Beardie Branson backs Blockchain's Bitcoin bandwagon

Yorkshire-based firm ditches flat caps and whippets for digital funny money

British business beardie Richard Branson has invested in Blockchain. Not the Bitcoin ledger, but a custom Bitcoin wallet that functions through an iOS app.

The blockchain, in Bitcoin terms, is the master ledger of all Bitcoin transactions. For all the brouhaha about Bitcoin being anonymous, the blockchain is downloaded – and thus can be freely viewed – by anyone using the crypto-currency.

The anonymity in using Bitcoin comes from the relationship between the identifier (for who owns what) and the individual. Careful analysis of the blockchain can show where money is going to and from.

Blockchain (the company) is a venture based in York, UK. It was founded by CTO Ben Reeves, who is accompanied by president Peter Smith and Niicolas Cary, the CEO. It’s a Bitcoin wallet; a place to hold your digital dosh in a secure way and then transfer it from one person to another.

Founded in August 2011, Blockchain claims a total transaction volume of around $26bn. Which is, of course, verifiable by looking at the blockchain. No confusion there, then.

Bloomberg interview with Blockchain president Peter Smith.

The Branson cash injection is part of a $30m investment by a bunch of venture capitalists, including Lightspeed Venture Partners, Wicklow Capital, Mosaic Ventures, Prudence Holdings and a choir of various business angels. Yet really it’s Branson’s involvement that makes this more than “money companies do stuff with money.”

Smith told Bloomberg that the investment will be spent on growing the company in developing markets. If you are a software developer and fancy a job working with Bitcoin, well, York's a nice enough place. You’d be well advised to ask for your salary in a fiat currency, though: the price of Bitcoin has tumbled to $367 from a high of over $1100 in the last year.

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