Amagi Metals took the bitcoin community by surprise this August when it broke ranks with even its more progressive peers in the precious metals space to boldly announce it would stop accepting the US dollar as a payment method by 2017.
Speaking to CoinDesk, Macaskill framed the gradual rollout of this initiative as one that will simply take time given Amagi's need to convince key partners such as mints and dealer networks to accept payment in bitcoin. Further, Macaskill affirmed that bitcoin has had a profound impact on not just his business, but on his perspective about life itself.
The 26-year-old entrepreneur told CoinDesk:
"A few years ago I was very pessimistic, but bitcoin has definitely changed that for me. Looking at the financial situation of the US, we have an enormous amount of debt. We're closing in on $18tn in debt, the dollar is controlled by a monopoly and they want to make their constituents happy and they printing dollars into infinity, devaluing it."
Given these realities, Macaskill suggested that a large financial meltdown may soon occur. To Macaskill, the world isn't far away from some type of cataclysm, to be followed by a period of mass protests, riots and extreme poverty. In this light, Macaskill sees bitcoin as a conservative business decision, one that positions his business to not just thrive, but survive.
"I'd rather be safe than sorry. I'd rather lose a little business sooner than later than end up with a lot of worthless paper which can't even buy me a loaf of bread," Macaskill added.
Flash of inspiration
Some more skeptical readers may not be surprised to know that Macaskill came up with the idea to stop accepting US dollars at roughly 3 am.
But for Macaskill, that's when he estimates he made the decision to drop the dollar for good, saying:
"I just woke up and I thought, 'You know, this is the way we're headed', and I was thinking about when we are going to transition and said I think it's going to be in the next 5–10 years."
To date, he said he's received a lot of positive feedback for his decision from friends, family and the wider cryptocurrency community. Still, he has since added one caveat to his company's earlier announcement, suggesting the US dollar can still win his business back.
"If the [government] decides to back the dollar with a cryptocurrency, then we'd be more than happy to continue accepting it after 2016," he joked.
Client and customer reaction
Despite the potential challenges posed by operating a business without any fiat revenue, Macaskill is confident that, even if the move sounds unsustainable now, it won't seem that way by 2017. Macaskill told CoinDesk that he's already speaking to vendors and suppliers, laying the groundwork for them to join the bitcoin ecosystem.
Macaskill said his business partners are interested in bitcoin and hold a positive view regarding the moves Amagi Metals has made, even if they're not ready to begin accepting bitcoin now.
"That's part of the reason why we can't switch to bitcoin immediately, because we have suppliers that only accept USD," he said.
Macaskill also acknowledged that not all Amagi customers have been happy about his decision to drop fiat. Still, he sees these individuals representing just a small part of his customer base. His employees are also enthusiastic about the decision, and by 2017 their salaries will be paid in bitcoin, said Macaskill.
"I'm pretty sure they all hold bitcoin. I'm not entirely sure, but I know they're all pretty big fans."
Faith in sound money
Even within the wider precious metals industry, Macaskill framed himself as a bit of an anomaly. Despite the bold moves made by both his company and competitors like Agora Commodities and Provident Metals, he said technological sophistication is in short supply in the gold industry.
"There are still gold dealers today who don't know how to use an email address," he said.
Macaskill, by contrast, has been a lifelong Internet entrepreneur. He began his first business venture, Amagi Clothing, in college, before eventually buying an online precious metals company a fellow student had started.
His belief in bitcoin makes more sense when you consider the boon it has provided to Amagi so far. At one point, Amagi Metals was the largest retail business in the digital currency space, and to date, it's processed more than $10m in bitcoin business. By 2013, when many major merchants had yet to hear about the technology, the company was processing $20,000–$40,000 a day in bitcoin sales.
Whatever the detractors say, Macaskill believes the future is bright for both his company and the world, even if the US dollar's days are numbered.
Though he still fears the worst about the future of the American currency, he's now confident that the world would be able to recover, even from a large-scale economic catastrophe. The key reason for this, he says, is bitcoin.
"With bitcoin, we now have a stable currency that's starting to gain adoption around the world and I think that it's going to replace the dollar in my lifetime, if not bitcoin at least another cryptocurrency."
With this in mind, he added: "I am extremely optimistic about the future, not just for myself but for the world."