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Jack Dorsey’s payments company Block announced an open beta program on Thursday for its self-custodial Bitcoin wallet, Bitkey.
The beta already includes special integrations with Coinbase and CashApp, letting users safely withdraw Bitcoin to the wallet from either platform “without the friction of standard 'copy and paste.”
buy bitcoin from an exchange and move it to a hardware key you control https://t.co/JdWU10UJKb
— jack (@jack) June 15, 2023
The previous beta was only available to employees of Block, which trades on the NYSE under the SQ ticker. The new, open beta program will allow the public to try out the company’s hardware device and accompanying software free of charge. SQ rose roughly 4% on the news Thursday.
“You’ll be asked to try out the product with your own bitcoin, and share your feedback with us via interviews and surveys, which will help us shape the product,” wrote Bitkey on its website. “You’ll get to keep your free Bitkey hardware device to continue using with future versions of the app.”
The beta version of the hardware wallet will include basic functions like sending and receiving BTC, and include both PIN code and fingerprint authentication options to unlock the device. Later on, the mobile app will incorporate 3rd party exchange partners to allow users to buy Bitcoin directly through the app – CashApp and Coinbase included.
According to Coinbase’s announcement, its partnership with Bitkey will include a “joint offer” for both Coinbase One and Bitkey customers later this year. They also plan to make it easier to convert Bitcoin into local fiat currencies through its integration.
“We're passionately aligned with Bitkey's vision of making self-custody more accessible and empowering individuals to take true ownership of their bitcoin,” wrote the company.
CashApp has allowed users to buy Bitcoin through its platform for years, and includes options to be paid in BTC, or receive coins through the lightning network. Bitkey’s wallet, however, while including multi-signature functionality, will only support transactions on the main blockchain.
Jack Dorsey’s companies are continuing to develop infrastructure for Bitcoin, including mining tools and global on-ramps. Earlier this week, the billionaire’s relief fund Start Small pledged $5 million to the Bitcoin non-profit Brink to support the network’s developers.
Dorsey is far more supportive of Bitcoin than other crypto networks like Ethereum, which he considers an unregistered security.