When one visits the CryptoMate homepage, the first that greets you is a little blurb written across the top of the site: Good Morning. Our service is Currently Online and Operating as Normal. This blurb fits in perfectly with what the folks at CryptoMate are trying to do: Make it easier and more comfortable for people in Britain and beyond buy Bitcoin hassle free.
I was in touch with Nathan and Will of CryptoMate to ask about their service and about the greater Bitcoin economy. Enjoy the read:
First and foremost, all of us working in the Bitcoin space are either visionaries way ahead of the curve, or just a bit nuts. What problems do you think Bitcoin is going to help solve in the world? Put another way, why should people take a gamble and start buying and using Bitcoin?
The classic argument for Bitcoin is the decentralisation – the potential to flush the centralised banking institutions down the drain. I’ve met many in Bitcoin space who endorse this subversive aspect of Bitcoin and are gunning for world-wide economic revolution. But right now, with just 4 billion in market capitalization (a relative drop in the ocean), I don’t feel it’s what we should be focusing on. What new adopters need to think about is how Bitcoin can genuinely improve their lives: near-instant global transactions, it’s cheap to use and accept, it’s completely trustless and private, and even the local government’s lack of control over it are all things that could benefit you.
There are some sites that keep tallies of the number of times that Bitcoin has died in the press. What do you think is the greatest risk to Bitcoin, internally or externally?
Bitcoin has ‘died’ more times than we care to remember, but every measurable metric suggests the complete opposite of this statement in terms of adoption, awareness, acceptance and actual real world usage. Crypto hasn’t hit mainstream yet, so it is still in its early infancy in our opinions. The greatest threat to Bitcoin (and crypto as a whole) is the state. They are technically the only people who have the power to slow down (but not kill) this new industry, as they did with the automobile and other industries that were disruptive in their own right. But in the end, innovation always wins out.
So, why was CrytoMate created? What problem is it meant to solve and how does it go about solving them?
We want to help bring Crypto to the general population, and do so in the most pain free and straightforward way possible. Everyone on our team has had to deal with the typical headaches that goes with buying Bitcoin (and even more so with altcoins) for the first time in the UK and we wanted to change this. We give customers the ability to buy BTC and seven other altcoins via instant bank transfer, which means customers can get their coins in their wallets in under 15 mins without registration or having to hand over every piece of personal information imaginable. The main thing we wanted to do is open an exchange that took the best aspects of competitors and improve on them, which we think we have done.
So, who do you feel are the target customer for CryptoMate? What kind of people will it help the most?
Our primary demographic would be new users. The curious, and those who don’t want to spend a lot of money or time being involved with larger exchanges. Places like CoinFloor enforce a £1000 minimum, which isn’t accessible to many users. Traditional exchanges such as Cryptsy are complex, and more for the trader. Where does the ‘normal’ user go?
Why kind of demand have you been seeing?
We have seen amazing demand for our service since we opened back in May. What we see is a lot of repeat customers, so that tells us we’re doing something right. As expected we have sold mostly Bitcoin, but a decent portion of sales has been for Litecoin and Dash.
Can you tell me something about the people who started CryptoMate and what drew them to Bitcoin?
There’s currently six of us involved in CryptoMate, excluding vendors. I’m one of the programmers, which Will also works on. We also have Andrin Ehrenmann, who works in marketing and PR, and is hoping to set up a Swiss CryptoMate. He’s been interviewed before, here and here. Yuri Nakov is our Australian representative and general Linux guru, who is currently working on setting up CryptoMate there. We all initially came to be involved in Bitcoin through sheer nerdy curiosity, and (let’s face it) the chance of making profit, back when the market was much more speculative. We’ve known each other for well over a year now, after meeting on IRC. Personally, I initially got involved in cryptocurrencies via a now-defunct altcoin, Pandacoin.
On your website, I see that you have a place for ‘vendors’ to sign up. The site invites those interested in selling bitcoins to make money by selling on CryptoMate. How does that work?
Our current process is entirely manual, in the interest of security and responsibility to our customers. We only allow vendors who we fully trust and have dealt with personally before, and we make sure to keep in contact with them on a regular basis. We currently have enough vendors to handle the volume we’re seeing, but we’re hoping that will change soon and more people will be able to get on board.
I see you also support a number of altcoins. What role do you think altcoins will play in the development of a cryptocurrency economy?
Last year we saw a flood of altcoins, ranging from the absurd to the genius. This year we have seen a separation between the real long term contenders and those that have lost all momentum and have been abandoned. We believe that there is place in the future for altcoins, but there has to be a limit to how many, and obviously they have to offer something that Bitcoin can’t. An example of a coin that can compete in the long term would be Dash, which offers a lot of things that Bitcoin can’t such as true privacy, instant transactions and decentralized governance which we all support very much.
It’s plausible that Bitcoin might not become the only dominant cryptocurrency – as Will said, there are many advantageous changes that can be made. Even in today’s world many fiat currencies exist; why not a cryptocurrency for your country? For a large internet forum, or game? Even Reddit had announced the creation of its own cryptocurrency. Ultimately, altcoins are the place for innovation right now, and we want to encourage that.
As you folks are located in the UK, how do you feel the environment for Bitcoin businesses compares there to other locales? Do you think that, long term, Britain will be Bitcoin friendly?
The UK really is a hub for Bitcoin at the moment. HMRC has encouraged businesses accepting cryptocurrencies – even to the point of declaring Bitcoin exempt from VAT. The UK government has also announced its intent to produce regulations surrounding cryptocurrencies, with a primarily friendly stance, and the goal of minimizing money laundering potential. We see their attitude as conducive to innovation. This is completely the opposite to what we’re seeing in America, with the ‘BitLicense’ set to crush the industry, and counteract everything Bitcoin stands for.
Finally, please give me your best elevator pitch about what makes CryptoMate stand out from its competitors and why my readers should check you out.
We’re a group of cryptocurrency geeks who came together online and wanted to do something special, spread the gospel of crypto and try to help people move away from the banking system we’ve become entrapped in. What separates us from other UK exchanges is our ease of use and order fulfilment speed.