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After Selling for $250,000, BitcoinWallet.com Now Open For Business

April 5, 2014

bitcoin insigniaBitcoinWallet.com, a domain that you’ll remember sold for $250,000 back in February of this year, is now open for business.

Price Givens, who identified himself as a founder, seems to have introduced the new site to the bitcoin community just two days ago via a thread on the forum BitcoinTalk.org.

My name is Price Givens and I’m a founder of bitcoinwallet.com.  I’d like to present bitcoinwallet.com to the community with these features:

1. Replacing traditional public addresses with a simple user name.  My bitcoin address (along with my alt coin addresses) is price.bitcoinwallet.com.

2. A simple JSON API that allows developers of third party apps to systematically discover the public addresses (for all coins) of any user based on their user name.  https://price.bitcoinwallet.com/api

Read more …

When the sale of BitcoinWallet.com initially broke, the site CoinDesk among others reported that it had been purchased by Austin, Texas entrepreneur Alex Charfen. It is not clear if Givens is a partner of Charfen, whether they are co-founders together, or whether the domain changed hands since the original sale.  The domain is now under whois privacy.

When it comes to bitcoin, I am a relative novice, but I do believe there is something uniquely interesting of note here.  If I’m not mistaken, what BitcoinWallet.com has done, is essentially apply the logic of DNS to a bitcoin walleting system.

DNS as you know, is the system that allows unique numeric identifiers in the form of IP addresses to resolve to easy to remember domain names.  In point 1 from the quoted forum thread above, Givens seems to indicate that BitcoinWallet.com is the first to allow what had otherwise been unique numeric wallet identifiers to resolve to friendly subdomain names.

Having not delved too deeply into bitcoin before, I am not familiar with other bitcoin wallets, but it does sound like this is quite a radical, albeit elegant, innovation.

The second thing you will notice, if you visit the site and attempt to sign up for a new user account, is that they have implemented a model based on monetizing premium usernames.  Here, from the sites Terms of Use:

We offer our users premium usernames for an upfront fee and an additional annual maintenance fee. A premium username is a username comprising of 4 or less characters (for example, “Joe”). Usernames comprising of 5 or more characters (for example, “Jonathan” or “J.Smith”) are free. If you have a premium username and fail to make the annual maintenance payment when due, then we reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to assign you a new non-premium username and to make the premium username available to other users. In the event that we change your username due to non-payment, we will notify you upon such change.

You will of course recognize this as similar in form to the model that many new gTLD registries have adopted (e.g. .guru, .venture), which is to apply premium pricing to what may be perceived as the most sought after names.

There have been a string of recent posts emanating out of the wake of this year’s DomainFest where keynote speaker Gary Vaynerchuk challenged the audience with his notion that domain names may not maintain the same relevance to internet business in another 5 to 10 years time, as they do today.

Whether or not you agree with that sentiment, the brilliant execution of BitcoinWallet’s wallet-to-naming convention in the form of friendly, shareable subdomains, should make one thing clear:  Naming, in and of itself, in whatever form it takes, is and likely will remain a cornerstone of how businesses, brands, and people continue to navigate, interact with, and gain visibility on the web, for the foreseeable future.

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