Bitreserve's Halsey Minor had some interesting comments comparing Bitcoin and Netscape, but his company is chugging right along, Yesterday it added more stores of value for its users.
Bitreserve is a service that allows customers to use the Bitcoin network and the advantages that entails while holding value in a variety of currencies and other assets. It launched with five fiat currencies and has since added gold. They previously announced that they would be bringing oil to the platform sometime this year. This isn't that, but it is nonetheless significant. Bitreserve has added three commodities: silver, platinum and palladium as well as an additional fiat currency – the Swiss Franc – to its service.
To celebrate, Bitreserve gave US $1.00 worth of silver (0.06oz) away to current customers.
As with gold and the fiat currencies, everything will actually be held by Bitreserve. Users will be able to track what Bitreserve is holding them using the company's proprietary extension to the blockchain: the Reservechain. The Reservechain shows users when Bitreserve purchased the commodity and how much they paid for it. While there are other services that allow people to buy assets using cryptocurrency, Bitreserve stands out because of it transparency and directness (users are buying actual assets and not ETFs or pegged Bitcoin).
There are a few use cases for this, but the main one, the one Minor is betting people want, is Bitcoin's advantages without its volatility. Users can hold their value in a currency they can trust won't lose a significant percentage of its value overnight, while still taking advantage of the Bitcoin network. You can purchase things using your gold (or any other) card in Bitreserve. On this front, the addition of silver, platinum and palladium doesn't appear to be all that significant. Users either want to hold their spending money in a stable currency on the Bitcoin network, or they don't. Having three more options in addition to the five fiat options and gold is nice, but it doesn't seem particularly useful for that. The Swiss Franc should help here. People who use it as their native currency can now keep their wealth in that currency while taking advantage of the Bitcoin network.
Where the commodity additions are significant, is in Bitreserve's second use case: easy investing for end users. Investing in foreign currencies or stores of value like gold or palladium is difficult and costly for end users, with high barriers to entry. Bitreserve allows users to invest at their own speed and financial levels. Bitreserve does charge a small fee for every transfer of currency (for the new currencies it is 1.4 % for the Swiss Franc, 2.95% for palladium, 3.85% for platinum and 2.45% for silver) but it is significantly lower than broker fees and people can invest as little as they want, even a dollar could theoretically be spread among the various currencies.
That isn't to say that the fiat currencies can't be used as investment vehicles themselves. The Swiss Franc has already experienced some volatility this year; the Swiss Reserve Bank recently lifted the value ceiling that has been in place since 2011.
In addition to three new stores of value, Bitreserve is also increasing accessibility by adding seven new languages to its platform.
Halsey Minor may be saying some curious things. When he made the comparison to Netscape, he clearly struck a nerve with and angered some in the community. But that doesn't detract from the fact that his company is adding currencies on a seemingly monthly basis. Tools turned the Internet from an unusable geeky, niche technology into what it is today. Minor was apart of the transformation. Regardless of how well he articulated his point, there is no denying that if Bitcoin isn't actually Netscape, we are at least living in the bitcoin equivalent of that era. Tools that provided real services is how we moved from the Netscape era to “Web 2.0” will Minor's tools do it again?
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