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Gliph Raises $200,000 To Expand Secure Messaging And Bitcoin Features

Gliph, a secure messaging application with bitcoin integration, announced today that they recently secured $200,000 in funding, led by Tim Draper. Gliph is one of seven companies with a heavy focus on bitcoin in the latest Boost.vc Accelerator class. Boost’s Demo Day is today, offering companies from the program an opportunity to present to an audience of investors and press.

A sample user Gliph, comprised of three symbols or 'artifacts'
A sample user Gliph, comprised of three symbols or ‘artifacts’

Gliph began in early 2012 as an encrypted messaging app, focused on securing communications across iPhone, Android and web users, protecting all messages with SSL and/or AES-256 encryption. The service also offers the ability to reveal only as much personal information as desired with communication partners, using symbols – or ‘artifacts’, as the company calls them – as the primary personal identifiers. This allows users to communicate by revealing as little as their artifacts or as much as their full contact details. Shortly after their initial founding they were accepted into the Portland Seed Fund, from which they received $25,000.

coinbase wallet setup

More recently, Gliph has added a number of bitcoin functions to seamlessly transact in the digital currency. Users can link existing wallets from a number of popular options including BIPS, Blockchain.info, or Coinbase. They’ve also integrated with Coinbase for easy wallet creation, requiring just a few taps and as many seconds before being set up with a Coinbase account. The app can even generate a new email address for the account behind the scenes, creating one of the easiest wallet creation methods to date.

Co-founder Rob Banagale sees Gliph as a way to offer unique value to existing bitcoin users, as well as onboard the currently uninitiated. “Gliph lets you send bitcoin and communicate in a single experience,” he told us, “You can securely put social context around a transaction.” The app’s unique ability to quickly bring someone into bitcoin may attract more people to the digital currency, with Banagale reporting 60% of wallets used with Gliph accounts are created through the app, rather than linked in from wallets that existed previously.

bitcoin transactionIn addition to message encryption, the company sees unique possibilities from bringing messaging, bitcoin and anonymity into the same environment. Banagale offered the example of a Craigslist transaction, where the parties have to communicate and transact financially, but may not want to reveal the full extent of their personal information. The easy onboarding of new bitcoin users could also make quick payments between friends via bitcoin possible, even if only one of them has used bitcoin prior to that transaction.

The move to expand into bitcoin transactions may prove vital for the company. While they’ve managed to acquire 20,000 users since initial launch last year according to the founders, they face a crowded market for encrypted messaging. Companies like TextSecure, Silent Circle, and more recently Hemlis from the co-founder of The Pirate Bay have moved into the space – one that is likely to see more entrants as a result of the NSA / Snowden leaks this summer.

Exchanging contact information is as easy as giving the other party your email, phone number or Facebook info when looking to connect. If the parties wish to remain anonymous and not disclose personally-identifying contact info, the process becomes a bit less straightforward since a user’s artifacts would have to be exchanged. Describing personal identifier strings like “game controller, wrench, ice cream” could end up being a bit cumbersome, though not impossible.

Gliph plans to use the recently raised funding, some of which was in bitcoin as part of the investment from the Boost Bitcoin Fund, to improve the Android experience and design quality across the platform. Further down the road they envision an advanced version for paying users with features like auto-deleting messages and encrypted video. By having users linked in from accounts at a number of different wallet hosts, the company even sees the potential for fee-less bitcoin transactions by internally managing transactions across users and settling with the individual wallet providers in batches.

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