Netki Advances Hyperledger Identity Standards

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A key barrier to the wider deployment of blockchain-based products is a lack of standardized methods for businesses and individuals to automatically validate the identity of the transacting parties. Blockchains do not inherently contain the ability to comply with existing Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering requirements. Applicable transactions must enable all parties to verify the identity of everyone in the transaction. As a result, digital identity will play a huge role in the future of blockchains used by financial institutions especially around the need to validate and authenticate identity information.

As part the IBM blockchain ecosystem and the recent announcement “IBM Debuts Blockchain Ecosystem To Help Accelerate Growth of Networks on Hyperledger Fabric,” Netki is supporting this ecosystem with the development of open source/open standards-based digital identity solutions for worldwide regulatory compliance and legal non repudiation. Netki’s solution allows users to carry their digital identity seamlessly across multiple blockchains and to share their identity with whomever they choose, which improves user privacy as compared to common practices today. This endeavor will explore new development possibilities for Hyperledger in a modular approach like the Internet’s early network development.

The open source concept and collaboration of Linux Hyperledger provides an environment where everyone can participate. Tools, information, ideas and relationships critical to furthering innovation in blockchain standards, are shared and supported by the community. Accessibility and interoperability are critical to the deployment of blockchain-based networks that deliver real value for companies and end users.

Hyperledger is based on the expectation that there will be many blockchain networks, with each network ledger serving a different goal. While there may be a popular single instance of a general­ use network, there is no requirement for any one network ledger to rely upon any other network for its core functionality.”

In a video “Why IBM Blockchain?” Jeff Handler, Business Development Manager at Netki is interviewed about what blockchain brings to business and how Hyperledger is creating a new future with digital identity for business.

Hyperledger supports the blockchain distributed ledgers developed for global business transactions, including financial, to improve performance and reliability using open protocols and standards. As in the development of the Internet, standards, like X. 509 certificates and SSL, were developed to authentication of entities on the Internet while protecting user privacy.

In 2010, Linux was declared mainstream for enterprise adoption, almost 20 years after the first Linux kernel was developed and close to 30 years when Linux was first created. As an open source operation system, Linux transformed the open source community and the way enterprises think about technology. Hyperledger with the support of IBM is poised to take blockchain mainstream.

Netki & Bitso partner on Wallet Name integration

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Netki Logo

 

We’re excited to announce a new partnership and integration with Mexico based Bitcoin exchange, Bitso.

Through an integration with Netki’s Partner Wallet Name Service, Bitso users can now automatically generate ‘username.bitso.io’ Wallet Names that can be used to fund their Bitso accounts instead of a public bitcoin address like 19yfdiR8NzLMsDAMVMezyDq3rGEHHzDPc8.

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Bitso Driving Bitcoin Adoption in Mexico

Founded in 2014, and backed by Digital Currency Group, Bitso has become one of Mexico’s leading digital currency companies, and is positioned to be at the forefront of driving adoption of Bitcoin throughout the country.

During a recent interview with Bitcoin Magazine, Bitso CEO, Pablo Gonzalez touched on some of the reasons why Bitcoin presents such an exciting opportunity in Mexico:

“In a place like Mexico you have a very low population that’s banked – seven out of ten Mexicans do not have a bank account and only twelve percent of the population has credit cards. So most of the economy is a cash economy.”

“In Mexico, you have extremely high cell phone adoption. Almost every Mexican now has a cell phone,” Gonzalez noted. “Smartphones are growing even faster than in the U.S.”

Bitso CTO, Ben Peters noted in regards to the integration with Netki’s Partner Wallet Name Service:

“We feel that, with clever use of Secure DNS, Netki provides the best and most secure solution for improving the usability of Bitcoin addresses.” 
We’re thrilled to partner with Bitso on their mission to drive adoption of digital currency, and help make the process of transacting with bitcoin, seamless and easy for all users.

Netki is on the Uphold Apps Center

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Wallet Names & Uphold

We’re excited to announce that Uphold has added Netki’s Wallet Name Service to its host of integrated applications.

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Uphold users can now easily connect all of the public bitcoin addresses associated with their different currency cards (ex: 19yfdiR8NzLMsDAMVMezyDq3rGEHHzDPc8) with easy to remember Wallet Names like ‘btccard.username.bit’ through a seamless, one click set up.

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Wallet Names can be used to send and receive currencies instead of complicated public addresses.

 

Uphold’s Cloud Money Service

Uphold has created a new financial services platform that allows people to hold, send, and receive any form of value that they choose, free of charge.

This includes commodities such as gold and silver, ‘fiat currencies’ such as U.S. dollars, Euros, and Chinese Yuan, and digital currencies like bitcoin.

Uphold is one of the fastest growing financial technology companies in the world, and has already powered over $850 million dollars in cloud money transactions.

We’re excited to partner with Uphold on their mission to make financial services more inclusive, affordable, and user-friendly.

For more information about Uphold, visit www.uphold.com

Netki is on Microsoft Azure

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Wallet Names Come to the Microsoft Azure Cloud BaaS Platform

We’re excited to announce that Microsoft has added Netki’s Wallet Name Service to its host of developer tools/services on the Azure BaaS (Blockchain as a Service) platform.

The Netki Wallet Name lookup API server, now available on the Azure marketplace, is a single node API server that provides Wallet Name to blockchain address resolution.

Developers using Azure’s BaaS platform can now easily utilize Netki’s Wallet Name Service to effectively replace the difficult to remember public addresses associated with blockchain-based platforms (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Factom, etc.) with easy to remember Wallet Names on their applications/services.

Wallet Name Standard & Azure

The Netki Wallet Name Service is an open standard that makes it easy for users to navigate and utilize products/services built on any blockchain.

Like the Domain Name System, which provides the standard and infrastructure for the Internet to map easy to remember domain names like google.com to a numeric IP address, WNS is designed to allow service providers, using any blockchain, to replace the cumbersome public addresses provided to users (example: 1CpLXM15vjULK3ZPGUTDMUcGATGR9xGitv) with easy to remember, domain-style wallet names.

Our unique solution utilizes a combination of existing technologies/infrastructure (such as Secure DNS), and blockchain technology to create a standard/product that is secure and scalable, while preserving the privacy of end-users operating on permanent, public ledgers (such as Bitcoin).

Our open-source APIs make it easy for companies/service providers to register Wallet Names on their client’s behalf, such as “username.company.com”, or for end users to register their own vanity names such as “personalname.me” linking them directly to their applicable public address.

The Microsoft Azure BaaS platform has quickly become a go-to outlet for companies that are looking for the necessary tools to develop, test, and deploy blockchain apps/services in a neutral, secure environment. We’re excited to partner with Microsoft and provide the growing number of companies building on Azure with an easy way to deploy Wallet Name Services for their customers.

 

Chrome Extension & ChangeTip

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Two weeks ago, we released a beta version of Netki’s Wallet Name Resolver, a Google Chrome browser extension, which allows consumers to seamlessly use Wallet Names instead of a 32 character public address, on any web-based digital currency wallet/exchange.

At Netki, we’re dedicated to building products that make using blockchain applications more human-friendly, and want to highlight how our new chrome extension makes this a reality with one of the most popular Bitcoin apps, ChangeTip.

In addition to custom Wallet Names that individuals can reserve through Netki, we also offer a Partner Wallet Name Service that gives companies the ability to automatically register Wallet Names for their users, tied to a domain of their choosing. ChangeTip is one such partner company, and uses Netki to provide all of their users with ‘username.tip.me’ Wallet Names when they sign up.

One of the most cumbersome aspects of using blockchain apps, like a bitcoin wallet, is the fact that individuals have to retrieve and copy & paste their 32 character public address each time they want to fund their account. While this process is normal for seasoned digital currency users, it presents an irritating obstacle to the majority of consumers. Imagine if sending an email to yourself required the retrieval of a public key hash instead of just typing in your email address?

Now with the Wallet Name Resolver Chrome extension, funding your ChangeTip account is as easy as typing in an email address.

Users simply type their ‘.tip.me’ Wallet Name where they would normally paste their cryptographic public address, enter the amount, and click send.

Video demo using the Blockchain web wallet

Wallet Name Resolver works with Coinbase, Blockchain, Uphold, Snapcard, Kraken, itBit, Coinkite, and more.

Google Chrome Extension & Holiday Savings

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We’re excited to release a beta version of Netki’s Wallet Name Resolver, a Google Chrome browser extension, which allows consumers to seamlessly use Wallet Names instead of a 32 character public address, on any web-based digital currency wallet/exchange.

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This means you can now use Wallet Names on web-based services like Coinbase, Blockchain, Snapcard, Uphold, Kraken, Bitfinex, itBit, ShapeShift, & more, simply by downloading the free browser extension.

 

The use of 32 character public addresses alone provides users with a confusing and cumbersome experience, and becomes even more complicated with HD wallets and multiple currency types. Similar to domain names which allow users to interface with addresses like www.google.com instead of numeric IP addresses, Netki’s Wallet Name Service provides users with a way to tie all of their digital currency addresses to a single, easy to share Wallet Name like frank.walletnameservice.us. Wallet Names have built in support for HD wallets, and do not record any identifying information on a public ledger, such as the Bitcoin blockchain.

Wallet Name Service provides a great foundation to move consumers away from having to manage/transact with confusing public addresses, but, up until this point, has only worked with applications that have fully integrated with our service.

Now with the Wallet Name Resolver Chrome extension, consumers can seamlessly use Wallet Names instead of a 32 character public address, on any and all web-based applications. A user simply types in an easy to use Wallet Name like ‘wallet.justinnewton.me’ where they would normally type a wallet address, and the extension will lookup and replace the name with the appropriate address.

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  Image from Uphold Web Wallet

Working with developers and companies in the broader ecosystem has guided us throughout our product development, and we want to give a special shoutout to Byrne Reese of Uphold for giving us the initial idea to build this new app.

The Wallet Name Resolver extension is available for free download on the Google Chrome app store, and supports multiple currency types including bitcoin, litecoin, ether, and tether.

You can now use the Chrome extension to fund your ChangeTip account from any web wallet/exchange by simply entering your ‘.tip.me’ name, as well as purchase a custom name through us, which can be tied to, and used in place of any/all of your public addresses.  

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 Image from Snapcard Web Wallet

Now through December 31st, you can use discount code ‘holiday2015’ to purchase all Wallet Names through Netki for 10% off. In addition to getting a Wallet Name, this provides a great opportunity to save on a new domain name, including special discounts on popular domains like .XYZ  & .EU (for only $10 each) and .ME & .INFO (for only $15 each). There are NO LIMITS on the number of domains you can purchase. Happy holidays from everyone at Netki!   

For more information about Netki, and to reserve your personalized Wallet Name, please visit www.netki.com. If you’re a wallet provider/exchange that is interested in using our Partner Wallet Name Service to provide your users with free Wallet Names, tied to a domain of your choosing, please visit https://netki.com/#/partners

Netki Gains 100K Users Adds Jeff Garzik to Advisory Board

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We are excited to announce that since officially launching our Wallet Name Service in April, at Inside Bitcoin New York, Netki now powers easy to use Wallet Names for over 100,000 digital currency users.

Based on open source software and standards, Netki provides developers with libraries and APIs that make it easy for companies to quickly integrate Wallet Names into their own applications.

We are thrilled to see great companies in the industry utilizing Netki’s partner API to provide their users with easy to remember Wallet Names (like name.tip.me), and have gotten some incredible feedback along the way.

Netki’s experienced team, who actively contributed to the early Internet’s infrastructure development, understands that early consensus around standards is difficult to assess, but views the ability to garner over 100,000 users in less than 3 months as a promising validation by the industry.

At Netki we have been actively working with developers and companies while building out the Wallet Name standard, and are thrilled to announce that Bitcoin core developer Jeff Garzik has joined Netki’s Advisory Board.

Netki CEO Justin Newton had this to say about adding Garzik to the board: “Jeff’s extensive expertise in large scale Open Source projects and standards as well as blockchain technologies, will be extremely valuable to Netki. We are excited to have him assist us as we continue to develop products, such as our Wallet Name Service, which utilize standards based technologies to allow companies and developers to move away from cumbersome public addresses toward easy to share names, in a way that is both private and secure.”

Garzik, on joining Netki as an advisor: “Netki is creating a more usable, more secure wallet experience for bitcoin users, making bitcoin more accessible to a wider global audience.”

About Netki

Netki was founded in 2014 to remove barriers to entry for consumers, and help foster mass-market adoption of digital currency. Its Wallet Name Service offers enterprise-grade solutions for digital currency applications that promote scalability, security, and ease of use for all.

Community Feedback: What We Learned

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‘Bitcoin’ exists as a massive, open source project, where the entire industry grows and advances with the contributions of dedicated companies and developers.

At Netki, we entered Bitcoin with the goal of creating powerful, open source products and tools that can be used by every company/developer in the space, to enable the entire ecosystem, and thereby every user, to more easily interact with this open system,  and not sacrifice user privacy or security. With this in mind, we are dedicated to engaging in discussions with as many companies, developers, and digital currency users as we possibly can, to ensure that our products provide optimal utility and ease of use for everyone.

We’ve been big ZapChain fans for a while now, and thought we’d try our hand at getting this type of discussion going, via an all day AMA with our CEO, Justin Newton. The discussion could not have gone better, and we wanted to share/highlight some of the great questions we received, and how they helped us gain some really valuable insights.

 

“How difficult is it to develop?” – Yudha Prawira

“What’s the best way to integrate something like this into ZapChain? How much time would it take? How would it change our product?” – Matt Schlicht 

“Is an alias based address secure? I mean, can people find out the balance and hack it?” – Prithvi Raj K

“What made you initially open up to Bitcoin as your main interest for a business? Did you have to choose Bitcoin over a different interest that you have for a business or did you see the most profit in Bitcoin?” – Austin Wilkerson

“Is Netki compliant with the NY BitLicence?” – James Murphy

“What are your thoughts on stealth addresses?” – Ivan Brightly

“Is there an HD wallet happening in the background?” – Brian Battles

“I signed up yesterday. It is an awesome product. But I think you need to put more effort on make your product exposed to more developers” – Xiahong Li

“What advantages has BIP 0032 and 0070?” – Manuel Falcon

“Is it going to make my transactions invisible to another person?” – ‘Hand’s’

 

The best thing about getting this kind of thoughtful feedback is that it allows us to gain insights into product features that users and developers care about most. In the spirit of ‘open source’, we thought we’d share some of the overall themes that we were able to draw from this discussion:

  • Services being offered to digital currency companies should be really easy to integrate.
  • Security is paramount: everyone wants to make things easier for users, but you can’t take any security shortcuts
  • ‘Why are you doing this’ is important to users, and should be
  • Actively engaging with developers needs to be constant a priority
  • People are worried about compliance
  • USER PRIVACY!!!

We hope these insights that we were able to gain will be useful to other companies/developers, and that our experience will encourage more companies to get out there, and ask the community to “ask them anything”.
For more information on Netki: https://netki.com/#/partners

Developers: https://netki.com/#/developers

Open Source Projects: https://github.com/netkicorp

Addressimo: Making BIP 0032 & BIP 0070 Easy for Developers

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Addressimo is free to use, open source server software, that allows digital currency companies and developers to easily add the benefits of BIP 0070 and BIP 0032 to their new or existing products.

https://github.com/netkicorp/addressimo

 

Background: Why We Built Addressimo

Our mission here at Netki is to make bitcoin and all digital assets easy to use, secure, and private. When we first introduced our Wallet Name Service we helped make bitcoin easier to use by allowing users to share an easy to remember name instead of a complicated wallet address. This solution preserved, but did not enhance, the privacy and security of the previous solution: sharing your wallet address over email, text message, or other means.

We knew that HD Wallets that use a unique address per transaction, and Payment Requests (BIP 0070) that allow a sender to validate who they are sending to before finalizing a transaction, could further improve privacy (in the case of HD Wallets) and security (in the case of payment requests) for users, and built integrations with those technologies into our standard. Unfortunately, there wasn’t an easy way, at the time, for most applications to serve these enhanced responses.

With these challenges in mind, the team at Netki decided to build and release Addressimo (no relation to Ehrlich Bachman’s ‘Aviato’): free, open source server software, that allows digital currency companies and developers to more easily add the benefits of BIP 0032 and BIP 0070 to their new or existing products. A lack of time/resources shouldn’t keep great companies and developers from being able to utilize protocol extensions than can enhance privacy and security for their users, and we hope that Addressimo can help make integrations go as quickly and painlessly as possible.

We were pleased to receive input from several developers in the industry, (shout out to Aaron Voisine, breadwallet; Esteban Ordano, Streamium.io; and Josh Lederman, Gem), as we built out and fine-tuned Addressimo, and would love to keep the conversation going to ensure that it meets our goal of being as useful and secure as possible. Addressimo is available on Netki’s GitHub here: https://github.com/netkicorp/addressimo and we’ve also set up a Skype group to field questions/comments surrounding how we can make modifications/improvements, as well as help interested developers and companies configure and integrate the server.

 

The Problems

The ability to maintain one’s ‘financial privacy’ is a key aspect of Bitcoin that allows its tokens to function as a form of ‘digital cash’. Despite the fact that the Blockchain exists as a public ledger with a permanent record of all confirmed Bitcoin transactions, these ‘records’, by design, only reveal basic details, such as the time, amount transacted, and public addresses (not real world identities) associated with a given transaction. While Bitcoin’s public key infrastructure helps promote/preserve end-user privacy (public addresses alone do not reveal any detailed information about a particular user), serious privacy concerns can arise for users whose real-world identities become associated with a single, static public address, used for many or all of their transactions.

A useful example that demonstrates this goes as follows: Whitney receives her wages in bitcoins, which are sent to a wallet that utilizes a static public address. Now anyone (nosy neighbor, judgmental in-law, etc.) who knows this public address, and the fact that it is associated with Whitney’s ‘Bitcoin account’, can search for it on the Blockchain. This allows the nosy Nelly to link together strings of transactions, revealing sensitive details about her financial history (info that Whitney would probably not like to be broadcast on a permanent, public ledger). Moreover, the re-use of signing keys (which will happen when you re-use addresses) can lead to serious key compromises.

As mentioned above, part of Bitcoin’s inherent design (meant to protect/promote user privacy) prescribes that most information surrounding the specific nature of transactions and the parties involved is not recorded on the Blockchain. This is good for end-user privacy (even if you use a static address, at least something like ‘Custom Toupee Shop’ won’t appear on the Blockchain with your transactions). Unfortunately, it leaves users without more detailed records surrounding the specifics of transactions that are afforded to them with things like ‘traditional’ receipts (even in email form) or MT 103’s for banks and financial institutions using SWIFT.

The use of stand alone 32 digit public addresses, also provides users with a confusing and cumbersome experience, in which it is difficult to validate who you are sending bitcoin or other digital assets to, before signing a transaction. This becomes even more complicated when a new address is generated for each transaction, and leaves users without a high level of trust that their assets are being sent to the correct party, which is critical in the context of Bitcoin, where users permanently sign away their funds to a given recipient during transactions.

 

The Solution

BIP 0070 and BIP 0032 are two extensions to the Bitcoin protocol that enhance Bitcoin applications with certain features that work to effectively address both of the problems detailed above. While BIP 0070 and BIP 0032 are seen as useful, (generally) well established ‘standards’, applications need a server that knows how to work with them. Addressimo was built as an easy to use tool, that developers can utilize to enhance their existing products with the ability to serve these enhanced responses.

BIP 0032

BIP 0032 was designed to help protect users against the privacy leaks associated with the repeated use of static addresses, by providing Bitcoin wallets with a way to generate a new public address (linked to a user’s private key) for each transaction that she initiates. In this way, if a user sends out 100 payments using a Bitcoin wallet that has been enhanced with BIP 0032 (commonly known/referred to as HD wallets), 100 unique public addresses will be associated with these transactions on the Blockchain, making it much more difficult for privacy leaks that can occur with transaction linkability by malicious (or just plain nosy) actors.

BIP 0070

The BIP 0070 payment protocol is another useful (yet underutilized) extension, which allows a sender to ensure that he is actually paying the correct/desired recipient, before he permanently signs away his funds.

In addition to a green lock or check that appears next to a correctly inputted recipient, BIP 0070 can be used to provide transacting parties with a more detailed record surrounding the specific aspects of a particular transfer (e.g: what was purchased, the reason for the transfer, etc.) before the sender ‘presses send’ (initiating an irreversible transaction). These details can be recorded in the ‘memo field’ of a payment request, which are transmitted directly between the sender and receiver, without having to permanently record them on the Blockchain.

These payment requests, when combined with transaction details timestamped on the Blockchain, provide companies and individuals with a more complete, digital “paper trail”, which can be used as an effective substitute for traditional receipts, while never inputting sensitive information onto the Blockchain, or exposing any of the extended transaction details to anyone not a party to the transaction. Moreover, the utilization of these payment requests can help companies/services remain compliant with existing AML / KYC / CTF regulations, which generally require financial institutions and DNFBP to maintain more detailed records of transaction.

 

Addressimo & Wallet Names

Addressimo was first conceived as a way to address the  problems that mobile wallets would have issuing BIP 0070 payment requests. We all like to think that our mobile phones are always connected to the internet, but who hasn’t been on a Skype call that disconnected at the airport? Addressimo gives mobile wallet providers a solution to this problem, by offering a store and forward service for payment requests (Mike Hearn’s  ideas about BIP 0070 gave us some inspiration here): Your mobile wallet can automatically register with an Addressimo server software hosted in house or by a trusted service provider, utilize a unique key to register an endpoint, and then store pre signed payment requests for future delivery. Whether online or offline, you simply need to request payers send money to a prescribed endpoint, and unused, pre signed payment requests are returned to the payer. This helps provide mobile wallet users with the confidence that their funds will make it to the proper party, without having to trust the server or server operator (that is incapable of inserting or modifying any data).

It’s often said that consumers have to sacrifice ease of use to achieve high levels of privacy/security. While HD wallets provide a much better user experience for privacy-conscious users that would otherwise have to generate a new wallet for each transaction, keeping track of all of these different public addresses can still be a confusing and cumbersome task for less seasoned/new consumers.

Imagine how easy it would be to utilize a Netki Wallet Name, such as wallet.tonystark.bit, which contains a pointer to your unique Addressimo endpoint that serves your pre signed payment requests? Of course, you can always provide your Addressimo endpoint URL but we imagine utilizing a Netki Wallet Name instead will be a lot more intuitive (and much easier to remember/share) for most users.

Moreover, with Netki’s partner API, digital currency companies can automatically generate user Wallet Names (ex: name.company.bit/com/co/io/org,etc.), which can be shared and used for payments instead of a 32 or more character public key hash (all names work with any of our supported services), while a unique public address is time-stamped on the Blockchain for each transaction. These Wallet Names can provide users with a more familiar, easy to navigate experience, without forcing them to sacrifice privacy or security. Netki’s unique solution, which utilizes the marriage of the Blockchain’s PKI (with BIP 0032 enhancements) + that of DNSSEC + BIP 0070, “to build a chain of trust all the way to payment sender/recipient” allows companies to offer an easy experience to their users, while offering all of the security and privacy benefits associated with the use of BIP 0032 and BIP 0070, plus a layer of separation between permanent, public Blockchain data and any self identifying information.

We hope that developers and companies alike will find Addressimo to be a useful tool, and welcome any and all questions about how it works/how to use it. For more information about Netki, and our Partner API please visit our website: www.netki.com.

 

Partners: https://netki.com/#/partners

 

Developers: https://netki.com/#/developers

 

Contact: info@netki.com

OkCoin Releases ‘Super Wallet’ Beta

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OkCoin announced the release of a new product, the ‘Super Wallet’, earlier today. Currently in beta (and only available to Chinese customers), the Super Wallet will allow users to effectively spend fiat currencies, such as the US dollar and Chinese Yuan, at bitcoin accepting merchants, as the wallet instantly converts said currencies into bitcoin at the point of sale. The announcement suggests that OkCoin, which has primarily served high volume traders, is now also interested in reaching broader consumer markets. Click this link to view the full story via CoinDesk.