The Cryptonomist interviewed the leader of Bitcoin ATMs in Italy, Chainblock, in the person of CEO and co-founder Federico Pecoraro, to talk with him about the development of the sector in 2020 and what we can expect from next year.
Italians like to buy mostly Bitcoin. Altcoins like Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash are bought to a small extent. Those who approach the world of virtual currencies for the first time are mainly attracted by Bitcoin’s more than ten-year history and characteristics. Let’s say that in our experience, the dominance of bitcoin is largely confirmed by the preferences of Italian users.
Why do you think crypto ATMs are becoming more and more successful?
In my opinion ATM satisfies the need for simplicity, security and immediacy, which are the basic requirements for an upcoming mass adoption of virtual currencies. Let’s not forget that today, except for in-person exchanges, the ATM is the only way to buy cryptocurrencies through cash. We are digitizing currency!
In your opinion is Bitcoin therefore a method of payment?
On this topic we open a controversial scenario: on the one hand Bitcoin can be identified as a store of value, the gold of tomorrow i.e. an accumulation asset. On the other hand it represents the first real global currency that thanks to its technology allows very low transaction costs.
In my opinion, today it can not yet be considered a real method of payment, because the market today does not allow it and therefore does not officially recognize it …. the baker at home does not allow me to buy bread with crypto … but after all we must remember that, until yesterday, this was not allowed even with credit cards!
Chainblock’s mission is also to sensitize people to a more „digital“ use of currencies, if we have moved from cash to the use of credit cards, we have laid the groundwork to think we can move from these to crypto … we work for this!
What would need to be improved in the crypto world to have greater adoption?
Paradoxically, and in fact contrary to the very culture of blockchain, one of the main problems is to get the concept of trust across: just as today users trust banks, tomorrow they will have to learn to trust crypto companies. The financial world is changing fast and this will increasingly determine the obligation to „be digital“ also in the use of money. The crypto world on its part should make itself more visible and less extremist, to give more accessibility to everyone and not be a „world for few“.
Why did you decide to have your headquarters in Italy since the regulation is not very clear on crypto?
From the beginning we were aware that having our registered office in Italy could have exposed us to greater risks: financial, regulatory and competitive, which naturally result from an ecosystem that is still immature, in which an unclear regulation, perhaps timid and certainly still being defined, does not allow a crypto company to fully express the potential that blockchain technology could ensure to its users.
However, this choice was made precisely to support our desire to legitimize ourselves in the Italian market and in the eyes of the institutions. We are aware that it is an uphill road, but we work daily to be recognized by the „system“ and we do not intend to shirk the comparison.
Why did you decide to add Bitcoin Cash to your ATM? Have you received a positive response to this introduction?
The introduction of Bitcoin Cash was desired to increasingly expand the choice of crypto available on our services. But also the possibility to buy DAI, which is perhaps less newsworthy, should not be underestimated, because it is an option that, in fact, „digitizes“ the fiat currency of our users.
What are your goals for 2021? Will you be adding more cryptos?
Chainblock’s goals for 2021 are definitely to expand our network of ATMs in the territory, to make the service more accessible and affordable for everyone. Anyone should have the possibility, if they want, to easily go to an ATM and buy bitcoin.
There is no need of complex operations, registrations, risks of cyber attacks to approach the world of cryptocurrency. And it does not have to be done by investing large amounts of capital. We want to spread this culture, offering this possibility and betting on the difficult terrain of cash.
And we want to do it in full compliance with the rules. In addition, we will focus on the expansion of the online platform, Chainblock Buy, for the purchase and sale of virtual currencies through bank transfer.