Bitcoin brought its largest ever presence to the floor of CES this week. If last year was about punks going corporate, the hope for 2015 was to show off the cryptocurrency's newfound legitimacy (thanks to $433 million in venture capital financing and acceptance by blue chip behemoths like Microsoft and Dell.) Too bad the biggest story in Bitcoin this week was that $5 million hack of the exchange service BitStamp, which was scheduled to appear at CES.
When I stopped by, their booth was empty. The theft from BitStamp, the second largest Bitcoin exchange for US dollars, managed to drown out more bad news for the volatile industry. The previous days' hand-wringing was about Bitcoin's drop in price.
However, no one in the "World of Bitcoin" section, a group of booths organized by BitPay, seemed concerned, including BitPay cofounder and executive chairman Tony Gallippi, whose company helps integrate payments so that merchants can accept Bitcoin and exchange it for a more traditional currency. (Turns out big companies prefer US dollars.)
BitPay has raised $32.5 million in funding from investors like Peter Thiel's Founders Fund, Richard Branson, Ashton Kutcher, Wordpress founder Matt Mullenweg, and more. Watch him try to convince me that one day, Bitcoin will be bigger than the internet.