CardCoins has helped “over 10,000 unique users” convert gift cards into bitcoin, according to a spokesperson, with “millions of dollars of volume” last year. That healthy-yet-modest traction, which increased slightly since the recession hit, is dwarfed by incumbent crypto exchanges and custody providers.
There are roughly 15 known entities sponsoring Bitcoin Core developers in 2020, and the Wyoming-based startup CardCoins just became one of the smallest industry players to join the pack.
Focusing on Bitcoin
Thanks to this grant, Stepanov said, he quit his job at a local university and can now focus on bitcoin full-time. He quickly went from discovering bitcoin in 2017 to making a small contribution in 2018, an issue he found when setting up his own node. Now he’s among the world’s most prolific contributors.
“Decentralizing should be on all levels, including contributions,” Hebasto said. “I saw how the bitcoin developer community embraced me as a first-time contributor. They share knowledge. I like those people. I like to learn from them.”
Although CardCoins has seen a modest incline in the past few months, this move wasn’t inspired by extra cash to spend. Instead, the startup co-sponsored the grant because keeping bitcoin decentralized is fundamental to the firm’s business model.
“Peer review is the cornerstone of Bitcoin Core and keeping bitcoin safe, generally,” the spokesperson said. “He [Stepanov] is making sure that Bitcoin Core will run on many different platforms in a safe way.”
Most CardCoins users convert gift cards into bitcoin in under an hour using a phone number and a few pictures of the receipt and card details. This allows the startup to serve underbanked clients attracted to bitcoin’s censorship-resistant properties.
“We’ve made enormous investments in compliance and our programs and procedures have been overseen by a former federal prosecutor,” CardCoins said of the mission to serve this user group without regulatory arbitrage. “Those customers are vital to the lifeblood of bitcoin.”
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