BitCoin is the virtual currency world’s standard bearer, but it’s not for the faint of heart. From the cryptographic underpinnings of the financial system to building your own Bitcoin mining rig, there’s a lot going on with BitCoin. Like any financial system, much of it is based on trust, and ‘cashing in or out’ of BitCoin requires a trading platform that you believe in. Which is where London-based Pixie Labs comes in with BitFriends, a social trading platform for BitCoin.
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Using Facebook’s Social Graph, BitFriends can connect you to your friends (or the friends of your friends if you want to go for an extra degree of separation) who are trading BitCoins. Let the site know if you are looking to buy or sell BitCoin (or are just curious, a nice touch) and you’ll be presented with a list of appropriate matches.
It’s worth stressing that BitFriends is not an actual BitCoin exchange, but an introductory service for those seeking to buy and sell the virtual currency, as Pixie labs founder Peter MacRobert explains: “Bitcoin exchanges are broken. They are slow, risky, and constantly being shut down. BitFriends lets you trade Bitcoin directly with people in your network, cutting out the risk and saving you money.”
As BitCoin and other crypto-currencies expand during 2014, there will be a rush of services and utilities that build up in the ecosystem. The bright minds that would previously look towards hashtag browsers and Twitter interfaces (such as Pixie Labs own Echelon.io), will turn towards the financial markets.
BitFriends is one of the first social layers to be added to BitCoin that feels accessible and easy to understand. It’s not going to be the last, but for now it’s a wonderful signpost of where things are going.
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