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- BitInstant (New York): Platform for instantaneous Bitcoin transfers. I bought my first 5 Bitcoins from Bitinstant and was very satisfied with the ease of use. This service lowers the barrier of entry to Bitcoin from a tech-filled learning curve to a process as easy as buying anything online and visiting a local Walmart. Companies that break down the usability barrier for Bitcoin are some of the most important to the entire industry. Bitinstant is currently updating and relaunching their website with all kinds of new community-influenced features. Their large market share, their easy to use Bitcoin purchasing methods, and their ability to listen to their fans is what sets this company apart and makes it one to look out for.
- Bitpay (Atlanta): Lets customers of businesses ranging from software-makers to auto dealerships make payments in Bitcoin, then transfers cash to those merchants. With their aggressive expansion around the country and services that allow any business to accept Bitcoin this company is one poised to explode in 2013. Businesses around the country are hearing more and more about Bitcoin and Bitpay is capitalizing on that notoriety and expanding the network of users at the same time. Their merchant API makes it so simple to start accepting crypto-currency that anyone can do it. Many businesses are realizing that accepting Bitcoin is an easy way to get access to free publicity and an interesting new group of customers. Expect more businesses accepting Bitcoin in the coming year and Bitpay is the easiest way to do that.
- Coinbase (San Francisco): Makes a “virtual wallet” that lets users buy Bitcoin and pay for goods and services with it. With a quarter million users of their product Coinbase has established itself among the multitude of great online Bitcoin wallets. Their cooperation with U.S. banks gives them many unique features and makes them harder to shake up with regulation. They have created many usability features such as SMS capability which opens up their services to emerging markets. After securing a $5 million dollar investment earlier this year you can be sure that money is going to go to new features and expanded services.
- CoinLab (Seattle): Backed by Silicon Valley investor Tim Draper. Bitcoin Business Incubater. They get funds to the most revolutionary Bitcoin startups and are driving the overall Bitcoin economy. Their first project in their portfolio is Alydian which is has the goal of becoming the first large scale centralized U.S. Bitcoin mining operation. They claim to be engaging in scalable ASIC enterprise and begin manufacturing their 65nm chips this month. An ASIC company with the resources and backing of a business incubator is a very new kind of business and one with a lot of potential. Looking forward to seeing how Alydian takes of and every other project that is going to come out of Coinlab in 2013.
- Lamassu (New Hampshire): Has developed an ATM to instantly turn dollar bills into Bitcoin. After opening themselves to preorders for only a few hours they reportedly filled their initial order of 15 units. That kind of buzz around their technology shows that there is a lot of opportunity in this space. The ATM’s supposedly cost around 5k although I’m sure each unit will pay for itself only months after being placed on the streets. Imagine the publicity and activity that would surround placing a Bitcoin ATM in the center of any major city. It’s like functional publicity for Bitcoin and I’m sure 2013 will deliver a lot of growth to this company."