What’s wrong with world trade ?
We’ve heard it all before: the laments about losses to volatile fluctuations of foreign exchange rates. Companies investing in foreign exchange currencies have lost millions due to price instability and fluctuations no matter the currency. There’s no avoiding the risk, be it the USD, euros or Swiss Franc.
When Bitcoins give hope !
Whilst it may seem as though speculators and traders are sailing close to the wind, the start-up company Coinapult in Panama proposes a viable solution that allows you to seal your Bitcoins to your favorite currency thanks to a programme called Locks.
Bitcoins, a new revolutionary financial tool built in 2009, are a digitally designed currency. It’s not a physical, tangible currency but can be traced back to transaction records from Bitcoin addresses.
Coinapult has been crazy about further developing this innovation and making Bitcoins more accessible to small businesses in developing countries around the world. This was the basis for creating the start-up.
The CEO, Ira Miller, shares with us his adventure of bringing this invention to the Caribbean as an entrepreneur.
“You can think of Coinapult as a Bitcoin wallet which is basically a system that helps customers to send and receive Bitcoins via sms and emails,” Ira explains.
The company actually started in Colorado and grew up in NYC until we got to a turning point where we wanted to focus on providing foreign entrepreneurs and small businesses with the tools to grow their business. Locks is one of our services that allows users to tie their Bitcoins to their favorite currency. For instance, Locks could help you secure your Bitcoins as 500 euros so the volatile fluctuations in the value of the euro will not affect you.
But why Panama? When asked about choosing Panama as the set up location for his company, Miller mentioned sharing a special relationship with the country.
“We had a short list of countries with which we were interested in doing business. Panama was the best option for us at the time because we had strong ties with the country. We had a large network effect. Today, we have 12 employees some of whom are Panamanian.” Ira explains.
Starting off as a budding entrepreneur – an uphill journey?
You have an idea. It’s sexy, innovative, revolutionary and is the solution to many problems but, how do you start? Although the prevalence of start-up incubators lends a lot of support, entrepreneurs still face an uphill battle in a somewhat resource constrained world.
In Ira’s case at Coinapult, his incubator was his basement. Ira Miller believes that being an entrepreneur means that you go out on your own. Moreover, Coinapult was not his first business either : he has failed and learnt a lot from many previous mistakes and endeavours.
However, whenever or whatever you start off with, being positive and taking calculated risks are two of the key elements of successfully building a company.
Technology and software development – the cornerstone of startups
No matter the size of the company or the type of business, technology and software development are also necessary ingredients to creating a successful company. Panama has a population of about 3 million people but, thanks to the expansiveness and limitless possibilities of the internet and technology, Coinapult was able to go beyond and reach out globally to other customers.
Moreover, since the economy in Panama is exploding with more small businesses like restaurants and fewer companies seeking to provide services internationally, Coinapult was able to make its mark more easily.
“There are many parallels between the creation of the internet and Bitcoin. These industries were built from scratch,” sales and business development manager, Gabe Sukenik comments. “So, you have to be extremely convincing to make your customers believe in and buy something that never existed before. That’s what we had to do at Coinapult.”
Inspiration to grow business
Satoshi Nakamoto and John D Rockefeller are some of the figures that Miller and Sukenik look up to.
“I really admire people who build an industry in the same way that John D. Rockefeller built the market for the oil industry and Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin,” Ira stated. “This was pretty impressive.”
“If Silicon Valley works it’s because of a very active, vibrant network of people working in tandem,” - Ira Miller