Bitcoin startup 21 Inc. is releasing its first ever consumer product – a tiny, Linux-operated computer that is both a bitcoin miner and allows users to buy, sell and rent products for Bitcoin.
21 Inc. has developed a diminutive $400 computer that is equipped with a WiFi adapter, a 128 GB SD card that includes the factory-installed copy of the Bitcoin blockchain and a custom version of Linux, the 21 Bitcoin OS, preinstalled.
The sad part of the story is that this $400 computer is really just a jumble of off the shelf consumer electronics that cost only $37.
It also features a custom energy-efficient mining chip built-in to the device and a micropayments server. 21 Inc. has already developed a mining chip for smartphones, called the 21 BitShare.
For $100MM, everything is lining up perfectly to look like a scam. The hype and bullshit around BitCoin seems to have bitten Ben Horowitz in the ass, for this investment is a perfect storm of the two — bs and hype. Kiss that $100MM goodbye.
In the FAQ section of 21’s website, the startup is clear about their intentions with their invention.
The 21 Bitcoin Computer is the first computer with native hardware and software support for the Bitcoin protocol.
This is a horrible claim considering anyone can put one together in their basement for under $37.
The small Bitcoin computer can be used as a standalone machine and can be attached to a computer running Windows, Linux or Mac over USB.
It’s All about Bitcoin
“With this pocket-sized device, if you are an entrepreneur or developer, you can now instantly buy or sell digital goods and services at the command line using Bitcoin,” contends Balaji Srinivasan, CEO of 21 in a Medium post, raising the possibility of using bitcoin over PayPal and other conventional banking as a default exchange.
“We want to use the success of the 21 Bitcoin Computer to help make Bitcoin the next fundamental system resource, available by default on every new computer,” Srinivasan proclaims.
San Francisco-based bitcoin startup 21 Inc., backed by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz is targeting developers over end-user consumers with their invention.”
Ben Horowitz, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz compared the potential of the new computer to Netscape, a landmark early consumer-adopted browser from the 1990s, a browser that he helped build at the time.
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, he said:
I’m very excited about it. The thing that’s completely missing that I think would make the Internet better would be machine-to-machine payments. It’s just amazingly hard to do right now.