I’m Co-founder and CEO of Bitrefill, the leading service for converting bitcoin into prepaid phone airtime. On a global scale more than 70 % of people use prepaid plans for their mobile phones and other services. This makes prepaid phone credits one of the most used types of digital currency in the world.
We believe that in order for Bitcoin to be usable as a global currency it needs to be able to pay for analog goods and services all over the world, so we started with the biggest one - the mobile phone. Our service connects over 500 carriers in currently 139 countries all over the world, and allows users to cash out their bitcoin to pay their (and other people’s) bills. Last month we has orders coming in from 69 different countries.
We were part of Tribe 5 of the Boost.vc Bitcoin accelerator this spring.
Before doing this I’ve been involved in several other startups, most notably co-founded Rabble, the leading local deals service here in Sweden.
Ask me almost anything!
I highly doubt any of the today known altcoins will be a competitor to bitcoin in 5 years.Which digital currency (litecoin,dogecoin, peercoin etc) do you think will be the biggest competitor to bitcoin in 5 years
It was a great deal for us.My question is, what do you think about the BoostVC process? Any suggestions for startups that may be thinking about applying for BoostVC?
It's very different from other accelerators. You live and work 24/7 with other entrepreneurs that do similar things that you do. That helps a LOT. And, frankly just getting office and accommodation in Silicon Valley is worth a lot as well, at least if you're not from there. And it's small enough that you still get attention (unlike unmentioned factory accelerators that do 100 startups at a time). All in all it's been great, totally worth it, but obviously everyone should make their own decision. If you're thinking of applying then do it, applying can never hurt, and didn't take much time!
Sure, we have lots of users in Poland, and also in Germany, France, Spain, UK, Romania and many more.When I went to Poland I remember a lot of people using prepaid phones, is this service popular in the EU?
My first contact was in 2011, when Rick Falkvinge, Swedish pirate party leader announced he'd invested his life savings into it. I was very busy with a startup then so didn't have time to read up on it, but I bought 100€ worth of BTC just for fun. In 2013 when it was time to "dig up" that BTC it forced me to read up on things, how it worked, how the industry worked etc. Then I was hooked, and it's been Bitcoin almost full time for me for two years: studying, building, consulting.How did you first hear about Bitcoin?
The concept of decentralized money, that a bunch of anonymous people over the internet (who might as well be liars and crooks) can achieve consensus about something as important as money balances. It's fascinating. And it's still fascinating today. And of course the thought of what could be built when financial innovation no longer depends on the banks, when money can flow over the internet etc.What first attracted you to it?
Are you still attracted for the same reasons today?
Still same things that drive me today, guess the difference in my view is that I've gotten more pragmatic - gotten to know it's qualities and limitations that exist today. I always try to work on things that can work today, which is technologically less exciting than things that "may" work in the future, but it's very exciting to see things being used by people here and now.
To my knowledge we're the only Bitcoin service available in a lot of countries (basically anywhere that doesn't yet have an exchange), and it's extremely interesting to learn what people in different countries are actually using bitcoin for.
We don't currently publish that number other than to investors and potential investors.If you don't mind sharing, how many orders do you process each month?
Truth be told I think that there needs to be more openness in the industry regarding these things, especially on the side of "the big guys" with $10M+ in venture funding who don't currently publish any real usage numbers (active users or transaction volume). Until they publish their usage metrics numbers from us smaller players are going to be irrelevant and hard to interpret.