Keeping tabs on your bitcoins just got a little bit easier — and a little bit more mainstream, too.
The personal finance app Mint announced a new feature Thursday that allows people to monitor the value of their Bitcoin investments alongside other personal financial information.
It’s the first personal finance service that allows users to view and track the value of the bitcoin in real time. And it could be another step toward validation for the controversial “cryptocurrency.”
Some context: Mint is a handy service that allows people to track their wealth (or lack thereof). You register your bank information with the app and, in turn, Mint automatically categorizes your transactions — charting spending history and notifying you when you go over budget in certain categories.
It’s helpful for saving up for big purchases, tracking investments and being an all-around more responsible human being.
Bitcoin, meanwhile, is a new kind of digital currency that’s intended to make online transactions more efficient and less costly than what banks offer now. (My colleague Rob Pegoraro offers a more thoughtful explanation of it here). A lot of people have questioned its validity. Last year, Vanity Fair’s Kurt Eichenwald predicted that the Bitcoin bubble would pop, calling its market “a fantasy.” Just last month, the New York Times’ Paul Krugman called it “evil.”
Still, however, Bitcoin has increased in both popularity and value over the past several months, entering both the public consciousness and the coffers of more mainstream retailers, some of which have begun to accept bitcoins as currency.
So what, exactly, does this union of financial tools mean? Well, for one thing, it signifies that Bitcoin is continuing its growth, having gotten another big company like Mint to take notice.
“As it’s become more of a legitimate currency, we’ve integrated it into the app,” Vince Maniago, group product manager at Mint.com, told Yahoo Tech earlier this week. “One trend we’ve noticed is lots of people speculating by buying just one bitcoin. This feature allows you to track it similar to how you track your 401(k) or investments.”
Mint partnered with Coinbase, a money services firm that aids in securely buying, using and accepting bitcoins, to create the feature. Coinbase is legally approved by all 50 states to transmit money and currently supports about 834,000 consumer Bitcoin wallets.
The new addition to the Mint app was tested out with users of Reddit in the few weeks prior to today’s launch. Now, Redditor or not, you’ll be able to track your Bitcoin investment with Mint. You can download the app from Mint’s website.
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