Hi Steve, you are the CEO and Founder of GoCoin.com. Please, tell us about the relevance of crypto currencies for your work. What are you doing in this field?
In 2011, my software company was developing eCommerce apps and my wife asked me to look into Bitcoin for her site, the predecessor to Peerspring.com. At the time it was not yet very interesting.
Take me through your typical workday.
I don’t know what a “typical” day looks like….but I wake at 5:45am and clear my queue or high priority emails that come in from countries around the world. I drive my daughter to the bus at 6:30am and take calls on the way. I stop at Starbucks to fuel up, then am in the office by 7:15am which is my most productive hour and a half until the team starts to roll in. Most of my time is spent responding to email and making calls. At this stage, my primary activities are focused around global expansion. I’m dealing with contracts, fine tuning internal procedures, preparing for speaking engagements, and talking with prospective merchants.
Where do you want to go within the next year?
GoCoin is laser-focused on the vertical markets we feel will be the highest volume businesses.
It’s been said that Bitcoin could be as “big as the Internet” in reshaping the world and spurring economic growth. Do you believe that?
The internet of money will change the way the world exchange value, the VC investment in the space is the greatest indicator that this disruptive. Disruption historically does spur economic growth.
A variety of bullish Bitcoin price predictions have been touted over the past year. What’s your crystal-ball forecast for what Bitcoin will be worth in six months?
I think the focusing on the price of Bitcoin encourages the very behavior that weakens it…hoarding rather than transacting. That said, I understand the temptation and can’t help but look a few times a day myself. By design, Bitcoin is deflationary, so this also hinges on the fluctuating value of fiat currencies. As a result, the proverbial dart throwing chimp has as good a guess as I do.
What are the biggest benefits and largest risks of doing business with Bitcoin?
Banking, banking and banking. Followed closely by the NYDFS who should have followed the lead of Texas when determining the proper level of regulations needed at this stage. Clearly, NY wants to discourage job growth and businesses from domiciling in the state.
What’s the best way for people in the Bitcoin community to build trust and facilitate standards that will expedite mainstream adoption?
Stay active and be heard.
How can financial institutions adapt to a technology that ultimately threatens their dominance?
If you can’t beat them join them….the early entrants into the space will force the laggards into the business.
What’s to stop the banking industry from coming up with their own implementations of a virtual-currency model?
They likely will but will fail due to the centralized nature.
What will come of Bitcoin regulation? Is this key to convincing politicians and governmental institutions to pass favourable legislation?
Job growth is the key.
How does one safely store and transact in Bitcoin?
By using services like GoCoin, merchants can be completely insulated from security and volatility risk of Bitcoin. As for storage, BitGo and Xapo both have nice services, and for the do-it-yourself types Trezor has a great hardware wallet.
Do you think that “multi-signature” will become the dominant approach to authorizing transactions?
Multi-sig has its place, but I’m hopeful that the current means by which parties exchange value via the blockchain will remain the dominant approach.
Are you concerned about Bitcoin’s own volatility hindering its adoption?
I’m more concerned about merchants blindly starting to accept digital currency without understanding it should be their most preferred payment option. Without strategically implementing Bitcoin as a payment method to get bitcoin in the hands of customers is short-sighted.
At the moment, US-based Bitcoin companies in particular have received the vast majority of VC funding. Do you see that changing?
I only see this accelerating in the short-term. Jurisdiction overreaching regulation is the greatest threat to innovation.
It’s being said that Litecoin right now is where Bitcoin was the same time last year. What’s your opinion on the future of Altcoins?
I probably have the best front row seat to Altcoin consumer behavior. I’m a fan of a small number of Altcoins that I believe will co-exist with Bitcoin, but none so far have the inertia to overtake Bitcoin today. But as we have seen with AOL, Myspace and soon Facebook, consumer perception leaves the door open to other innovations. Bitcoin also needs to overcome the hoarding problem where many of the altcoins are more transactional.
Bitcoin mining chips are being compared to a “high-tech arms race” with the demand for more.
Do you think the Chinese central bank will continue the crackdown on trading of Bitcoin?
No strong opinion, but I was surprised they didn’t see it as an opportunity to use Bitcoin as a tool in a currency war.
Do you see yourself or your company as a leader in the cryptocurrency space?
Opportunities for tech startups to create a worldwide brand in less than a year are extraordinarily rare. Having travelled 150,000 miles speaking at more events than I could possibly remember, I’m very pleased with GoCoin’s position as a world leader in digital currency payments.
What work challenge keeps you up at night?
Banking is still the biggest challenge in this business. We’ve had to set up multiple redundant payment options in many jurisdictions around the globe. Also, finding a balance of trying to make the investment money we have go as far as possible while trying to remain competitive with those that started their businesses more than a year ahead of us.
What has been the most exciting work development this year?
Seeing GoCoin successfully become an agnostic digital currency payment platform, and watching the first Litecoin and Dogecoin transactions process have been major highlights.
What mobile device can you not live without?
My car….haha. The email and syncing on the BlackBerry is still the best, but I need all of the apps on my iPhone now.
What app(s) do you use most often?
and my favorite…..
What social media network or website do you frequent most?
LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter
What’s the first thing you check on your phone in the morning?
Email is still the “killer app”
How many miles have you travelled this year?
Since last September, I’ve travelled about 125,000 miles for speaking engagements and business development opportunities.
Can you tell us something about yourself that your team would be surprised to know?
I still get dry mouth right before a speaking engagement and always make sure I have water with me.
What other career would you like to try?
I’m coming back next time as an attorney.
What does your desk look like right now?
I haven’t seen my desk in two weeks, but when I left, it was covered with business cards stacked in categories.
What is the last book you read?
I don’t really enjoy reading books…I’m more of a magazine guy…I love Wired.
If you made me pick a book it would be “Crossing the Chasm.”