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Chicago-based business 1871 recently announced that it’s launching a new project called the Chicago Bitcoin Center, which will aim to research the use of bitcoins in Chicago and developing secure networks for transferring bitcoins and other forms of digital currency.

According to reports from the Chicago Tribune and Inside Bitcoins, the Chicago Business Center is a “bitcoin-focused incubator” and the team will work with other tech startups to develop safer methods of transferring bitcoins, along with increased investments toward block chain technology.

The Center was announced at the Inside Bitcoins Conference in Chicago and was launched on Friday, July 10. CEO Howard A. Tullman recently told the Chicago Tribune that the use of digital currency is rising — even Citibank announced that it’s developing its own digital currency called Citicoin.

“When you have the biggest banks in the world starting to acknowledge that this is a viable currency and everybody has to be involved in it, we think it’s going to have implications for our companies,” Tullman stated.

Online consumer purchases are already driving the economy in the U.S., with around $1.2 million spent via e-commerce shopping platforms every 30 seconds, and an estimated $140 billion worth of mobile shopping sales generated by 2019.

The Center has already pulled together an impressive team of financial and tech experts, including Don Wilson, founder and CEO of DRW Trading, and Matthew Roszak, CEO of the Chicago Bitcoin Center and a founding partner at the Chicago-based Tally Capital.

Participating startups already include Glidera, which provides merchant payment processing systems for bitcoins, and Red Leaf, which is currently implementing bitcoin ATMs throughout Chicago.

According to Roszak, 1871’s unique combination of entrepreneurs from a variety of industries is exactly what makes the company so capable of building up companies that wish to focus on bitcoins; the Center’s “network of experienced technologists, marketers, advocates, investors and others” aim to transform the way businesses and consumers use digital currency.

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