Ventured backed 21 Inc is planning to release in November 2015 the first personal device with native hardware and software support for the bitcoin protocol.
With the pocket-sized device, users can engage in mining bitcoin from the command line, selling API calls for bitcoin for various services, setting up an iTunes-like digital goods store, rewarding peers for posting links on social media and making Internet of Things hardware such as smart locks and 3D printers bitcoin-rentable.
The 21 Bitcoin Computer includes a built-in 21 mining chip for buying stuff with bitcoin and a built-in 21 micropayments server for selling stuff for bitcoin, all accessible from the 21 command line interface.
The full Linux device can be used as a standalone machine or it can be plugged into the wall to generate a stream of Bitcoin for an existing Mac, Windows, or Linux machine.
The device is supposedly bundled with everything needed to get started, including a WiFi adapter, RPi 2, power supply, USB-to-laptop cable, and 128GB SD card. If users are concerned about the security of the bitcoin network, the 21 Bitcoin Computer can also be used as a full node, as it comes with a factory-installed copy of the blockchain.
The 21 Computer comes with “a lot of technology under the hood” that includes the custom mining chip, a large datacenter backend, and the 21 Bitcoin OS – a Linux distribution that includes both device drivers to generate a “replenishing source” of bitcoin and a suite of programs written to consume it.
21 CEO Balaji S. Srinivasan indicated that the startup set out to create a device designed to encourage entrepreneurialism:
But the technology is ultimately just a tool. Our long term goal is to return economic power to the individual. Specifically, we want to make it possible for you to turn your bright idea into passive income by selling bitcoin-payable goods, games, and services over the Internet through a 21 Bitcoin Computer. And 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. That journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. If you are a developer or entrepreneur, and you want to help us reach that destination, please go ahead and get a 21 Bitcoin Computer now.
Founded in 2013, 21 has been developing embeddable mining chip technology that can be integrated into any internet-connected device. The startup has received US$121 million in venture capital in two rounds from investors that include Andreessen Horowitz, Data Collective, Khosla Ventures, Pantera Capital, Peter Thiel, Qualcomm Ventures, RRE Ventures, Yuan Capital, Karl Mehta, Winklevoss Capital.
The 21 Computer is available for pre-sale from Amazon.