Many bitcoin users and cryptocurrency enthusiasts looking for an app that could aggregate all their information needs, now have a great alternative. The BitFix app is built to cater to the needs of an information hungry public. BitFix delivers exactly the kind of bitcoin data that users want. It aggregates news and market information according to user preferences. With BitFix, users will always be able to keep tabs on their desired bitcoin to fiat currency pairs, market news and all the other events happening in the world of bitcoin. We interviewed the BitFix team to get their insights on their app and what they think about the world of bitcoin in general.
Bitcoin Chaser: How did you come up with the idea to launch BitFix and why did you launch this service?
BitFix: We’ve lived in a few countries, and we wanted an app that could help people who trade in multiple currencies. We also wanted a tool that allowed us to filter out the noise, only showing us what we need. Of course, we think BitFix can be useful for someone focused on one currency, too.
BitFix now and in the near future
BC: As an information aggregator, your app tracks cryptocurrency and currency prices as well as news. How do you link the information from both sources?
BF: Information is collated directly from exchanges. We built a flexible backend system that imports transaction data, and serves it to our app. This system allows us to customize or package that data in any way we want. For example, we could build custom-made historical data visualizations of activity over time, transaction averages, or anything else we can imagine. This is where we think we can innovate.
We haven’t done as much with news yet, but we see that as an important part of making sound investment decisions. BitFix pulls in headlines from key bitcoin news sites, and simply redirects to their sites for article viewing, so that we’re effectively pushing traffic their way. That won’t change, but we have some crazier ideas about using news (and other avenues like reddit and twitter) as a way to gauge “sentiment” in the ecosystem. This is not a focus for us yet, but it is on the drawing board.
The Advantages of using BitFix
BC: What are the advantages that BitFix users can enjoy from the app as opposed to other similar apps?
BF: Right now, the main advantages are customizability, and the variety of currencies and markets we cover. On the next update, the app will cover 19 fiat currencies across 10 exchanges, and that number will keep increasing. We also strive to present information in a clean design that can appeal to casual or newbie bitcoin users. Over time, we anticipate that the key advantages will shift toward unique data visualizations and analysis no one else provides. We are experimenting with this now, and asking users to share any ideas they have for tools they wish they had.
BitFix as a Business
BC: Your app basically aggregates information for app users for free. What is your business model?
BF: BitFix will always retain a free version. We do have ideas for a possible “pro” layer of market research tools or features which add convenience (granular, per-card notifications, for example), but it remains to be seen if we will go that route. Right now it is an experiment to see if anyone besides us finds the basic idea compelling.
BC: Will you remain in the domain of distributing cryptocurrency market data and information to your customers or are you planning on launching other services? If so, which services are you planning to launch?
BF: We have more ideas than we can possibly execute. Inside the cryptocurrency space, we could certainly repurpose the app for other cryptocurrencies if we thought there was sufficient interest. In the more general finance world, we have a couple of ideas about unique market research apps for other types of investors. As investors, we see bitcoin as an asset class alongside gold, fiat currencies or stocks, and we are interested in seeing tools for investors in multiple markets which elevate cryptocurrency to equal status with more traditional asset classes. In a more general sense, where we think we can contribute as developers is in providing new ways of looking at things, or in making complex things simpler for people.
BC: We see that your app is available for Apple users. Are you also going to venture into Android and other platforms? If so, when?
BF: We targeted iOS first because we’re both iPhone users. We have an Android build already, but there are a few bugs to fix. As far as timing, all I can say is “relatively soon”, but Android is very important, particularly in many of the developing markets we cover. After phones, we consider tablets and smart watches logical to target, but this all depends on interest.
Who uses BitFix?
BC: From the app download data that you have, where do most of your users come from?
BF: So far, most are from the USA and Europe. That’s probably a reflection of the fact it’s in English. We’re trying to be inclusive, though, and cover at least one exchange in almost every currency that bitcoin trades in. We will make an effort to get the word out everywhere we can, and will consider localizing in different languages later.
BC: Where in the world do you see the biggest potential for BitFix user growth and why?
BF: We see cryptocurrency as a global phenomenon, so we expect to see users everywhere. For example, in the past year, Japan’s trading volume has exploded, so right now Japan is a hot market for bitcoin. Generally speaking, we will be targeting Asian markets for growth after USA and Europe. We are going to provide the same tools and analysis for smaller markets, though, because we really believe in the democratization of money and information for everyone.
What about Bitcoin Transaction Issues?
BC: Shifting to bitcoin transaction issues, which solution do you prefer, SegWit or Unlimited and why?
BF: This is a complex issue, and I can only speak for myself. This comes down to a philosophical assessment of bitcoin’s USP. Is bitcoin primarily a value store like digital gold, or primarily a currency like digital dollars? Is its main selling point that it is decentralized, or is usability more important? My opinion is that it is all of those things, so I’m frustrated by the schism in the community.
As a developer, I sympathize with Core’s conservative approach to testing and releasing code. When there’s money on the line, it’s important that the codebase works, first and foremost. I have some concerns that Unlimited backers may be rushing their implementation, but I recognize they are trying to solve very real problems. Core could have avoided this by embracing larger blocks a couple of years ago, perhaps preannouncing it to give the community time to adjust. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, and it appears as if hard forking has become a runaway train, along with a possible resulting struggle to sort out whether we end up with one coin, or two, or a fight to determine who “owns” bitcoin.
The best solution in my view would be a mix of larger blocks as an immediate band-aid, and something like SegWit or lightning or some other scalability idea to separate microtransactions from bogging down the main blockchain. If I were designing a cryptocurrency from scratch, I would make block size automatically expand based on current utilization. I would discourage centralization by having the proof of work change at fairly regular intervals, and both would happen with long lead time to give everyone a fair shot at adjusting. That said, what should have been a technical issue has become a political one. My opinion is that the bitcoin community should find a way to come together, or they risk undermining confidence in the bitcoin brand, and enabling the success of other cryptocurrencies at bitcoin’s expense.
The Future of Bitcoin Prices
BC: Do you think that bitcoin prices will be affected by the whole SegWit vs Bitcoin Unlimited dispute? If so how and for how long?
BF: Prices have already been impacted. Initially, it looks like a split would cause two resulting coins (BTU and BTC) which are worth some fraction of the previous BTC price. Casual investors, who aren’t on Reddit every day reading about this stuff, will notice price drops and sell on the falling price to lock in value. Once they figure out what’s happening, and see that it’s due to infighting, buyers may have reluctance, so my guess is there won’t be enough buyers to offset the sellers, at least initially. Other cryptocurrencies should benefit as value moves to them.
The coin that retains the ‘BTC’ moniker is the one that has the higher likelihood of long-term success in my view, because it is entrenched, having benefited from massive publicity. The Unlimited side recognizes this, and some have signaled they wish to gain control of the BTC currency code. Even if the community agrees with this, consumers may perceive it differently, depending on how it is covered. In a way this is up to the exchanges, but their decisions may be bound in some part by government regulations that dictate the contract they have with their customers.
As far as BitFix is concerned, what the app shows you now is BTC/XBT price, as provided to our system via exchange APIs. If exchanges continue serving up data for that ticker, then BitFix would happily go on working with it regardless. If two coins emerge from the chaos, or if BTU succeeds as a separate coin and BTC either languishes or fails as a result, then we would make a decision about how to adjust BitFix to reflect the state of the new market.