We’ve all been there: sometimes you start a company, run it successfully for a few years, and then realise you hitched your horse to a slowly dying technology and there’s nothing you can do about it.
So spare a thought for the companies scrabbling to jump off the bitcoin ship before it sinks. The currency’s value has been static for months (except for a brief boom and bust in early November when it was caught up in a Chinese ponzi scheme), but perhaps more damningly still, the hype has all but disappeared.
Some of the former bitcoin companies, like Circle and BitPay, have quietly realigned themselves from “bitcoin” to the more general concept of “the blockchain”, the technological concept at the heart of the cryptocurrency.
Others, however, have been a bit more brazen. Bitreserve, which used to be a bitcoin wallet and exchange, has rebranded itself as “Uphold”, and is now firmly trying to shove its history down the memory hole.
Chief executive Anthony Watson gave Business Insider a … curious explanation for his company’s old name: “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.”
It’s certainly bold spin. It reminds us of Microsoft’s bizarre attempt back in the 00s to erase the iPod from the history of podcasting: “the term podcast is a combination of pod (Portable On Demand) and broadcast,” the company explained.
That one didn’t stick, either.
This article was written by HAL 90210, for theguardian.com on Monday 23rd November 2015 12.22 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010