Lately we have had a host of great Q&A sessions with various Bitcoin based services here at Bitcoin Wales. My aim is to share honest information on what it is like to operate here at the UK, both good and bad. I feel that sharing this information will allow the Bitcoin community to address issues and with time allow the Bitcoin industry to mature.
Today’s Q&A opportunity is with CoinCorner. CoinCorner is a distinguished Isle of Man based Bitcoin exchange that offers a host of services. They allow you to buy and sell Bitcoin with just a 1% fee which is arguably cheaper and easier than purchasing from a private trader. They also offer a host of other services such as a mobile wallet app for on the go access to your Bitcoin and CoinCorner account and have a payment gateway for ecommerce businesses to accept Bitcoin with minimal exposure.
CoinCorner have also just announced a new Euro service giving Europeans the chance to purchase Bitcoin with an easy to use process paid for in Euros. They have introduced SEPA payments and a “simple buy” process where Bitcoin purchases will complete as soon as CoinCorner receives the funds. CoinCorner are expanding their top class service from the UK to other EU nations and will very soon be offering their website in a host of different languages starting with German.
Below is my online interview with co-founder and CTO of CoinCorner, Danny Scott.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m Danny Scott, I’m the co-founder and CTO of CoinCorner. I’ve been a software developer for 10 years with a keen interest in bitcoin for the last 3 years.
How did Coincorner come to be?
I was actually looking to purchase some bitcoins just over 2 years ago, but found it incredibly difficult in the UK. I eventually purchased some from an exchange after a week of finding the best place and around 5 weeks of waiting for verification. This just seemed crazy to me, at which point myself and another co-founder (both developers) decided to start looking into making the process a little easier, which eventually led on to starting our own exchange. 6 months later we were live with CoinCorner.
Have you any involvement in the cryptocurrency scene and how has it shaped you and your exchange?
The Isle of Man is only a small place, but have been very proactive when it’s come to cryptocurrency. Being an MDCA (Manx Digital Currency Association) board member and from a CoinCorner perspective, we have been influential in helping advise the local Government. During this time, we have come across certain issues that bitcoin creates from a legislative point, but this has allowed CoinCorner to be at the forefront, even when that has meant altering our path.
We have had some very questionable exchanges exist in the past (e.g. MTGOX). Do you feel that Bitcoin exchanges have matured in the way they operate today?
The bitcoin industry is still in the early stages and there will no doubt still be companies popping up that may be questionable, but I think overall it’s starting to become more reputable. Over time we will see more Governments placing regulation around these companies.The MtGox situation was quite an extreme case scenario, but there are definitely lessons to be learnt-from personal users not storing their life savings all in one place, to companies keeping on top of accounting and audits to make sure things are running as they should be. However, problems can occur in any business, as they do every day, from Tesco’s accounting errors of late last year to Moonpig’s data leaks earlier this year. No industry or company are immune to these issues.
How do you see compliance shaping the way cryptocurrency exchanges operate as of now and in the future in regards to operating in the UK?
Over the coming years I would expect to see more of a structured framework for cryptocurrency businesses as you would with other sectors, such as eGaming and financial institutes. Most reputable businesses operating in the space are already operating in a compliant manner, collecting required information from clients. Going forward, this may of course become more difficult to comply with, but the companies who want to survive long term will adopt the necessary procedures.
Do you feel that the lack of regulation around Bitcoin here in the UK is a positive or negative?
There is always a lot of speculation around if the industry were to be regulated would banks become friendlier, would the public adoption increase and would businesses be willing to accept it as a payment method. Regulation brings with it the trustworthy aspect, but for the companies it brings lots of headaches that may be even overkill. There are so many sides to this argument, it’s difficult to say right now.
What is your opinion on our government’s stance to Bitcoin and crypto as of now?
The Governments in the UK and the Isle of Man both seem very positive towards bitcoin. They see this as a potential new fin-tech industry that they will want to be at the forefront of on a global scale. However, I think a slow and cautious approach is the correct one, allowing time to see how the industry evolves, which will help make a better framework for regulation. New York has already seen the introduction of it’s Bit License, along with a large number of companies ceasing operations in the state, however there are companies continuing to operate and applying for the license. Only time will tell as to whether they have taken the correct approach.
Do you feel you can help shape Bitcoin regulation here in the UK?
We do often communicate with various entities in the UK on regulation and of course, with the UK being our primary location we always keep a close eye on things. We would hope our influence on the Government here will follow through to the UK, as no doubt they will communicate between themselves.
Do you agree with a block size increase from the current 1MB cap and what are your thoughts about the BIP101 proposal?
I agree with a block size increase definitely, it’s a must! I’m still not convinced on what size and how we go about it though. Unfortunately we have been so busy at CoinCorner recently that we haven’t had the opportunity to be more involved in this debate.
Do you feel a block size increase will benefit your business?
Anything which improves the bitcoin user experience will, by default, benefit our business as it will increase consumer adoption.