Circle, Bitreserve, and BitPay – three of the most well-funded start-ups – are now trying to distance themselves from bitcoin as a digital currency.

The trend has become apparent in recent months, most probably due to bitcoin’s failure to break into the mainstream in the way that developers have hoped, Business Insider claims.

Circle, which used to be primarily a mobile bitcoin wallet, is now accepting US dollars for transactions, though without declaring any intention to completely abandon blockchain. Its CEO Jeremy Allaire still regards the general concept of blockchain as the technology that will shape the future, but considers that its use should not be reserved for bitcoin only.

BitPay, previously a global service provider, offering software solutions for businesses to accept payments in bitcoin, has also shifted away from bitcoin while focusing mainly on the development of other blockchain-based applications.

While these two companies have mostly shown their will to diversify their businesses, not to be concentrated on bitcoin services only, the third seems to be more explicit in its complete realigning from bitcoin.

In October 2015 Bitreserve, a former bitcoin wallet and exchange, initiated a rebranding company, changed its name to Uphold and developed new services and products. It carries on as a more general online money service using the blockchain technology to offer free currency transfers. This shift from bitcoin exchange to a broad “Internet of Money” platform has spurred already heated debates on the death of bitcoin.

Curiously enough, companies are not simply changing their business models to more promising ones, but also trying to reinterpret their names to remove any bitcoin associations. The Uphold CEO Anthony Watson thus explained the old name of his company:

“When we say bit, we don’t mean bitcoin, we never did. We meant bit as is bits and bytes and reserve is obviously holding the value. But people are confused, they think we’re just a bitcoin company and it makes sense as our first use case was bitcoin.”

While companies are advancing their arguments against investing in bitcoin quoting its alleged minor role, some critics explain the change of their policies simply by inability to create profitable business models.


Anna Lavinskaya