Ever since it was created in 2008, the idea of bitcoin has been dissected, discussed, debated, denounced, and deliberated by practically every pundit on the planet. But the crypto-currency has survived all the ups and downs of the past eight years to become one of the most commonly traded currencies – online and cold, hard cash – in the world.
While the rise of bitcoin has been surprising, to say the least, what may be even more surprising is this: the world’s first bitcoin savings platform was started by a Kiwi company. Number 8 wire goes ultra-high-tech? Little Crypto director and system architect Katie Graham thinks so. “The concept of crypto-currency is quite exciting,” she explains. “If you look at the trends, it does seem to be levelling out. It’s not as volatile as it used to be.”
Graham’s company, based in Auckland, has handled about 201.56078483 bitcoin since it launched MyBitcoinSaver in July 2014. Why so many decimal places? That’s because the smallest amount that can be handled is a one hundred millionth of a bitcoin, or 0.00000001 bitcoins (a unit known as a Satoshi). In all, the company has handled 2764 bitcoin transactions, worth a total of about $100,000.
Little Crypto directors Sam Blackmore, Katie Graham and Tim Clark.
Alright, so those numbers may seem pretty small. But Graham says that’s by design. “We kind of kept things secret for the first couple of years,” she says. “We intentionally started under-the-radar.”
But now Little Crypto, a spinoff from Webscope, is looking to expand MyBitcoinSaver.
Graham says the idea is a relatively simple one: clients can invest anywhere from $10 to $200 at a time in bitcoin (which is a fraction of a single bitcoin, since, at current exchange rates, one bitcoin is worth about $800). When they want their money back, they get the bitcoin converted back into dollars at whatever the current exchange rate is. “It’s a low risk way to invest in bitcoin,” she says.
Having invested in bitcoin herself before Little Crypto was founded, Graham says the concept could especially appeal to millennials and those who might not have thought about investing before because of its simplicity and the fact it allowed investing in fractions of a bitcoin rather than a whole bitcoin, which could be cost-prohibitive for people looking to get started. “I don’t think I would have ever considered investing in gold.”
With plans to launch in Australia, the UK and the United States in the near future, Graham claims the time to buy bitcoin is now. “Bitcoin is a lot more secure these days,” she explains. “Now that we’re confident, we’re looking at expanding.”
In fact, Graham is so confident in bitcoin, she’s chosen to invest in it rather than KiwiSaver.
Now that’s faith in crypto-currency.