Over the past few months, Bitcoin Decentral, the new Toronto-based Bitcoin community center and coworkingspace that has been operational since the start of the year, has come to take center stage in the Canadian Bitcoin economy. Progress toward renovating and furnishing the upper floors of the four-storey house are well underway, and even now the location serves as the headquarters of KryptoKit, the Bitcoin Alliace of Canada, the organizing committee for the upcoming Bitcoin Expo and the Canadian arm of Ethereum as well as the site of a weekly meetup that attracts 50-100 attendees. The site is one of three similar locations in Canada, alongside the Bitcoin Embassy in Montreal and a smaller community center, also named Decentral, located in Vancouver, and the concept of a “Bitcoin embassy” is rapidly taking hold in countries all around the world. Now, Bitcoin Decentral has announced that it is launching its newest program: a Bitcoin and cryptocurrency 2.0-specific startup accelerator.
The program, entitled Bitcoin Decentral Accelerate, is a standard three-month startup acceleration program, in which participating startups will be able work together at Bitcoin Decentral and enjoy the benefits of specialized in-house legal counsel, shared office resources and the assistance of and a number of expert mentors, investors, and business owners experienced in the cryptocurrency space. Startups will receive these benefits, alongside an upfront injection of a yet-to-be-determined quantity of cash, in exchange for a seven per cent stake in the company, and will also be eligible for an additional larger investment at the end of the three-month program. Managing the Bitcoin Decentral Accelerate program is A. Traviss Corry, who previously managed the Toronto-based incubator program Incubes until a dispute with Incubes CEO Ben Zlotnick led to his departure. Also involved are Anthony Di Iorio, founder of Bitcoin Decentral, as CEO and William Mouyagar, founder of Startup Management as special advisor.
In addition, the program has signed up over 100 mentors, including:
- Erik Voorhees, a long-time Bitcoin advocate well-known for his involvement in a number of Bitcoin startups, including BitInstant, SatoshiDice, KryptoKit and his current main project, Coinapult. Coinapult is currently a service for sending bitcoins by SMS and email, but intends to soon become a powerful international Bitcoin exchange.
- Andreas Antonopoulos, a Bitcoin security expert and frequent speaker at Bitcoin conferences, also serving as a permanent co-host at the Bitcoin podcast Let’s Talk Bitcoin and more recently the Chief Security Officer at blockchain.info.
- Tony Gallippi, founder and CEO of BitPay, a Bitcoin payment processor that allows merchants to accept Bitcoin payments and optionally have the funds immediately converted into local currency in their bank account, thereby instantly protecting them from all Bitcoin price volatility risk. The company charges processing fees of only 0.01-0.99, and now has over 25,000 merchants signed up.
- Jason King, founder of Sean’s Outpost, the now famous Bitcoin-accepting homeless outreach program in Pensacola, Florida, and the associated permanent shelter Satoshi Forest.
- David Johnston, co-founder of the Bitcoin angel investing group BitAngels and director at the Mastercoin Foundation.
- Jamie Robinson, founder of QuickBT, a Canadian company that allows users to buy up to 0.1 BTC with their debit cards
- Stuart Hoegner, a cryptocurrency and gambling lawyer who is also involved as a counsel at the Bitcoin Alliance of Canada
- Johann Gevers, founder of Monetas, the company behind the federated-server-based auditable financial transactions toolkit OpenTransactions
- Gav Wood, lead C++ developer at Ethereum
Although there have been several startup accelerator programs that have started including a Bitcoin component, Bitcoin Decentral Accelerate is the first in the world to be a cryptocurrency-specific program right from the start, and the first program or sub-program to specifically target ventures related to the rapidly growing concept of “cryptocurrency 2.0″ – using Bitcoin-like cryptography and blockchains for more than just money, including applications such a decentralized domain name registry, smart property and smart contracts, cross-chain currency exchange, online democracy, custom branded currencies and blockchain-based financial contracts. The program is now accepting applications from startups; anyone interested in applying is enouraged to submit the application form at bdaccelerate.com at
Vitalik Buterin is a co-founder of Bitcoin Magazine who has been involved in the Bitcoin community since 2011, and has contributed to Bitcoin both as a writer and the developer of a fork of bitcoinjs-lib, pybitcointools and multisig.info, as well as one of the developers behind Egora. Now, Vitalik's primary job is as the main developer of Ethereum, a project which intends to create a next-generation smart contract and decentralized application platform that allows people to create any kind of decentralized application on top of a blockchain that can be imagined.