Bitstamp: Bitcoin Can Improve the Lives of Millions Overnight
Bitstamp is one of the broadly utilised Bitcoin exchanges as a part of the world. It caters for a wide market, and it gives its clients and record holders the option to check their character in understanding to the models set on its site. Coin News Asia has managed to get in touch with Miha Grčar, COO of Bitstamp to shed more light in this groundbreaking Bitcoin exchange.
Coin News Asia: Every Bitcoin enthusiast has gone through a journey– what led you to be interested in Bitcoin and come to believe that it is something that you would devote much of your time to?
Miha Grčar: Bitstamp comes from the first generation of exchanges when the economy was still limited to enthusiasts and early adopters. Back in 2011 there wasn’t too much difficulties in starting our business. The main problems which the founders were facing was a lack of funding and customers. As Bitstamp acquired more customers and Bitcoin got more media attention things got much easier.
Our co-founders always had a keen interest in new technologies. When Damijan, the co-founder and CTO of Bitstamp, first heard of Bitcoin he quickly became fascinated by the technology. Coincidently he bought his first mining rig from Nejc Kodrič who owned a computer hardware store at the time. Nejc was curious why someone would buy such an unusual setup so Damijan introduced him to Bitcoin. Pretty soon they started looking at different business models to help spread the word and introduce Bitcoin to the wider public in Europe. It didn’t take long before they came up with the idea of founding a Bitcoin exchange and so Bitstamp was born. At first they both had day jobs which they eventually dropped when Bitstamp got off the ground, the appeal of making a difference was simply too strong.
CNA: What is the best thing about Bitstamp? What are its advantages over other exchanges?
MG: Customers first. It’s the golden rule which has been passed on to every new team member from Bitstamp’s inception to this very day. What many don’t realize is that Bitcoin is a technology focused on the financial emancipation of the individual and businesses like Bitstamp would never have succeeded if there wasn’t for our loyal customers. It’s the sense of contributing that sets Bitcoin businesses apart from more traditional financial institutions.
CNA: How do you think Bitcoin will affect the Asian market specifically?
MG: Asia gives home to more that 60% of the world’s population. Many of those don’t have a bank account or any similar means of doing financial transactions. Bitcoin has the huge potential to change all that and improve the lives of millions of people overnight.
CNA: What have been the greatest accomplishments or the best times you have had while operating Bitstamp?
MG: It’s hard not to be sentimental when faced with such a question. One could say that the best times for us came hand in hand with the hardest. If we have to choose one it would definitely be the fateful events of February 2014 when Bitstamp bore the brunt of the Bitcoin economy after the collapse of Mt.Gox. Our teams were working day and night. It was obvious to everyone that there is more at stake than just Bitstamp, we had a duty to fulfil to the community and everyone at Bitstamp did their job. We consider The Europas award for the best virtual currency startup in 2014 to be the recognition of these efforts.
Every great invention and every great business would not exist if there wasn’t for the achievements and inventions of those who came before us. Rather than describe ourselves as revolutionaries we tend to think of ourselves as a part of a wider ecosystem where everyone contributes for the greater good.
CNA: What can you say about online gambling laws and its relationship with cryptocurrencies?
MG: There is a difference between technology and businesses endorsing these technologies. Online gambling and accompanying regulations have been around much longer than cryptocurrencies so the fact that Bitcoin can also be used for online gambling doesn’t change the fact that gambling website operators have certain regulatory obligations to comply with. The same can be said about cryptocurrencies in general. Governments and financial institutions have already acknowledged the huge potential that these new technologies bring to the table. It’s up to the industry to work with the existing financial institutions and regulators to find solutions from which all parties can benefit from.
CNA: Why do you think is it taking too long for bitcoin to get mainstream adoption?
MG: Bitcoin in its essence is a grassroots technology and as such needs wider support of the general public to achieve mainstream prominence. Just imagine what would happen if every person with a mobile phone or access to the Internet were to start doing Bitcoin transactions. If we look at the transaction volumes on the blockchain alone it is easy to see that Bitcoin has come a long way since Satoshi published his now legendary white paper. We wouldn’t be surprised to see a continuation of these trends.
CNA: Do you think it is hypocritical when Bitcoin supporters who are critical of banks are also critical of alternative cryptocurrency?
MG: What is great about Bitcoin is the fact that everyone can participate regardless of their personal convictions. In a way, that’s what democracy and freedom of speech is all about. Calling someone hypocritical just because they have different views is not really what we should be focused on. Instead we should all look at what possibilities are out there. If Bitcoin is replaced by an altcoin with more advanced functions so be it. Technology is here to serve humanity and if one technology does that better than all the others; why shouldn’t we use it?
CNA: Do you have a Bitcoin price prediction?
MG: We rather leave that to the market. We would like to emphasize though that success of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies per se should not be measured by the price alone.
CNA: Finally, for those who don’t get Bitcoin, do you have any suggestions?
MG: You don’t need to know how a car works in order to use it, same goes with Bitcoin. We always encourage our customers to do some research of their own before getting into Bitcoin. Things always have a higher chance of success if people feel comfortable with their financial decisions.
Bitstamp will be celebrating its 4th birthday in August 2015. To celebrate, we are preparing some special deals for our customers so they should be on the lookout for our announcements. We are currently working on a couple of really exciting projects for which we are confident are going to add some great value to Bitstamp’s existing platform.
CNA: Thank you very much, Miha.