On the first floor, you’ll find an open space that will welcome cryptocurrency related startups. In the back, there is a Bitcoin ATM, and downstairs, you can take a look at a cryptocurrency mining rig.
The “Maison du Bitcoin,” as this incubation/coworking space in Paris is called, was founded by Eric Larchevêque and Thomas France, who previously founded Prixing, a mobile shopping app sold to Highco in 2013.
The Maison’s main objective is to grow the Bitcoin ecosystem in France by supporting entrepreneurs and encouraging a more widespread use of cryptocurrencies. It will, among other things, help entrepreneurs by providing a coworking space, support from mentors, and connections with investors.
The founders believe that the best way to diminish the volatility of Bitcoin is to make it more widely adopted. For a layperson, talking with some of these entrepreneurs feels like entering a new dimension or discovering a new video game: This stuff is from the future.
Here are some examples of companies I came across :
- Betarigs is a marketplace you can use to rent cryptocurrency “mining rigs” from anywhere in the world. Mining is the process of printing cryptocurrencies; hence, any currency you print while renting a rig will be yours, and you can hope to make a profit if the market price is high enough. If, by contrast, you have extra mining rigs that are unused, you can rent them to users and get paid for it. As of the time of this writing, the site already has 6,000 machines connected, equivalent to 5 percent of the world’s total mining capacity. The site already has around 1,000 daily transactions.
- Brawker is set to simplify the way you acquire and spend Bitcoin on ecommerce websites. How? Let’s say Alice wants to buy a book on Amazon using Bitcoins. Instead of going directly to Amazon, she will place her request on the website. Bob, who wants to acquire Bitcoins, will buy the product on Amazon (in euros) for Alice and receive the corresponding amount in Bitcoins from Alice.
- Paymium is an exchange that allows you to convert Bitcoins into euros for a 0.5 percent fee. It is launching a solution that will allow any ecommerce platform to receive payments in Bitcoins at no extra fee for the vendor (they will be converted to euros for the vendor). The startup already boasts more than 50,000 clients and around 100 daily transactions.
- Electrum is an easy-to-use Bitcoin wallet that sits on your computer. As the founder explained, there are two categories of wallets: web-based wallets (easy to use but also more exposed to security risks) and desktop-based wallets (more secure but can be very slow and difficult to use). Electrum takes the best of both worlds and gives its users a lightweight desktop wallet that allows for easy and instant access to your Bitcoins, as it doesn’t require you to download the full Bitcoin blockchain.
- BTChip creates small USB smartcards that let you store Bitcoins.
- Chronocoin allows you to simply buy Bitcoins using a credit card and store them in smartcard such as BTChip smartcard.
La Maison du Bitcoin’s founder, Larchevêque, said that we have very talented engineers in France, and there is no reason why the U.S. and the U.K. should be the only ones leading the way in this Bitcoin wave of innovation.
Nicolas Silvy has previously worked for Salesforce.com in Dublin and with Goldman Sachs International in London. Currently based in Paris, Nicolas is an avid fan of technology and startups.
VB’s research team is studying mobile user acquisition: Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.