I (Serge) recently had the honor and privilege to interview Radoslav Albrecht, Founder of Bitbond; during which I asked his opinion on Bitcoin, digital currency and the Bitbond project. Mr. Albrecht gave us some interesting insights into his personality, his thoughts and how he views the world of economics we live in right now.
Serge: Can you tell us a bit about yourself? When did you get interested in Bitcoin?
Radoslav Albrecht: I have a background in economics and have been working for Deutsche Bank London and Roland Berger Strategy Consultants previously to starting Bitbond. I first heard of Bitcoin in early 2012 when a friend of mine told me about it. At the beginning I didn’t really understand it but I thought that there is something to it. So I took some time to read about and to try bitcoin. After I while I started to believe that Bitcoin has a great potential to be the basis for a revolution in financial services. Since I was particularly interested in online lending I came to think that bitcoin is the platform to make international lending possible.
Serge: Can you explain what Bitbond means to you?
Radoslav Albrecht: Bitbond means a lot to me. I honestly believe that we can achieve great things with Bitbond and that it can help many people to improve their lives. Access to capital is a crucial part of economic prosperity. In large parts of the world small businesses don’t have any means to get an affordable loan to grow their business. This is either because they don’t have a bank account or because banks don’t serve this segment. We have many borrowers from Latin America and Asia. These are often regions where we are the only viable option to get a loan. We are proud to serve these markets.
The same applies to the lenders. When individuals don’t have access to profitable investment opportunities, saving money doesn’t make any sense. If you don’t have a bank account and need to put your savings under your mattress, inflation actually destroys your capital base. The same applies to the extremely low interest rate environment in many western countries today. When there are no profitable fixed income investments available, people save less which creates a shortage of capital for businesses. The whole economic cycle suffers from this. With Bitbond we want to help solve these problems.
Serge: According to your expertise, what were the three most difficult moments in Bitbond’s creation and development?
Radoslav Albrecht: The biggest challenges as I would frame it were:
1. Getting a good team together. It’s always people who make great products. To find those who have the right expertise and at the same time are enthusiastic about a project was the hardest part. It also continues to be a constant challenge as we keep hiring.
2. Finding an early stage investor that understands our business and is willing to go this exciting journey with us. We’re happy to have Point Nine Capital and Nelson Holzner on board who deliver a lot of value beyond just providing equity to our company.
3. At the beginning the technology itself was a big challenge, too. There were virtually no developers around who have built a P2P lending platform based on bitcoin before. Therefore we had to figure out many parts completely on our own and needed to redo some parts along the way to make it scalable.
Serge: I know a lot of people that want to lend some, if not all, of their Bitcoins in worthwhile projects. Can anyone lend some of their Bitcoins to a project or do people have to commit to the entire sum?
Radoslav Albrecht:Yes, anyone can lend to borrowers. The minimum investment amount per loan is just 0.01 BTC, therefore it’s not a requirement to fund an entire loan. You can start with fairly small amounts. It’s actually rather the norm that one borrower gets funded by multiple lenders. We even recommend to take smaller amounts and to distribute them over many loans as outlined in our 5 principles of bitcoin lending.
Serge: We’ve done an article about Bitbond and their presentation at one of the Finovate’s Group most prestigious conference in Europe called Finovate Europe. What does this mean for Bitbond? Do you think that this acceptance is a sign that people in the Finance sector are a bit more open to worthwhile business ventures that use Bitcoin?
Radoslav Albrecht: Yes, absolutely. I actually think the majority of people who work in traditional financial services are very curious if not excited about bitcoin. In my experience the main problem is that the big players have doubts if it makes sense for them from a business perspective to start providing digital currency related services at this point already. Despite that, there is a lot of interest from the finance sector about everything that is going on around bitcoin and other digital currencies.
Serge: Since you will also be representing Bitcoin in a sense at the Finovate Europe conference, what will this conference mean for Bitcoin?
Radoslav Albrecht: I hope that people will get excited about bitcoin as a platform for innovative financial services. To this date people still primarily talk about bitcoin as an asset and about its price. But the really interesting part about bitcoin is its use in remittances, payments, lending and block chain applications. I hope that our demo helps to direct more attention towards these innovations.
Serge: What do you think about Bitcoin in general? Is Bitcoin a better solution than current systems or do you think Bitcoin will be replaced by something better eventually?
Radoslav Albrecht: A new technology will only replace the status quo if it’s significantly superior compared to the current solution. An incremental improvement is not enough to cover switching costs. I think that bitcoin is sufficiently better so that it can replace large parts of today’s financial services infrastructure. At the same time I don’t believe that altcoins will gain much popularity beyond very specific use cases for which they might be tailored. Even if some altcoins provide improvements over bitcoin, I don’t expect these improvements to be significant enough so that many people will be willing to incur the switching costs from bitcoin based services to an upcoming altcoin. At least I don’t expect this for the next 5 years or so.
Serge: Is there anything you would like to add?
Radoslav Albrecht: I would like to encourage everyone to not only read about bitcoin but to actually try and use it for various purposes like sending money to friends, paying stuff online, lending and borrowing. Only by using bitcoin you will discover its true value. When you like it, ask your friends to use bitcoin as well.
CryptoArticles would like to thank Radoslav Albrecht for taking his time to answer our questions so quickly. We will be keeping an eye on the Bitbond project and its evolution over the next few months.
Website : www.bitbond.com