CoinJar Q&A: “Bitcoin represents the power of choice”

Emily Spaven
Jun 24, 2013 at 12:40 UTC
Updated Aug 22, 2013 at 17:54 UTC

Asher Tan tells us what makes his company – CoinJar – different to other bitcoin wallets and what he believes is the biggest challenge for the digital currency.

CD: Why did you decide to set up CoinJar?
AT: I’ve been working on startup projects for about a year. As much as I would like to take credit for forming the CoinJar team, it really formed itself. All three members were keen to work with each other in one way or another, and bitcoin was the common denominator among us.

Getting accepted in the AngelCube venture accelerator program gave us a great reason to leave our former jobs and undertake this project.

CD: What makes CoinJar different from other bitcoin wallets?
AT: In terms of usability I think we rank highly, we’re probably the best looking wallet around. In addition, being an Australian solution also sets us apart quickly in terms of regional service.

CD: What are your security measures?
AT: Industry standards: The site runs over SSL certificates, hashed passwords, offline (cold) storage, etc. Having been in sticky situations in the past, our team is incredibly cautious (perhaps borderline paranoid) about security.

CD: Do you have an app?
AT: We have an iPhone app that’s coming out soon, followed by Android app soon after. Usability and good design is currently on lacking mobile bitcoin wallets. We are making some inroads into accessible UX.

CD: How many users do you currently have?
AT: We’ve only been in operation for a month with minimal advertising – at this moment we have over 300 users.

CD: What is bitcoin uptake like in Australia?
AT: Bitcoin interest among retailers has been tepid, however enthusiasm among the community is very high.

There are bitcoin Meetup groups in all major Australian cities right now and interest is growing daily. CoinJar believes retailers will quickly adapt once they see bitcoin as a viable means to increase sales.

I think bitcoin represents the power of choice, where people have the ability to transact in alternative medium. Choice is good.

CD: What do you see as being the biggest challenge for bitcoin at the moment?
AT: While bitcoin is technologically fundamentally solid, we’ve been studying what it means in terms of implied cultural identity.

All currency operates on some cultural pretext, and I think bitcoin users are still discovering what it means to use a decentralized currency. We’ve been chatting with an anthropologist in the UK to try and get a better understanding of this.

CD: What next for CoinJar?
AT: We’re looking to be the market leader in the Australia, followed by expansion into other countries.

Have you used CoinJar? If so, let us know what you think of it.

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