Cryptocurrency: Gem's All-in-One Portfolio App is Like Coinbase for Pros
Gem wants to be the last cryptocurrency app you ever need. On Thursday, the Los Angeles-based veteran blockchain startup revealed its new smartphone offering that provides complete control over assets, offers a single unified wallet, and packages it in an easy-to-use setup.
“People shouldn’t have to compromise between having a great user experience and taking control of their digital identity,” Micah Winkelspecht, founder and CEO of Gem, said in a statement. “As an industry, we need to bridge the gap between the early adopters and their needs and the majority mainstream audience. We need to deliver a better user experience.”
The platform starts with a universal cryptocurrency portfolio that will launch in May as a public beta for Android. Instead of managing a variety of exchange and wallet apps, the app will use the exchange’s application programming interface to show an overview of a user’s holdings, starting with 22 at launch and expanding from there. The platform also includes a discovery tool to research over 1,500 cryptocurrencies and decide on investments. In the summer, the team will launch an iPhone version as well as a universal wallet that will initially support Bitcoin, Ether, and the ERC-20 token.
In many ways, it’s reminiscent of the highly intuitive Coinbase app, which shot to the top of the iPhone app store during the mid-December hype around Bitcoin’s rise to prices of nearly $20,000 — a surge that caused the servers to crash. Coinbase’s simplicity, which propelled it into the public eye, has sparked a new wave of consumer-friendly products.
Another offering in this area is Abra, which has the ability to trade in 20 cryptocurrencies and 50 fiat currencies through a straightforward interface. Abra’s system of smart contracts, based off of Bitcoin, means the company can provide all manner of asset classes at a later date, including stocks and bonds. Gem, however, is aiming for something larger than either of these.
“Abra is another wallet in this space. It is solely focused on wallet functionality,” Siva Kannan, Gem’s vice president of engineering, tells Inverse. “They are not trying to provide portfolio level functionality - like providing all your holdings across all exchanges in one place. Whereas, what Gem is trying to be is one app for everything. Both portfolio and wallet functionality in one app. You would just need one app to track and manage both your offline (wallet) holdings and also your exchange level holdings.”
With the cryptocurrency market recovering from its four-month slump, Gem may launch at the ideal time to capitalize on a similar gold rush to the one that boosted Coinbase.