There’s a new, unconventional form of a digital wallet available for your Android phone. And it’s not the Google Wallet.
First introduced to the Android Market on Wednesday, the Bitcoin app for Android turns your smartphone into a wallet for Bitcoins, a form of alternative, decentralized currency that has been circulating the web for a few years. The app allows you to store and transfer Bitcoins from one device to another, which means you’ll be able to pay for items without having to use cash or credit, all from the comfort of your own smartphone.
When you want to transfer Bitcoins to another account, a QR code pops up on your smartphone’s screen. The other user simply scans the QR code with his or her phone, and the Bitcoins are transferred to the second phone’s account. If you happen to lose your phone, it’s not a huge deal — all of your Bitcoins are backed up with your Google account, synced to the cloud.
“Right now, Bitcoin appeals mostly to the hacker types,” said Android developer Brandon Iles, the app’s creator. “Down the line, though, it could gain traction between friends. There’s an advantage over credit card companies because there’s no fees involved in the transaction.”