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Will Bitcoin’s mobile wallet falter or thrive through Mike Tyson alliance?

The Mike Tyson Digital Wallet allows users to buy and sell Bitcoin through a mobile app, as well as hold funds or share with friends and family with the Mike Tyson brand image and name. The branded app is aimed to attract Mr. Tyson’s fans, as his name is iconic, but for its first mobile wallet the partnership may have been misguided, turning away non-super fans.

“It is an interesting concept weaving together some different components of making Bitcoin more accessible to consumers combined with a celebrity brand could potentially help improve adoption,” said Ben Knieff, senior analyst at Aite Group. “That said, any given celebrity will draw only so much of an audience, which could limit the reach of such an approach.

“I have not spoken directly to most of players involved, but based on the description it may be difficult for users to understand how to transact with users having a wallet with other providers,” he said. “This is not a technical issue but a user experience issue.

“There are many, many wallet providers making it easy to transact on both mobile and web, a key challenge is brand recognition.”

Bitcoin mobile rise
Bitcoin Direct is taking a leap of faith with Mr. Tyson and the mobile wallet. The Bitcoin audience is already a niche market, and tying in a celebrity brand name is likely to only attract major fans.

The form of digital payment can only be used between users who also use Bitcoin, making competition with other major mobile wallet players such as Apple Pay and Google Pay difficult.

The digital wallet is available for iOS and opens up the opportunity to purchase, sell and share Bitcoin funds on mobile, which is a first for the company. Users can open up a variety of wallets for multiple users to pool money together for various reasons such as big purchases, events and vacation.

An Android version is likely to launch soon. The current app features various images of and related to Mr. Tyson, such as an icon, which resembles his well-known face tattoo.

Mobile payments wallets
PayPal’s multichannel payment solution One Touch has generated more than 10 million users in its first eight months, alluding to a potentially promising future as a mobile payment competitor (see more).

TCF National Bank also enabled its debit cardholders to complete transactions with Android Pay, underscoring the need for financial institutions to cater to non-iOS customers seeking to leverage mobile payments (see more).

“I think this helps create some brand recognition, but rather niche in terms of the reach and conversion,” Mr. Knieff said. “Using Bitcoin is somewhat akin to say fax machines or email, the value comes from how many other people can use it.

“As mentioned above, it does not matter who the Bitcoin wallet provider is in the end, but that might not be entirely clear to new users unfamiliar with the Bitcoin ecosystem.”