Mycelium's vision for the future

Wednesday 13 July 2016

The popular bitcoin wallet is rolling out a slew of new services, and it’s all looking really impressive

The days were when being a bitcoin wallet was enough. Bitcoin was cool, the world was its oyster, it would change everything. Then the market crashed in 2014, businesses with no more than a fuzzy association with bitcoin and its mythical profit-making capabilities crashed with it, and lots of them either went under or figured out they had to pivot - fast - in order to stay alive. It was the crypto equivalent of the dot-com bubble bursting.

Unlike some of the competition Mycelium, the hugely popular wallet service, have not just revamped their offering by tacking on a few extra services. They have developed a vision for how blockchain tech can be and will be used and gone for it. Mycelium are already a strong business, and are head and shoulders above the rest for user experience. Their smartphone wallet app is used by a couple of hundred thousand bitcoiners, including many in China. But they’re planning much more.

The Mycelium Card is going to rock your world

Fiat on the blockchain

It’s one thing to transfer bitcoin easily and conveniently. It’s another to do the same thing for fiat currencies like the USD and GBP. And that’s what blockchain really needs to do to gain traction. Low-cost remittance is a very strong proposition - but people are put off by the idea that the value of your transfer could plunge by 5-10% overnight if you’re unlucky. By integrating the Waves platform, Mycelium will support the issuance and distribution of various digital tokens that will represent the broad spectra of assets including major fiat currencies. It will make sending USD over the blockchain as cheap and easy as sending bitcoin itself (probably cheaper and faster).

Moreover, it will be possible to trade these tokens against each other via Waves trustless peer-to-peer exchange. If you want to exchange USD for EUR, you can - all with the same minimal cost and safety offered by the blockchain. Transaction speeds for trading will even be reduced thanks to centralised order-matching. Buyers and sellers will be paired by a central server, and the trades will be cleared on the blockchain, effectively enabling high-frequency trading on a peer-to-peer basis.

Mycelium Gear

Mycelium is also going big into hardware. Alongside their well-known mobile wallet, they will also be offering payment processing in the form of Mycelium Gear, cold storage (Mycelium Entropy), and a hardware storage/payment solution (Mycelium Card). Thus the fiat tokens hosted on the Waves blockchain will be used on this expanded infrastructure provided by Mycelium. The Cards are particularly worthy of note. These are hardware wallets of the regular ISO ID1 (i.e. standard ATM card) size with wireless units, keypads, rechargeable batteries, and displays on board. Each card is both the wallet and POS terminal in one. Cards perform peer-to-peer connections that will later upgrade to full-scale mesh-networking. Besides bitcoin and fiat wallet transfers, the cards are designed to be used for loyalty programs and other similar applications.

These solutions will likely be implemented as early as September this year as custom tokens functionality is added to Waves. It’s a bold vision for Mycelium, and shows an awareness of the potential of blockchain technology that clearly isn’t yet shared by other major wallet providers.

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