Bitcoin Startup 21 Unveils Product Plan: Embeddable Chips for Smartphones

21bitcoinminer18 May 2015 / WSJ – The world’s best-funded bitcoin startup has revealed plans to market a line of chips to embed in consumer devices, allowing smartphones and other Internet-connected gadgets to continuously earn digital currency through the process known as “mining.”

The news from 21 Inc., which is also adding former Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers to its advisory board and announcing that tech giant Cisco Systems Inc.CSCO +0.71% and former AMR Holdings PLC chief strategy officer Mark Templeton are investing in the company, ends 18 months of intense speculation within the bitcoin community.

In March, the company said it had stealthily amassed $116 million in fundraising– a record for the sector, based on data compiled by bitcoin news service Coindesk – from a list of Silicon Valley investors that included venture-capital firms Andreessen Horowitz and RRE Venture, chipmaker Qualcomm Inc.QCOM -0.90%, and founders from companies such as eBay Inc.EBAY +0.08%, PayPal, Dropbox Inc., Expedia Inc.EXPE +0.04%, and Zynga Inc.ZNGA -2.62%  It kept its product line secret, however.

Now co-founder Balaji Srinivasan has outlined in a blog post various applications for 21’s embeddable mining chip, mostly aimed at what it sees as future “industrial uses” of bitcoin rather than treating mining as a means “simply to get rich.” He also announced that he is taking over from Matthew Pauker as chief executive and that 21’s board will now include Ben Horowitz, the founding partner at Andreessen Horowitz, where Mr. Srinivasan is also a partner….. Read more

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