Online retail giant Amazon is now shipping 21 Bitcoin Computers, the first product from the industry’s best-funded startup 21 Inc.
21 began accepting orders on 21st September, when it revealed the offering along with its broader vision for how it believes the 21 Bitcoin Computer will be used to further development in the field of machine-to-machine payments.
Unlike past products aimed at the bitcoin mining market, however, 21 has stated it does not intend for its units, which contribute to transaction processing on the bitcoin blockchain, to be optimized for the speculative mining of bitcoins. Rather, the units will aim to provide users a "stream of bitcoins”, a move that aims to emphasize that bitcoins, while a scarce and valuable resource, are effectively the data that runs the distributed bitcoin database.
So far, the product has perhaps struggled to communicate its nuances even to its target consumers in the development community. Confusion over the value of the product as well as its high price point can be seen in comments on social media sites and on Amazon.
In a separate blog post, 21 CEO Balaji Srinivasan aimed to reiterate the product's value:
"It’s an integrated hardware/software device that is built to connect to other devices of its kind, to be updated in sync, and to integrate with an online developer community. It provides a stream of bitcoin to buy digital goods and services, the ability to set up simple micropayment servers to sell these goods, and a set of demonstration apps along with the libraries to build your own."
Products were expected to begin shipment on 16th November, according to Amazon’s official product page, and soon after, Reddit users began reporting that they had received confirmation emails from the e-commerce company. 21 later confirmed shipment had begun via Twitter.
An informal poll conducted on Twitter by CoinDesk indicated that not all purchasers had received confirmation emails. At press time, only 30% of the poll’s 27 respondents had indicated they had received notice their product had shipped.
The shipping deadline may have added importance for 21 Inc and its reputation given the long-standing issues industry startups have had delivering consumer mining products. In the past, Butterfly Labs, KnCMiner, HashFast and a litany of other mining firms have suffered from shipping delays, poor customer feedback, and ultimately, lawsuits and bankruptcy filings.
At press time, 21 Inc did not respond to requests for further clarity on its shipping timelines.
Image via Amazon