Coinapult, Bitstamp, LocalBitcoins, Tradehill and Kipochi discuss bitcoin growth #BTCLondon

NEWS
Elizabeth Machuca
Jul 2, 2013 at 12:45 UTC  |  Updated  Mar 20, 2015 at 15:52 UTC

Some of the rising stars of the bitcoin world that could boost bitcoin adoption in the next few months discussed successes and issues with the community at Bitcoin London today.

"It's not 16-year-olds in basements anymore. Bitcoin is now aiming at corporations and institutions", said Nejc Kodric, CEO of Bitstamp.

Pelle Braendgaard, CTO of  money transfer company Kipochi (a Swahili word that means 'wallet') informed the audience that bitcoin is becoming increasingly popular in the African countries, with almost 100 transactions involving the cryptocurrency each week.

"Our customers are largely African families who live abroad and wish to transfer money to their families. Thefore the popularity is largely encouraged by the African diaspora", he explained.

Braendgaard also announced that his company is testing the SMS method for money wiring in Africa, which will rule out the need for having an internet-connected mobile phone.

"Even those old Nokia mobile phones will be suitable for it and the information will be sent through SMS. We expect it to be launched in a couple of weeks", he said.

The panelists highlighted the profile of the new bitcoin holders, that can vary from "professional miners to people who have had their bank accounts frozen and are looking for alternatives", said Jared Kenna, CEO of Tradehill.

However, this developing world has several challengues on the way, especially in nations like the US with a "ridiculous financial regulatory system", according to Erik Voorhees, from Coinapult.

"Most of the bitcoin innovation will happen outside of the States, because regulation in that country is a problem even for non-US-based companies, as they are asked to be their own police force", he said. "The larger the country is, the harder it is for the currency to be accepted."

For Kenna, the most difficult part for bitcoin companies is dealing with the institutions within the traditional financial system.

However, others are optimistic about it and have had success in talking their way through the banking system.

"Establishing a relationship with the banks wasn't hard. I went to the bank and spoke and I was surprised because they already knew what bitcoin is. I would even dare say they might embrace the currency later on", said Kodric.

The panelists encouraged the London bitcoin community to "go for it" despite regulation issues and don't let that hold them back, as bitcoin is here to stay.

"It's really hard to compete with bitcoin, but if something surpasses the currency it will be because someone came up with something better, but for now it is pretty good", said Voorhees.

View the whole session below:

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