There are a few real world applications that have applied Bitcoin to our current economic lifestyles. Two of these familiar concepts are the use of debit cards and BTMs that have combined the Bitcoin environment with financial standards of the past. Both of these ideas bring ease of use to the equation, adding more choices that inherently fuel Bitcoin adoption.
Also read: What Makes A Bitcoin Company Successful?
In January of 2015, E-coin, a Bitcoin-based debit card provider, arrived for users in Europe. This company allows its users to load BTC to Visa or Mastercard cards and spend them at traditional POS terminals. Cards are available in USD, EUR and GBP, and offer delivery within 5-10 business days for European customers.
Pavel Matveev, Dmitry Lazarichev, and Georgy Sokolov are all founders of E-coin and want to provide increased ease of use to the Bitcoin landscape. With help from their debit cards, the team believes their product will help drive bitcoin use. The card is not yet available in the U.S., but E-Coin hopes to find a presence there in the future.
Bitcoin.com spoke with founder Georgy Sokolov about E-coin and got an inside view of the team’s operation. Sokolov tells our readers what sets their Bitcoin-based debit card aside from the rest, and how they aim to help spread adoption. The team acquired over $195,000 USD in funding so far by using BnkToTheFuture to help capitalize their company.
“Our founding team has previous startup experience and many years experience in the financial sector. But it’s not only just that. It is also a matter of getting the right partnerships in place, continuous product development — Overall we just believe we can out execute the competition.”
— Georgy Sokolov, E-coin
Bitcoin.com (BC): How can you explain what E-Coin is to the average person and how did it all start?
Georgy Sokolov (GS): E-Coin is a bitcoin card that allows you to use your bitcoin everywhere. We do this by enabling users to spend their bitcoins anywhere Visa and Mastercard are accepted at 25 Million ATM’s and 30 Million merchants worldwide.
BC: How many team members are involved with E-coin?
GS: There is a total of 10 people on the team in various roles from the founding team, marketing and PR, developers, and customer support.
BC: Can you tell our readers about your collaboration with BnkToTheFuture?
GS: We met with BnkToTheFuture and really liked the approach of raising capital that they offered. It has been great working with Simon Dixon and their team to make our campaign a success. In total, we have raised $196,595 from 98 investors. Using BnkToTheFuture allows nearly anyone to invest in our project. We are a consumer product and only as strong as our user base. Allowing investment from our users was important for us.
BC: What sets E-coin apart from alternative bitcoin cards?
GS: From the information we gather, we are the most popular bitcoin card on the market. We try to offer a great product and service for the bitcoin community. Many companies have thought it would be easy to create their own bitcoin card. Most realize it takes a complete team working together to make a successful product. Our founding team has previous startup experience and many years experience in the financial sector. But it’s not only just that. It is also a matter of getting the right partnerships in place, continuous product development, etc.
Overall we just believe we can out-execute the competition.
BC: You have a growth rate of about 30%. What region of the world is most of this growth coming from?
GS: We have tremendous growth and support from the developing world. Many un-banked individuals see e-coin as a financial instrument to support their families. We have talked to many people in the developing world that have found a way to work online for bitcoin. E-Coin offers them a way of using their money with much lower fees than they traditionally face.
BC: What is a virtual E-coin card?
GS: We are the first company to offer virtual bitcoin debit cards. It’s basically a normal debit card except its virtual – not a piece of plastic, but just the card number and security code which allow to use it online or link to apps on smartphones. It can be used anywhere online that Visa is accepted. The advantage is you have access to it immediately when you purchase the card – the card details are sent via e-mail. We offer users the ability to purchase a card for $3 and use it instantly. Users can use it anywhere online they currently shop.
BC: What kind of product development will we see in the future for E-coin?
GS: We are currently developing multiple exciting products. You will have to stay tuned for when we release them. To stay up to date on e-coin developments, please subscribe by signing up at our website.
BC: Your team raised over $196,000 from investors. How does E-coin plan to allocate its capital?
GS: This is not our first investment raised, there have been smaller amounts invested before. The one on BnkToTheFuture is the first public investment round that we have closed, which not only provides the necessary capital, but also confirms the company’s official valuation and, most importantly, the trust our customers and investors have in us.
We plan on using the capital to maintain the working capital and expand operations. We are currently shipping cards to140+ countries and will continue to expand to more countries. We currently offer denominations in USD, EURO, and GBP and plan to expand to more currencies soon. We also are hiring a full-time support staff to serve our rapidly growing user base.
BC: Is your product available in the U.S.? If not – why, and do you have plans to move into this market?
GS: Unfortunately, not yet. It is a huge market, but there is a number of regulatory obstacles involved. We hope to be able to move in within half a year, although cannot give any definite comments as yet.
BC: Do you think debit-based Bitcoin cards help fuel adoption and overall cryptocurrency use?
GS: Yes! Means of exchange (which is effectively being able to spend the currency without limitations) is one of the fundamental features of any money. By allowing Bitcoin users to spend their coins anywhere rather than just with a limited number of merchants, we contribute to that, thus driving the adoption further.
BC: What’s your opinion of the current stage Bitcoin is in? Do you feel the ecosystem is growing?
GS: One of the best indicators is the growth of investment in the industry. It has been going up quite steeply in 2014-15 despite the relatively low price of the Bitcoin itself.
BC: What can our readers expect from E-coin in the future?
GS: We are working on a mobile application that will make the use of our card even easier and more convenient. Have some interesting ideas in the back pocket, too – stay tuned!
Thank you for speaking with us, Georgy Sokolov. We plan on keeping our readers informed about E-coin and its upcoming developments with funding and architecture. Bitcoin.com hopes that debit-based Bitcoin companies will be available to everyone globally soon.
What do you think about Bitcoin Debit Cards? Let us know in the comments below!
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