Some applications are made by corporations, designed to become assets that please investors and the CEO. Others are made by governments and public enterprises to encourage use of state services. They’re generally formulaic, programmed by employees without emotional investment in their products.
Bitholla is not one of those apps. It was made by a group of regulars at the Seoul Bitcoin Meet Up, the heart of the Korean Bitcoin community. They gather regularly to discuss and learn about cryptocurrency, and often enjoy late-night drinks afterwards. The group travels from one venue to another, and uses Bitcoin to settle bills for each other.
Like many Meet Up members, the founders are expatriates, who are common in South Korea and often use Meet Up as a way to make new friends. This turbulent social scene provides a steady supply of new faces, which means many new Bitcoin addresses and lots of QR codes to scan.
It’s from the need to help facilitate such impromptu sessions that Bitholla arose. Users create profiles linked to their Bitcoin addresses, and the application links with their third-party wallets. The app then activates geolocation technology on their phones to recognize when they are nearby and access their profiles.
“Been using it to split the bill with friends,” said Ruben Somser–the founder of Seoul Bitcoin–in a comment on Reddit. “One person pays, the others use Bitholla to pay their share in Bitcoin. Very easy since the app shows who is near you.”
You can also chat with people through Bitholla, which comes with a map to display public users in your vicinity. This allows you to find new Bitcoin-minded friends, as well as Meet Up gatherings and Bitcoin ATMs. It basically reveals the local layout of the Bitcoin ecosystem.
This has the effect of unifying the Bitcoin community, and thereby helping to build a closed-loop economy. Those of us who are deficient in fiat can use Bitholla to find people who might be able to help you out when in a jam for food, lodging, or transportation. The founders hope it will spread to other cities to help connect Bitcoiners around the world.