An interesting study has shown that Bitcoin users from all around the world face trouble when it comes down to finding the perfect exchange which is willing to exchange Bitcoin to other currencies and vice versa for a good price. We have recently carried out an interview with Rick Day, who happens to be the owner of iGot exchange- a great choice for those who are seeking good rates, a great interface and professional customer support.
To start things off, what got you into Bitcoin? What was the one thing which made you say ‘I have to try this out’?
I heard about Bitcoin in 2010. I thought it had a future. One thing that got me was the speed. But at the same time buying Bitcoin was a very cumbersome process back then. Then in 2013 when the value went up so much, I truly wanted to do something and offer a service that would make buying Bitcoin easier.
Was your site, iGot exchange an investment? If yes, what made you pick Bitcoin trading from all other possibilities?
iGot is bootstrapped for the most part. I wanted to offer a service that was easier to use. Mt Gox was the only exchange back then I thought we could do much better than those guys in terms of making it easier to buy bitcoin and overall customer experience.
Were you one of the lucky ones with Bitcoins stored when the prices went up all the way? (-$1200)
Yes, I was one of the lucky one who had some Bitcoin at that price point, but did not sell it.
As I am a big believer of Bitcoin, I am more interested in the future of Bitcoin than short term price speculation to be honest.
What is your overall mission with the site and the firm?
- Eyeing the remittance market:
iGot is actively eyeing the global remittance market. Bitcoin has a great use case to send money across the border. It is much faster, much cheaper, and much cleaner. No one likes to wait for their funds. When someone transfers money, they want to see the transaction through right away. Bitcoin makes that possible.
In 2012, over 500 Billion Dollars were sent across the borders worldwide. Some $47 Billion were collected in fees alone. World Bank estimates that as much as 60% of cross border transactions were carried physically. Bitcoin offers to solve this problem and iGot plans to use this tool to make global transfers much easier.
iGot also offers ‘Global Transfer’ service that uses Bitcoin as the backbone. We’re present in 40+ countries with local banking relationship. For verified accounts, we’re able to allow our users to send money from country A to B using igot and the Bitcoin network.
We’re the only exchange in UAE and the biggest one in India (by trade volumes).
UAE to India remittance corridor is the second highest in remittance market. Given our presence in both countries, we see lots of activity there already.
For us, remittance market is potentially a $3 Billion market waiting to be tapped.
- Core offering:
One of iGot’s core offerings right now is buying and selling Bitcoin. We will continue to pursue that. We see steady growth here and continue to grow nearly 30% month over month.
- Other services that we actively provide (Pay Bills and Rent with Bitcoin, and Merchant Feature):
We continue to introduce new features to iGot to attract not only the seasoned Bitcoin traders, but also everyday people who may have heard about Bitcoin but want to use it with ease and for something other than just speculating. Our Pay your Bill and Pay your Rent with Bitcoin feature has performed really well in the Australian market. We will roll it out to other markets as well.
We’re in process of launching merchant feature for retailers around the world to accept Bitcoin. With flat rate of 0.50% per transaction, we expect this to perform very well in Australia, India, and UAE.
Indian ecommerce has soared in the past 5 years and we are in process of integrating some big names there to accept Bitcoin as payment method. Companies like Flipkart (raised $700M this past year), Amazon, eBay, and many more are very active there and it makes sense for Indian ecommerce to start accepting Bitcoin. We want to be their obvious choice in the local market to accept Bitcoin.
Where do you see yourself and iGot exchange in the next 5 years?
I’d like to think that we become one of the biggest global players in the next 5 years.
There is definitely a market for Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies and we will continue to introduce relevant features to our platform for mass audience, who are not yet using Bitcoin in any way at all.
How big is your team at this moment in time?
We’re 12 team members at this time. The team keeps growing as our exchange grows.
Does your legal team have a hard time when it comes down to dealing with the regulations?
Compliance issues in different jurisdictions are complex. It is not exactly walk in the park for our legal team but authorities so far have been very helpful and open about Bitcoin and that helps a lot.
As you may know, Coinbase is currently registered in around 40 states. Based on the fact that state registration as a money transmitter is both expensive, but also hard to get, do you plan on registering iGot in all 50 states?
Regulatory requirements in US are expensive and a very cumbersome process. Our plan is to launch in the US in due course. We will have all the relevant licenses in place. We may roll out slowly to begin with.
Have you ever thought about quitting once a problem appeared within the team or with the site?
Not at all. We’re in this for the long haul. Our team is young, passionate, and big believer of Bitcoin ecosystem. We’re a start-up in a start-up industry. Of course there are teething problems associated with the industry itself, but that’s no reason to quit.
Based on your experience so far, who controls the Bitcoin price? Is it the users and their buying power or is there something more to this?
For more part the users control the pricing. Every now and then you see a really big user who buys or sells and disrupts the market price. Exchanges play some role too without a doubt.
Around how often do you find yourself using the coin to pay for things outside the Internet?
I try and shop, dine, fly, and stay where Bitcoin is accepted as often as I can. We pay 75% of our salaries in Bitcoin too.
If you could make a guess, do you think that the Bitcoin price will continue to fluctuate @ the $230 value, or is a big increase like the one in 2014 bound to happen all over again?
My guess would be that it will either settle around $200 mark or go up to $260. Prices are waiting to swing one or the other way. It has been around $230 / $240 mark too long. But don’t take my word for it. It’s my personal opinion!
What are our thoughts on Bitcoin used in illegal activities? Should there be laws regulating this important aspect? Should suspicious activity be marked by wallet providers?
Most legitimate exchanges are already doing what’s right, legal, and lawful. We collect KYC, we employ compliance officers to help us detect money laundering, and suspicious user behaviour too. I think some regulatory body looking over the industry is going to be a good thing. As far as illegal activities are concerned, Bitcoin is not the problem. Cash is!
If yes, what would define suspicious activity?
I can’t give that away! But there are some 50+ check points at our exchange alone.
Have you ever purchased something valuable in the offline environment with the help of Bitcoin? (a car for example)
No, but I attempted to sell my house for Bitcoin. Unfortunately, I had to settle for fiat.
Do you see your exchange being used by millions of Bitcoin enthusiasts?
Hopefully! Would I like that? Of course! I am optimistic we will get closer soon.
What would be the ideal Bitcoin price in your opinion?
I think $265 to $300 would be ideal price point.
Should banks go ahead and start offering customers Bitcoin accounts?
They can’t even they wanted to. The regulatory requirements for banks and financial risks are way too big for them to open Bitcoin accounts and let users save Bitcoin. Lack of clear regulations is another reason why banks won’t touch it yet.
How do you protect the privacy of your customers on iGot?
Thank you very much, Rick. This brings an end to our interview.
Based on everything that has been outlined so far, we can clearly see that Bitcoin exchanges are more secure than we have previously thought. Additionally, people just like Rick can easily find ways to use it in the online environment as well. With this factor in mind, the growth of exchanges like iGot will not only encourage more and more people to buy and use Bitcoin, but it’ll also encourage companies to start accepting and granting payments in the cryptocurrency.