Internationally, Bitcoin exchanges such as meXBT serve as a key gateway for the growing flow of Bitcoin remittances. A vast majority of remittance flows out of the United States head south to Mexico and other Latin American countries. Even as I type, new Bitcoin exchanges are springing up all across the world in places such as Kenya. In the last few months alone, new exchanges have opened in the Caribbean and Colombia as well. Here at Bitcorati, I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Joel Cano, the Chief Operating Officer of meXBT, one of the premiere Bitcoin exchange for the Americas. The men and women behind the Bitcoin startups outside of the United States are the ones to watch, in my opinion.
Bitcorati Interview with Bitcoin Exchange meXBT COO Joel Cano
What are some of meXBT’s near-term goals for expansion in Latin America?
For us Latin America is a our long term goal since the inception of the company. We choose Mexico as the first market to develop in the region and we expect to open at least one more operation in the second half of 2015.
What do you think about Ecuador’s “digital currency?”
It is not clear they will ever create a cryptographic currency. They have recently announced the implementation of a centralized “electronic money” system more like mPesa.This type of technology has more than 10 years in operation, we believe the history has shown that innovation comes from Startups and Entrepreneurs and the Financial Services will not be the exception.
How is the Mexican Bitcoin community?
It is still dominated by early adopters and entrepreneurs. But the interest of media and general public is increasing at an accelerated phase.
Are remittances between America and Latin America a big part of your operations?
For us remittances is an important part of our long term strategy, the opportunity is evident for the Mexico and Central America corridors with the United States. We believe that creative ways of mitigating volatility and integrating with the existing electronic money and payment processing networks are key to massive adoption and validating that is our main focus today.
Do you feel that the regulatory climate for Bitcoin will change in the coming year? How?
We are positive on the fact that the benefits and increasing adoption will motivate regulators and governments to balance the need of protecting the end customer and continue promoting the innovation.
Do you think that those living outside of the “first world” have different motivations for pursuing the furtherance of digital currencies and decentralization?
Yes, the solutions required for educated and highly penetrated markets using sophisticated financial services are very different where a third or less have experienced and trusted electronics forms of money. Local players have a much better chance of understanding the needs of the unserved markets and will have faster time to market and more localized innovations.
How has digital currency and technology personally helped your life?
I have always been involved in very early stages of technologies, I am an early adopter by definition, but also I am a marketer by training. The most valuable experience is to travel from the technological fascination to pragmatic understanding of value and impact of technology in our day to day lives.
What is your favorite quote?
Bill Gates: “…it is a Technological Tour de Force”
When and how did you first hear about Bitcoin?
It was in June of 2011, I was reading a news feed about someone who was robbed half a million dollars worth of Bitcoin, Two things struck me from the note I have read, first the amount but second was the fact that the person robbed used the handle “allinvain”.
When did you first decide to dedicate time to digital currencies; how much of your time do you dedicate?
I attended one of the first meetups organized in Mexico in Oct 2013 for a few hours.
What is one piece of advice that you have for those around the world that might be aspiring to do what you do?
Focus more on the Bit and less on the Coin….
How has the world been changed by this new technology?
We have been given a technological solution where there may not be a trade off between Equality and Efficiency. We now need to learn how to leverage on that.
How do you think the world will be changed by this new technology?
It will make possible to see the entire 7+ billion population as consumers and entrepreneurs.
Thank you Joel and meXBT for your time and answers. Often times, Americans forget that countries just miles away are desperately in need of financial services. Of course, this isn’t too surprising when you consider the persistent un-banked population even within America’s borders. Bitcoin and cryptocurrency technology will change the world for the better by bringing the outdated financial system to the 21st century.