“Join the Bitcoin community the easy way” is the call-to-action on Chicago-based startup Glidera’s website. The company boasts that it is “the fastest way to transfer value with near zero transaction fees using the strongest encryption-grade security in the industry.”
The Bitcoin industry is of recent interest to co-founders Dave Ripley and Michael Xakellis. In an interview with CoinReport, Ripley, who is also CEO of Glidera, said he and Xakellis first became interested in Bitcoin in the middle of 2013 and by the end of last year they decided that they needed to launch the company.
There are two aspects to the virtual currency that Ripley finds attractive. One is “the huge potential of bitcoin to enable disruptive innovations that drive the real benefits of user control, transparency, and low cost frictionless commerce in the financial system.”
Secondly, such innovations will benefit individuals most in need, he said, saying:
“Given (that) bitcoin is open and decentralized all users are effectively treated equal. Everyone pays the same fees and has access to the same network. This differs from the existing centralized system that can at times impose higher fees on individuals and small businesses that generally have less money.”
As for the main motivation for founding Glidera, Ripley said the startup feels that “technology can democratize finance and bring tremendous efficiency and innovative new products.”
“Throughout the history of money, we’ve always given our funds to custodial institutions. Tremendous friction has developed around the regulation required to protect consumers in this environment. The trustless distributed nature of bitcoin can create huge, positive changes while delivering economic and social benefits.”
Ripley said his company is focused on developing products for consumers and businesses that leverage the decentralized nature of the virtual currency, saying:
“Through our multi-signature architecture, Glidera provides incredibly easy to use products, yet does not compromise user control. Many other companies attempt to provide easy products (e.g. bitcoin wallets), but they take control of customer bitcoin and do not provide adequate transparency about their customers’ funds.”
Glidera’s multi-signature architecture entails a three-key system where only two keys are needed to access Bitcoins at any point in time. As illustrated on the company’s website, the three keys include the Glidera key (held by the firm), a user key stored in the user’s local wallet device, and an offline backup key stored by the user offline in a safe spot.
After a user logs in to access and send Bitcoins, the user key signs the transaction. Glidera then signs the transaction with its key and publishes the transaction to the Bitcoin network.
Holding only one of the necessary keys, Glidera alone cannot access users’ Bitcoins. Ripley told CoinReport that in the unlikely event that Glidera’s servers are compromised, users’ Bitcoins are still safe.
The security model also extends to the user. If a user’s computer were compromised in an attack, the attacker would need more than the user key to transfer Bitcoins. They would also need the Glidera key or the offline key to complete the transfer.
“By leveraging this multi-signature architecture, Glidera provides – a) user control b) security c) transparency. We feel multi-signature is what is needed to take bitcoin to the next level.”
Ripley believes transparency is critical with respect to customer funds, and that is a philosophy Glidera has made sure to adopt. He said:
“Any company in the bitcoin ecosystem has a responsibility to their customer to let them know at all times the state of their bitcoin balance. As far as bitcoin itself is concerned, this level of transparency can only have a positive effect in establishing trust with customers and therefore driving the continued adoption of bitcoin. Without trust, it will be a challenge for the bitcoin ecosystem to grow.”
Ripley told CoinReport there are a number of things that need to happen in order for Bitcoin to continue to grow and attract more users. He said:
“The products and services need to continue to become more secure and easier to use. This is a challenge given these two aspects can often move a product in different directions. This is why we are so excited to bring our architecture to real users. New products need to evolve to help real consumers and businesses manage the price volatility of bitcoin.”
There is a need to better educate the user about the benefits and usage of bitcoin. This education will require contributions from companies such as Glidera and the broader ecosystem. Building easy products that allow existing bitcoin users to help educate their friends allows this education to go viral.”
Within the next year, Glidera plans to introduce several new products on its multi-signature platform that deliver benefits to individual consumers and businesses. Ripley said:
“Over the next decade we will see many disruptive innovations within the bitcoin realm; specifically, many firms will switch from current custodial models to non-custodial models and “we’re excited to know that we’ll be a part of that at Glidera.”
Images courtesy of Glidera