Magnr: Bitcoin Can Change the Way Asia Does Commerce
After a rebranding from BTC.sx comes Magnr, a company dedicated to providing cryptocurrency financial services. Our Coin News Asia correspondent had a chance to speak with Colin Kwan, COO of Magnr to discuss this great new service that offers Bitcoin savings accounts.
Coin News Asia: Hi Colin. Thank you for speaking with us. What led you to be interested in Bitcoin and to build your business with it?
Colin Kwan: I personally have worked in the Finance industry for most of my adult life. I have a background in Computer Science and an MBA in Strategic Management. Finance, as I see in its current form, is so inefficient and cumbersome that it requires a major overhaul (and that is just in the local markets). When looked at on a global scale, billions are wasted on unstructured and inefficient processes. Bitcoin to me represents a combination of both Finance and Technology in a much more structured and transparent form. I see it as the way of the future of finance. It won’t replace banks or institutions that deal with traditional currencies however it will vastly improve the efficacy and efficiency of finance for the entire globe.
We started in April of 2013 with a PoC and then fully launched in June 2013. The biggest challenge was getting the exposure to as many Bitcoin enthusiasts and users at a start-up price. The next biggest challenge, finding the funding to keep going.
CNA: Can you share some definite advantages of Magnr over other crypto-related services?
CK: As social media, open source, transparency drives and maintains many new markets, for companies to succeed, they must align themselves with these media and be agile enough to adapt to changing trends. Magnr is fully Bitcoin/crypto-only (we don’t deal in any fiat). That makes us more versatile, transparent, and agile.
CNA: What do you think Bitcoin needs to become to be a more prominent and reliable form of payment?
CK: More vendors need to adopt it. Better and more coordinated marketing by all participants is also very important to encourage merchants and vendors to accept it. And finally, as a whole, the on-ramp process from obtaining Bitcoin needs to be improved and demystified to enable further mass adoption by the general public. It is not so much just the technology, but also the asset class that supports that technology and thus creating a better perception of the currency will help push it towards becoming mainstream.
CNA: How do you think Bitcoin will affect the Asian market in particular?
CK: Asians probably make up most of the cross border transactions around the globe (as in total number of users). If Bitcoin were the underlying asset used for remittance, I believe the overall cost of those services would be reduced tremendously saving Asians billions of dollars overall. Additionally, with the lack of banking facilities available to the general population, mobile money or digital currency is probably one of the only options on offer. Bitcoin provides this service and could invariably change the way everyone in Asia does commerce.
CNA: What characteristics of Magnr do you consider the most revolutionary?
CK: Magnr Trading (aka BTC.sx) was able to withstand the downfall of MTGox and reopened its doors to trading 4 days after that debacle. Not one of our customers lost any funds from that default. Not one. I can’t think of any other company that can say that they were able to do that. Even though that was a bad time for everyone, we as a company can proudly say that.
What is most revolutionary about our company is that we have created the first investment product (Magnr Savings) that can be transparently monitored on the Blockchain. The user can view all transactions that occur in those accounts such that the exact amount of interest and return can be traced on the blockchain.
CNA: Any thoughts on cryptocurrency regulation?
CK: In general, regulation is put into place to protect the users. For Bitcoin, there is no exception. It is inevitable and it is required. At the end of the day, we are talking about peoples investments, money, assets and lives, and these need to be protected at the cost of making the companies less efficient and more costly however enhancing the trust and adoption that the public will have in Bitcoin ecosystem.
CNA: Do you think it is hypocritical when Bitcoin supporters who are critical of banks are also critical of altcoins?
CK: At the end of the day, cryptocurrencies are here to stay in no matter what form. Whether it is Litecoin, Darkcoin, Bitcoin. The asset class is not so much the issue but the form and solutions that they provide. If one “coin” provides better protection to the consumer and more flexibility and options, then it will succeed. AirBnB turned a well established industry on its head. Uber similarly did the same. Bitcoin is no exception. However, and right now, it has the momentum and network effect that will mean it will be here for a long time to come.
CNA: And our favorite: do you have a Bitcoin price prediction?
CK: No, and yes. Up. 21 million only means that there is no other way.
CNA: What can we expect from Magnr in the near future?
CK: We recently launched our Magnr Savings product. That was the 2nd product vertical that we created and in 2 weeks it has already made quite an impression on the market. This is a significant step towards our goal in providing financial investment products to cryptocurrency globe that has up to now been very limited. Bitcoin holders can now actually invest their holdings rather than just betting on the rise of the Bitcoin price. That is, for the first time they can invest. In time we will create further investment products that allow the individuals to grow their portfolio/s.
CNA: For Bitcoin beginners out there, what can you suggest to them?
CK: Google it. There’s enough information out there. If not interested in the technology, then view it as though you would view your credit card usage. Bitcoin is virtual currency that mimics the numbers in our credit card statement (where no cash is ever used). It is the same thing just in a different form.
The majority of the world does not have a bank account or access to banking/financial services. This may not seem like it is required, but in the poorest of places, lack of physical infrastructure and access to financial services is contributing to keeping these economies poor. With borderless cryptocurrencies and global online solutions, this can be addressed. The more we help achieve this, the faster we will reduce global poverty.
CNA: Thank you very much, Colin.