Putting the ‘crypt’ in ‘cryptocurrency’: bitcoin firms go under

2015 has been a rocky year for bitcoin companies. With its value in freefall, a number of merchants have struggled to stay afloat, with others failing entirely to keep their heads above water. There have been more recent casualties to the currency’s fluctuating future, including Harborly and 37coins, which have joined Buttercoin on the scrapheap.

US bitcoin exchange Harborly has shut down little more than a year after its launch after failing to find itself a new investor.

Harborly failed to find investment.

The company claimed that it was going to be a more user-friendly bitcoin exchange and spent a year in development before being released late last year. It had operations in the US and Canada and had plans to extend its reach to India.

Harborly snubbed rumours that it had been a victim of a security breach, something that led to the downfall of heavyweight bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox. Instead, the firm insists, the shutdown is due entirely to a lack of investors.

‘Bitcoin’s core architecture is innately borderless, but, generally speaking, it’s impractical to use in most regions across the globe,’ Harborly CEO Connor Black said prophetically at the launch of the exchange last year.

‘Its success is dependent on cooperation with the current financial system, and this cooperation is shaky at best.’

Sinking value

It isn’t just Harborly that closed its doors recently. Bitcoin remittance start-up, 37coins, has also gone under, though it is giving users until 30th December this year to withdraw their bitcoin balances. 37coins aimed to use cheap mobile phone technology as a way to ensure that transactions could be as low cost as possible, but ran into problems with making that aim a reality.