A startup making it easier for developers to put crypto wallets in their applications is announcing a seed round from the likes of Galaxy Digital, Winklevoss Capital and Coinbase Ventures.
Bitski thinks its developer platform can help the crypto sector overcome a key hurdle: For most folks, setting up a wallet is a pain. By having one pre-loaded into, say, your favorite video game, Bitski thinks its single-sign-on wallet can move the needle on mainstream adoption.
“We’re using this money to expand the funnel of people that are building on blockchain,” Bitski co-founder and CEO Donnie Dinch said of the $1.81 million in fresh capital. (The startup’s total fundraise is $3.54 million, including a late-2018 pre-seed round, Dinch said.)
Bitski also announced its product is being used by a pair of game development studios, an ethereum-powered sports betting site and YouNow, the live-streaming platform behind the SEC-regulated props token.
“There are a lot of projects out there that are interesting to the core crypto users but we’re trying to work on things that have broad mainstream appeal,” Dinch told CoinDesk, adding that gaming has been the company’s early focus.
“We’re excited for Bitski to help catalyze the next wave of companies integrating blockchain into their products,” Winklevoss Capital partner Sterling Witzke said in a statement.
The wallet’s simple UX does come with a tradeoff on self-custody, Dinch said, though the bet is most users will prefer a third party handling key management for them. Dinch added that all user wallets are stored using hardware security modules (HSMs) in “biometrically-secured” data centers.
Compound protocol founder Robert Leshner, who participated in the Bitski seed round through his Robot Ventures fund, says the startup could be a major on-ramp for new crypto users.
“Public-key cryptography is the bedrock of the growing decentralized application ecosystem – but as it stands, it’s simply too cumbersome and confusing for a mainstream user experience,” Leshner told CoinDesk via email, adding:
“Bitski is a necessary experiment to (re)imagine how we interact with blockchains. They remove the friction and difficulty of wallet management, while preserving security and increasing portability.”
Bitski is currently a four-person team based in San Francisco. Three of the co-founders worked previously on WillCall, a ticketing app acquired in 2014 by Ticketfly.
Team image via Bitski