If I’d met you five years ago what would you have told me?
I would have told you that cryptocurrency and Bitcoin is out of the bag and that you should take US$10,000 […] and put it in Bitcoin [which was] was trading at US$10 per coin. That would have bought you 1,000 coins. And then from there I would have said Bitcoin is going to hit US$100 per Bitcoin, so 10 times a multiple on your investment.
Little did I know that about a year and a half later it would hit US$1,000 per coin. So I would have also told you that Bitcoin, cryptopcurrency has a potential to go to zero. But any time you can transfer value to somebody anywhere, instantly, with little to no fee – I could send you a million dollars -worth of Bitcoin right now just like I could to a villager in Kenya, instantly – there’s inherent value in that.
When I got in, it was about US$2 dollars when I started really getting into it.
What are some of the disadvantages of using a cryptocurrency?
The advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.
You have global payments; anybody, anywhere in the world can send you Bitcoin because it’s like a peer-to-peer transaction online. Never before has that been possible. You have to go through Visa, Mastercard, some countries don’t allow it, some countries do. Some countries don’t allow online gaming.
But with Bitcoin, it’s peer-to-peer, so somebody in Iran can send you Bitcoin. From that aspect it’s fantastic.
Another benefit is instant transactions. Thinking about this gaming experience online, you log in, create an account, you fund it with Bitcoin, it’s instantly credited to your account. Then you can play and you can withdraw in an hour’s time period, or however short a time you want.
In an online gaming space that’s never been done before. It’s like bringing the traditional land-based experience online.
From an operator’s standpoint, there’s no fraud or chargebacks. Ten to 20 per cent of the bottom line of these online gaming companies can go to fighting chargebacks or fraud, because Bitcoin transactions are irreversible, and peer-to-peer. No fraud, no chargebacks.
Both the operator and the customer have a much better gaming experience using cryptocurrency.
The one potential disadvantage to using cryptocurrency is with regards to fluctuation.
You can deposit and literally in the same day it could fluctuate up or down. Now this affects both the player and the operator. For the operator, we’ve developed methods to completely alleviate and mitigate that. So you are an operator, a player comes and deposits 10 Bitcoins, 10 Bitcoins is worth US$10,000. Instead of taking the Bitcoins, you just get the cash. So the player deposits Bitcoins, it comes through our payment processing system, we send you US$10,000-worth of cash.
You never even experience Bitcoin at all. We don’t recommend that and in fact to most of our clients we say: keep 50 per cent of your Bitcoin deposits in reserve.
And some of those that started with us back in 2012, 2013 did that and they’ve got many thousands of Bitcoins now that they bought in at US$20, US$30, US$40 per coin that are worth a thousand.
So, that really is the one negative.
How much do fluctuations affect your business?
We’re also in a position where we can mitigate it, or alleviate it, in its entirety. We have exceptional relationships with all, or almost all, of the top exchanges. So, as the coin comes in to us, we can also exchange it for Australian Dollars, U.S. Dollars, Euro, the Pound, whatever we need. In real time. […]
So it’s a risk; it’s a risk that we’re willing to take as a business. But we take what we need for operations and some savings in different fiat currencies to ensure that the business can perpetuate for many years. But we also save a percentage in cryptocurrency: Bitcoin, Etherium are the two that we’re really focused on now.
What are some of the wider potential effects of Bitcoin?
It’s fascinating and it has the ability to change the world. I always told people before even I was in Bitcoin, I said ‘I really want to do something that’s gonna change the world’. And I found Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, and I’ve done seminars in Botswana, Africa where I’ve taught people how to exchange their Botswana pula, which nobody will take outside of Botswana, it’s worthless outside of Botswana.
So then they’re able to participate in worldwide financial marketplace, they’re able to buy things online, plane tickets, things that they’ve never done.
So as they finally start to move towards this, it can lift people out of poverty worldwide. Because governments use their currency to control people.
Anyways, that’s a different topic.
After five years in Bitcoin, what would you say have been the major upswings and downswings?
I’ll start with the down. The downswings are with regard to the media and people not fully understanding Bitcion. Because the media will be quick to say, for example with Mt. Gox (biggest Bitcoin exchange from which 800,000 Bitcoins, or around US$500 mln, went missing), that Bitcoin has been hacked and that it’s going to die. Bitcoin has never been hacked. People creating companies around Bitcoin have been hacked. So it’s really not a downside to Bitcoin directly, but indirectly it is. Because of course that affects the value of Bitcoin.
We see this with a wide variety of companies; people are fallible, people are the problem. And people find ways to exploit them. And when they do, Bitcoin is affected.
The upsides really have been tremendous, and I believe in people, I believe that people want overall the best for their fellow man, but if governments could, they would stop Bitcoin completely. But they’re realising they can’t, and there is no better upside than governments realising ‘hey, we’re going to have to adapt to this. We can’t stop it.’
And seeing the proliferation of it worldwide, seeing the market cap and value of it go up, everybody really focuses on the actual value per Bitcoin, I don’t, I look at the use. And that amount of transactions per day is going up, the amount of transactions in different transactions in different countries is going up, the amount of transactions in countries that don’t even have quality Internet is going up. Pretty soon we’re going to be in a world where we can travel to different countries and have full access to our coins, make payments, do a wide variety of things, transfer to another country, and not have to go and exchange these silly paper dollars, and lose money in the process.
Looking at its prevalence so far, where are the main markets emerging now?
The best places for it are going to be in countries that have high inflation or controls on their capital, their monetary supply. Or countries also that have a monetary supply that is completely useless outside of that country. Because countries, governments use that currency to control people. And to make themselves rich, they print up.
So as Bitcoin starts to infiltrate these countries and people have the option now to use a different currency that is accepted on a worldwide basis, it can help lift them out of poverty. Because they’re not controlled by that region that only accepts their currency.
Where does China fit in?
China, as a very quickly emerging economy in the worldwide IT and tech scene, I think China has an enormous ability to really uplift and sort of showcase Bitcoin on the worldwide financial scene. Because there’s a very sharp class of people here that are making significant money. Now the question is will there be an exchange that allows them to diversify their money into Bitcoin. And what will the government do? Because what governments can do is criminalise its use. It’ll still be very difficult to find out who has what, but I think China will be the second highest country using Bitcoin within the next year and a half to two years.