For most cryptocurrency enthusiasts, Airbitz is known exclusively as a mobile bitcoin wallet app. Many, however, are aware of its rapid emergence as a comprehensive blockchain fueled data security solution.
On the heels a flurry of new developments in 2016, including its much-touted expansion into Europe, the San Diego-based Airbitz just announced the release of its new Software Development Package or SDK. It will be officially launched at the BayBitHack event, a collegiate hackathon dedicated to blockchain and cryptocurrencies, the weekend of April 2-3 at the University of California Berkeley Innovation Lab. At this event, innovators and developers can enter a contest to showcase the best use of Airbitz SDK and win $500 in bitcoin. CEO and co-founder Paul Puey and Chief Architect William Swanson will be in attendance throughout the event.
In its present iteration, the core Airbitz mobile app is equipped to secure many types of data as a part of its broader blockchain functionality. Now, through SDK, developers can tap into the deeper layers of this platform’s library to build software for ATMs, Point of Sale systems, gaming, payroll services and many other applications.
These advancements align well with a much larger movement sweeping the tech world that’s positioned to deliver game-changing solutions in data decentralization, private-key authentication, the Internet of Things, financial solutions and private messaging, along with the next stage of advancement with bitcoin and other forms of digital currency.
The Airbitz mobile app was the first integrated product for this platform, and its potential reach is massive. The new SDK promises to be an attractive solution for developers seeking to secure user data in a highly robust manner for their new and emerging innovations.
Solving a Prevailing Security Problem
Consumer fears abound amid high-profile security breaches that continue to occur with regularity, with Target and Verizon being just two examples. After myriad efforts to identify solutions for locking down personal information, financial information, money and even our private documents on centralized servers, reality is beginning to set in that this may not be possible. For nefarious actors, the benefits of tapping into these rich treasure troves of digital data via globally accessible servers are too enticing.
Here’s how Airbitz solution works to address this issue: Its Edge Security software encrypts data on a user’s device prior to it ever reaching a network or server. Therefore, hackers who are emboldened with the thoughts of walking away with a large stash from thousands or millions of users gain nothing but fully encrypted, private data on that individual user. As a result, the incentive to attack the system in the hopes of a large haul are exponentially mitigated by this “one node versus entire system” reality.
The foundational element of this security philosophy is what is known as Zero Knowledge. Akin to the Apple’s contention that it does not have access to user data, the Airbitz protocol allows it to know nothing about the encrypted data that their users and clients interface with. The benefit here is that nothing leaves the a user’s device until it’s encrypted and nothing can ever be decrypted unless accessed with the user’s unique password. Therefore, the emphasis is placed on Zero Knowledge vs “end to end” encryption; the only true means of achieving stealth security.
M.K. Lords, Community Manager at Airbitz says that security solutions are vital to protecting one’s most valuable information, all while being delivered in a user-friendly manner to consumers.
“As we see more people move to using mobile devices predominantly, we need ways for strong security to meet that convenience. The current enterprise security model is broken. Here at Airbitz, by reversing the way we think in terms of securing data, we’ve created a platform that decentralizes security and puts power into the hands of the users instead of centralized servers. This allows [you] to be the custodian of your own data, much like digital currencies allow you to be your own bank. Hopefully, others realize that there are more ways to secure data than what currently exists as the SDK Edge Security model moves the focus to end-user devices rather than security [that is] dependent on centralized servers.”
Patrick Patton a bitcoin enthusiast, merchant adoption specialist and member of the Colorado Bitcoin Network believes that Airbitz’s deeper foray into this data security world holds great promise.
“I’m no programmer, but my impression is that Airbitz is a highly versatile software platform with utility beyond that for just Bitcoin wallets. One innovation Airbitz brought to us was the ability to generate keys and encrypt all client-side data, without the need for personally identifiable information, yet still upload that encrypted wallet to p2p servers for easy backup and syncing across multiple devices. This had never been done quite this way in the Bitcoin space.”
He goes on to note that SDK’s major return on investment is that it allows other developers to use Airbitz’s proven “Edge Security” platform to convey the same advantages to their own applications.
Says Patton, “An example here would be a more decentralized encrypted communications platform, doing what Signal or Telegram does but without a central server. Such a messaging app could also integrate its own Bitcoin wallet for secure in-message value transfer or use API calls to an external Airbitz wallet to do the same.”