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Safello CEO: If bitcoin is the internet of money, we are still at the dial-up modem phase

Safello is a bitcoin exchange based in Sweden, and has been around since July 2013 providing a gateway to people who wish to get in-and-out of bitcoin using fiat money. 

Acting for now as a secure exchange between conventional and cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, Safello is developing what it sees as a ground-breaking transaction browser.

In an interview with Euromoney Magazine, Safello CEO and founder Frank Schuil said:

“If bitcoin is the internet of money, we are still at the dial-up modem phase. There’s a lot of work still to be done on the infrastructure. There are only a few countries where it is easy to transact between bitcoin and national currencies. The real breakthrough will come from leveraging the infrastructure and protocol advancements to the user-experience level. Safello envisions this can be accomplished by creating a transaction browser.”

Schuil envisions his exchange platform giving users links or icons for counterparts with whom they exchange payments, ranging from friends and family to corporations and even governments, with a quick and easy capacity to initiate transfers and check transaction records.

“We hope that it will become easier for users to have fiat currency wallets next to cryptocurrency wallets on the same interface. We will get to providing views of a transaction stream where the user making a payment sees it in his home currency of sterling, the recipient sees it in euros, but the underlying transaction goes through bitcoin,” said Schuil.

He also said that Safello’s growth rate hasn’t been as big as expected, explaining that issues such as bank-like regulations and compliance have been holding Safello back. Just recently we confirmed that Homeland Security in the United States has a special task force enabled to monitor bitcoin exchanges. Also in Texas, the itBit exchange has experienced their own obstacles with recent government regulations.

Another bitcoin exchange which has done a similar pivot in the bitcoin-sphere has been Circle. In September of last year, Circle announced that you can hold U.S. Dollars in addition to bitcoin using their service. Giving the appearance to the general user-base that they are using fiat money, but the platform is being powered by bitcoin. Circle recently expanded to the U.K., and partnered with Barclays, making Circle the first digital currency firm to receive an e-money license from the UK Financial Conduct Authority, which enables the company to hold pound sterling, facilitate consumer and business payments, run a currency exchange and move British pounds globally.

As Safello looks to also expand and broaden their user-base, they are still encountering challenges along the way. Schuil also said “it is interesting that we were able to enter a commercial relationship on a project with Barclays to build a proof of concept bitcoin payments service, having come through their accelerator, yet Barclays could not open company bank accounts for us.”

Tags in this story
bitcoin exchanges, Fintech, Frank Schuil, Internet, Safello
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David Shares

David is a writer, researcher, and developer who is passionate about bitcoin and blockchain. He writes for Bitcoin.com, Blockchain.com, and is the founder of Bitcoinx.io (which was acquired by Bitcoin.com). David previously used to write and curate for Myspace and has worked in the fintech and payments space for over 15 years.