirmed by three social media profiles – Twitter, GitHub, and Facebook.

The service is a “decentralized namespace” that provides users an easy to remember name — like a domain name — to help anyone easily send you bitcoin. It uses “pay by username” technology that securely converts a user’s 27-34 character bitcoin address to a user name.

Why is this important for Bitcoin adoption?

“The same reason DNS was important to make the Internet easy to use,” Muneeb Ali told Inside Bitcoins. “Going to is so much easier than going to an IP address. Bitcoin addresses are too long and too complicated for mainstream users and we need simpler usernames, which Onename provides.”

The company was launched in June of 2013 in New York.

Prior to this venture, Shea co-founded and sold GraphMuse, a system which increases conversion rates for Facebook-integrated websites. His co-founder Ali, on the other hand, was busy completing his PhD at Princeton.

The OneName service comes to the market at a time when the discussion about how bitcoin should or could be governed is heating up. Regulators seem anxious to apply some restriction somewhere while others speculate that two classes of bitcoin could emerge — a black and a white classification based on privacy or public registration.

When asked how the social element will impact bitcoin growth, Muneeb Ali told Inside Bitcoins, “We’ll be adding more public verifications. This was just the start. The reason for a public verification is that anyone can independently verify it, so you need to post the “proof” where it’s publicly readable.”

The company recently celebrated its one-year anniversary at a time when the price of bitcoin is coming under serious scrutiny. But Ali doesn’t pay much attention to the digital currency’s price swings.

“The price movements are largely irrelevant,” he says. “Bitcoin is in a very early stage and is a revolutionary technology that will become a core part of the Internet infrastructure.”

Written by Darnell Jackson

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