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SnapCard's Founders Talk Bitcoin Volatility and Early Adopters

(@danielcawrey) | Published on December 18, 2013 at 12:10 GMT

San Fransico-based startup snapCard was founded earlier this year by Michael Dunworth and Ioannis Giannaros, with the aim to make bitcoin an everyday, liquid currency.

The Boost-funded company provides a service which lets bitcoin enthusiasts shop online with their cryptocurrency. It promotes itself as: "The easiest way to buy anything on the Internet using bitcoin."

In their interview with CoinDesk, Dunworth and Giannaros discuss e-commerce, the holiday season and how early adopters have fuelled the company’s recent success.

What is snapCard?

Michael Dunworth: SnapCard is a simple way for people to buy things online using their bitcoins. It helps make merchants aware of the demand from the bitcoin community for merchants to start accepting bitcoin. So that’s what we do. We are basically a facility where people can go and place orders with all the major websites, so that they can start spending their bitcoin.

Are we talking about the United States or Globally?

Ioannis Giannaros: Right now it’s globally. We’ve shipped out products to Germany and the UK.

So there’s no actual “card” as the snapCard name suggests. You’re more of a “cart”?

IG: Yeah. So, essentially you can go on all of these websites, add products into your snapCard account and press 'purchase'. In the back end, we send you an invoice within 20 minutes. After that, you pay the invoice (in BTC) and we process the order.

Let’s talk about the back end. Does this work with only certain shopping carts?

IG: It’s a bookmarklet that overlays every single site. Obviously, we can’t get all sites perfect. But I think we’re doing a pretty good job making alterations to work with all the sites.

Does it use JavaScript?

MD: Yeah, it’s a JavaScript-based bookmarklet.

Are you using Coinbase or BitPay for this?

IG: There’s two options. You can attach your Coinbase account and it automatically debits your account. Or, as an alternative, a lot of people wanted an invoice option. They wanted to see the transaction fees and our 2% fee. Sometimes (customers) want to see how it breaks down. We send them an invoice, they see the breakdown and then they pay with a QR code address. We use BitPay for the order processing for that.

Do you know when your time at Boost ends? When will you be pitching?

IG: The first week of February. And that’s going to be exciting, all the companies in here are super cool, they’re doing super awesome stuff. The weekly metrics are very, very impressive. Obviously, ours are pretty high right now, just because of the holiday season. But we have options. We have different ideas on how to maintain in the future.

How are you going to do that? Because you’re riding a good wave right now. What are you going to do when there’s the hangover in January?

IG: We have some options. Definitely some referral programs to keep momentum going. And just expanding marketing. We are pretty confident we can maintain steady growth.

MD: The thing that’s going to happen is that the growth is going to shift. The userbase will grow, but the dollar amount might not so much. So, while the spending will decrease once the holidays end, the userbase will grow. So I think that retaining our current position is not unattainable.

You guys are coming into this at a time when the price is going up. How do you think bitcoin's volatility could affect you?

MD: I don’t think it’s going to have that much of an impact, to be honest.

IG: Not at the moment.

MD: It’s not going to affect early bitcoin adopters. If they go to buy a computer with bitcoin, and bitcoin was at $1,300, and now it’s at $950, they are still only going to be paying 1.5 BTC or 1 BTC.

So the price, even if it dips a lot, isn't going to affect early adopters. It may affect the new people who just bought in at around $300 or something like that.

But the very early adopters, which is sort of the type of people we have on board (as snapCard customers), those people are not so much affected by these minor swings.

So you have a bunch of early bitcoin adopters as customers?

IG: From their spending habits, it seems like they are. I’ll be completely frank, we have over 950 active users right now, and I believe that the majority of them were early adopters.

MD: We’ve not been promoting it, but sort of spreading word that we exist through the reddit bitcoin community. Reddit, along with Bitcoin Talk, are at the forefront of what’s going on.

IG: That CoinDesk article about us helped as well.

Shopping image via Shutterstock

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