Jay Addison Technical and Media Advisor with CryptoBiz Magazine at Inside Bitcoins Las Vegas interview with Charles Allen. Charles W. Allen, is the Chief Executive Officer of Bitcoin Shop. He is responsible for our overall corporate strategy and direction as well as managing our corporate finances. Mr. Allen is also on the advisory board of GoCoin LLC a leading virtual currency payment processor. Mr. Allen has extensive experience in business strategy, investment banking and capital markets transactions. In addition, he started his career as an engineer in the telecom industry and brings a balance of business and financial leadership and technical proficiency to the Bitcoin Shop Inc. team. Prior to joining Bitcoin Shop Inc. he worked domestically and internationally on projects in technology, media, natural resources, logistics, medical services and financial services. He has served as a Managing Director at numerous boutique investment banks focused on advising and raising capital for small and mid size companies. He received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University and a M.B.A. from the Mason School of Business at the College of William & Mary.
Jay: This Jay Addison for CryptoBiz Magazine. We are live in Las Vegas at Inside Bitcoins Trade Show, and we are here with Charles Allen from bitcoinshop.us. Let’s have an overview of bitcoinshop.us, and the whole program you guys have got, because I know it’s a lot more extensive than we’ve got here in our questionnaire.
Charles: Thanks Jay, so what we’ve got, at bitcoinshop, because we’re basically building a universal digital currency eco-system and, using our e-commerce platform is an on ramp to do that. And on the e-commerce platform side, we’re effectively building the kayak (0:36?) of e-commerce on our new site, which we haven’t launched yet, which we’re very excited about.
Jay: That’s exciting. So, what countries do you currently ship to?
Charles: Right now, we’re just shipping to the US, however, we see a huge opportunity in the international markets – and that is on the drawing boards, but right now it’s just to the US.
Jay: Fantastic. Now, your site currently only accepts Bitcoins, has there been any legal issues around not accepting (0:59?) dollars?
Charles: Not at all, I mean I think in the long run, if I – there’s no legal issues with accepting a dollar versus a Bitcoin, and let’s face it, there’s tons of companies that accept Bitcoin because it’s digital cash. The reality is that online e-commmerce in the US is a 260 billion dollar a year business. And the total value of Bitcoins today – I mean I don’t – the price where it is, let’s call it 5 billion dollars or 4 billion dollars. It’s peanuts in comparison to the amount of dollars moving in e-commerce. So, when we think about how to grow our business, obviously looking at other payment protocols, such as credit cards are something that’s on our minds, because this is the long game. Digital currencies aren’t going anywhere and as we seek to build a universal ecosystem, we need to make sure that we can on board as many customers as possible.
Jay: What’s the most popular products on the site?
Charles: Right now we sell about 140 000 products, so it’s hard to say. I don’t necessarily look at which product sells the most. But, electronics seem to be popular as a category, because a lot of the people with Bitcoins today tend to be–
Charles: Techies, and that tends to appeal to them.
Jay: How has the consistently declining price of the Bitcoin affected your sales?
Charles: It’s had an impact on sales, but I think the biggest issue with Bitcoin today is it’s volatile. So, it’s kind of like – if you bought a stock and it tripled, then you get to go spend your profits, right? It’s like we’re sitting here in Vegas, if you win a lot of money, you’re a lot more apt to spend your winnings. So I think for us in the long run, it’s really not about the price of Bitcoin, which is why, when I think about other payment processes, we’re open to that. It’s – in the short run, yeah it has an affect, just because of the psychology, it’s viewed more as an investment than a payment protocol. But in the long run, I don’t see any real issue with it, I think the volatility will come out of the market to some extent.
Jay: For sure, at some point. Now you hold the title of the first publicly traded company with Bitcoin in it’s name. How much has this helped your business and in what ways?
Charles: It’s been great in terms of getting media exposure. Eyeballs (3:13?) that helps obviously drive down customer acquisition costs, but more importantly it’s helped kind of put on the map and build out our universal strategy. So, though we haven’t integrated with all the partners that we’ve invested in – we were the lead investor in GoCoin, which is a payment processor which recently announced a deal with Paypal. We’ve integrated with their technology. We’re also lead investor in Express Coin, which is a way to buy and sell Bitcoins. We haven’t integrated with them yet, but it’s on our to-do list. We were the only strategic investor in Gem, (3:46?) which was a multi sig (3:46?), multi-currency wallet solution. We haven’t had time to integrate with them, but we’re an investor.
We just closed a deal with Coin Outlet, which is a – they the operator and manufacturer of ATM’s. And we just – effectively when the deal is all said and done, we’ll own 9.8% of the company, which would be our biggest investment to date. We haven’t have time to integrate with them, but there’s a whole host of synergies and strategies around that investment. And lastly we got into mining, so if you think about the consumer as the center of hub and lots of spokes popping off of that hub, and those spokes being on or off ramps into the digital currency eco-system – we’ve basically gone around the horn and created a partnership with, and investment in many of those companies. And from a public market standpoint, if you’re interested in Bitcoin at all, you can buy Bitcoins, you can do venture captial, which I’ll tell you is very hard. Or you can invest in our company, which is a pretty interesting proposition. By no means are we an investment company, but we have exposure to the eco-system because we want to build a universal platform. So, it’s quite exciting.
Jay: It sounds like your company’s a good investment. How does somebody invest if they want to?
Charles: Call your broker, and tell them to buy shares. The tickers BTCS.
Jay: BTCS, fantastic. One more question that we have to ask everybody. January 1st, 2015, what do you think the price of Bitcoin’s gonna be?
Charles: Well, I have no idea to be– I don’t know.
Jay: It’s a guessing game.
Charles: Let’s go with a thousand.
Jay: ‘Cause it really is a guessing game.
Charles: It is a guessing game. I’m gonna go with a thousand.
Jay: Yeah, that sounds fantastic. Thank you very much Charles Allen from bitcoinshop.us, we appreciate your time today.
Charles: Alright, thanks so much I appreciate it.
This is Jay Addison from CryptoBiz Magazine, live from Meckler Media’s Inside Bitcoins Conference in Las Vegas. Remember to subscribe to CryptoBiz Magazine at CryptoBizMag.com. Follow us on Twitter @cryptobizmag. Thanks for joining us, and learn more at CryptoBizMagazine.com.
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