Financial payments start-up Square Inc was on Friday at work on a real-world wallet for safely pocketing cryptocurrency.
Square founder and CEO Jack Dorsey, who is also the top executive at Twitter Inc, last month on Twitter asked for feedback on the notion.
“This community’s response to our thread about this project has been awesome — encouraging, generous, collaborative and inspiring,” Jesse Dorogusker, a member of Square’s hardware team, wrote on Twitter on Thursday.
“We have decided to build a hardware wallet and service to make bitcoin custody more mainstream,” he said.
Dorsey endorsed Dorogusker’s post, tweeting: “We’re doing it #bitcoin.”
Hardware wallets can be used to store digital currency offline, synchronizing with applications for transactions on the Internet as needed.
Another option for cryptocurrency owners is to use “virtual” wallets, essentially trusting third parties to keep money safe and using passwords to access funds.
Dorsey on Twitter said that bitcoin is a currency for the masses, and that it is important to have ways for people to hold it that do not involve entrusting it to outside parties.
“The exchange you used to buy your bitcoin probably attends to your security with good intent, but circumstances may reveal ‘custody’ actually means ‘IOU,’” Dorsey wrote on Twitter last month, referring to a shorthand for “I owe you.”
“Deciding to take custody, and security, of your bitcoin is complicated,” he added.
Dorsey envisioned a bitcoin wallet that makes it easy for people to use some of it for shopping, for example through smartphones, while protecting the rest of the cryptocurrency.
“We can imagine apps that work without Square and maybe also without permission from Apple and Google,” he said, referring to the makers of the world’s two most widely used smartphone operating systems.
Square would set up accounts on Twitter and software developer community Web site GitHub dedicated to the bitcoin wallet project, Dorsey said.
In related news, a 101.38 carat diamond was sold at Sotheby’s for HK$95.1 million (US$12.3 million) in cryptocurrency, becoming the most expensive piece of jewelry sold through such type of payment, the auction house said.
The pear-shaped diamond, named “The Key 10138,” was on Friday sold to an unidentified private collector, Sotheby’s said in a statement.
The gem from Diacore Co was the second-largest pear-shaped diamond ever to be sold publicly, it said.
Prior to the sale, the international auction house said it would take bitcoin or ether as payment for the diamond, which fetched less than the estimate of as much as US$15 million in the single-lot offering in Hong Kong.
The auction was livestreamed and attracted no more than a dozen bids.
Earlier last week, Sotheby’s said it was the most expensive physical object ever publicly offered for purchase with cryptocurrency.
Auction houses are increasingly accepting cryptocurrencies for payment, with Phillips last month offering a piece from street artist Banksy for ether or bitcoin.
Christie’s in March accepted payment in ether for the record US$69.3 million sale of Beeple’s Everydays: the First 5,000 Days.
Additional reporting by Bloomberg
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