Universal Bitcoin Exchange

http://www.localbitcoins.com

Localbitcoins.com has easily been the most pervasive Bitcoin Exchange of 2012. A Plug and Play system which allows for Face to Face or Local area transactions.

Localbitcoins.com comes with an inbuilt Escrow, multi-factor authentication and an inbuilt wallet. Built on GPS technology, this nifty service tracks the location of users who wish to buy and sell Bitcoin.

I was fortunate to catch up with Jeremias Kangas (Chief of Localbitcoins) for a quick interview on his initiatives for Bitcoin.

Interview with Jeremias Kangas @kangasbros

 

Jeremias Kangas

Tell me a bit about yourself. Where are you from? What was the tipping point for you to get involved in Bitcoin? How big is your team?

I’m from Finland, been programming since I was a kid. I first heard about Bitcoin on november 2010, just before I went backpacking to India for a month. After that I started working on various bitcoin projects as a hobby, and soon noticed that it is consuming 90% of my time. Then I decided to go full-time retard on Bitcoin, move on from my previous work. Now I’m trying to make a living as a bitcoin entrepreneur 🙂

Our team consists of me, my brother and couple of part-time freelancers. My brother is currently doing a master thesis at university, so I have loads of work trying to keep this going forward! I hope my brother completes his thesis quickly 🙂

Do you think that Bitcoin is ready for the mass adoption and use? If No, Why not? If Yes, How can it spread faster?

I personally believe in solving the scaling problems as they come. Engineers tend to overstress scaling issues, even when they aren’t a real problem yet. Look at twitter, for example – it was constant failwhale when the site was becoming popular, still the concept succeeded pretty heavily.

I think the best marketing strategy for Bitcoin is to market it towards startups and innovative small companies. I have been myself doing this kind of promotion in the finnish startup scene. I’m pretty sure that soon we will be seeing startups popping up around bitcoin like mushrooms!

Big companies tend to be conservative and slow, and one of Bitcoin’s strengths lies in enabling new kind of business models. This is the reason why I believe that startups will bring the change faster.

I see that you are involved in several Bitcoin projects. Would you be able to give us a short summary of all the initiatives that you are working on.

– LocalBitcoins.com – our main effort currently, and probably the most known project

– Django-bitcoin – open source bitcoin library for the django web framework – https://github.com/kangasbros/django-bitcoin

– Easywallet.org – started as an instawallet clone, now has lots of different features that make it quite distinct

– Acceptbit.com – developed as a joint venture with Stefan Thomas in Berlin bitcoin hackathon (weusecoins.com) – https://github.com/kangasbros/electrumpos

– Bitcoin/payments-hackathon – Have been organizing these events in Finland and once in Berlin. The idea is a weekend of completing some Bitcoin-related project, and publishing it. I really like this kind of “hacker events”.

As Localbitcoins is a well known site, any future plans of adding an international online exchange as well?

We are doing tools for those who want to do online trade as well. However not traditional order-book-based exchange. More like a toolset for setting up a fixed-rate online exchange – allow anyone to setup fixed-rate online exchange in any country, with any payment methods! That is the vision anyway, let’s see how it will look in practice.

We just recently released this “escrow” feature in localbitcoins. It basically tries to automate the selling process, making it both safe, efficient and quick for both participants. We have been getting some good feedback, and plan working on the concept based on how people use the feature etc.

Any road map for 2013? Any partnerships envisioned?

I will be working 24/7 on everything bitcoin related, but localbitcoins will be the main focus. No partnerships yet, however we are open to any ideas.

Any thoughts on Bitcoin in India?

I love India! Have been backbacking there couple of times. I think bitcoin would be much more revolutionary in country like India, than for example country like Finland. Some things:

– When I was traveling there, smaller shops had often change problems. Bitcoin could solve this in the future 🙂

– Online bookings (hostels, trains, etc) were pain in the ass, I never got my international visa working. Bitcoin could help with this as well.

– I’ve heard India has nowadays more and more native, born-global startups, and there is strong startup movement emerging. Bitcoin could be really the technology to get Indian startups off the ground! Cost-effective way to pivot your product on global marketplace.

I hope that I will be able to do my next backpacking trip to India with Bitcoin! 🙂

Localbitcoins.com is the most recommended Exchange in India right now. This has enabled a lot of trades and people get onboard every day.

Wishing everyone a Happy and prosperous 2013 and hopes of effective solutions to enable the permeation of Bitcoin into our everyday lives.

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