The year 2016 was a fruitful one for BitKan with the launch of the company's over-the-counter (OTC) trading business and a successful $1.6 million Series A round from Beijing-based mining giant Bitmain. For 2017, the startup is planning another funding round, a series of new features for its platform, and major improvements to its peer-to-peer trading business for an upgraded user experience.
"BitKan's plan for this year surrounding our Bitcoin business is to add about two or three new features," BitKan founder Edward Liu told Bitcoin Magazine. "I think our existing users will enjoy our upgraded product, and we are confident we will be bringing in more new users."
Based in Shenzhen, BitKan offers Bitcoin data and pricing services. In June 2016, the company launched its OTC trading business, which has been quick to grow in popularity. The service now supports 18 conventional currencies including USD, EUR, GBP and INR, among others.
BitKan, one of China's oldest Bitcoin businesses
The internet boom in China has largely contributed to the rise of Bitcoin. Notably, the government's strong support to foster a dynamic and burgeoning startup ecosystem has helped many Bitcoin startups to emerge and thrive.
2011 saw the birth of the first two Bitcoin companies: BTCC, formerly BTC China, and 8BTC, a popular news portal. It was during that year that Liu stumbled onto Bitcoin.
"I discovered Bitcoin in 2011. After spending some time on researching into it, I found it to be an unstoppable future trend. I couldn't miss out on this world-changing opportunity," he recalled.
Liu got involved with Bitcoin like most of the other successful Chinese entrepreneurs in the industry: through Bitcoin mining. According to Sandy Liang, operation director of BitKan, it all started with a small computer program that Liu wrote to get live updates on the bitcoin price fluctuations, she told the audience at the BlockZero conference in Mumbai on December 15, 2016. The program would play happy music when the bitcoin price went up, and sad music when the price went down. It was shared with other miners in a chat group, and later became the prototype for BitKan.
Shenzhen Digital Singularity, the company behind BitKan, was eventually founded in 2013 by Liu and three cofounders, all of whom are former senior executives of Huawei and Tencent.
"My cofounders and I have been friends for years," said Liu. "We place trust in each other."
"The most precious thing of BitKan is our team. We have a trustworthy, stable founding team, so our future development can go very smoothly. If one is to start his or her own company, he or she should find trustworthy people. This team was my best decision back then."
Recalling on the early days of BitKan, Liu noted the struggle of raising funding. "In the beginning, we were underfunded. This situation posed a challenge to our patience. Eventually, we refined our product and after two successful rounds of financing, the company is marching ahead with greater ease," said Liu.
Today, BitKan serves some "millions of users in total and over one hundred thousand registered users," according to Ruby Chan, the marketing director of BitKan.
The BitKan app is an all-in-one solution with an easy-to-use UI. The app covers all the needs of Bitcoiners, whether they are newbies needing real-time news feeds or advanced traders looking for charts. It includes a Bitcoin wallet and OTC trading functionalities.
The company's goal is "to have everyone easily understand, access, store and use Bitcoin," said Liu.