LEOcoin founders tell TechWeekEurope why their new exchange will transform the way people shop online
As more and more of our daily lives go online, how we do business and pay for items has become a very real issue for many consumers and businesses.
Asides from using traditional credit or debit cards for our purchases, digital currencies have enjoyed a rapid growth throughout the past few years, particularly Bitcoin, the notorious cryptocurrency established in 2009 by ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’.
With more than two million merchants, including big businesses such as Rakuten and Dell, accepting Bitcoin as a form of payments, trying to compete will be tough, but one British firm thinks it can topple the market leader.
Oxfordshire-based LEOcoin, set up by Dan Andersson and Atif Kamran, was only established in January 2015, but already boasts more than 24,000 merchants and 131,000 community members using its currency.
The company today announced the launch of LEOxChange, a dedicated exchange for members to trade and spend LEOcoin, and a way for the currency to go big. But how does the world’s second-largest digital currency move to number one?
First off, LEOcoin says it has learnt from Bitcoin’s shortcomings, and is now ready to offer a user-friendly, secure and community-driven service.
These should all prove to be good selling points when attracting LEOcoin’s target audience – small businesses and entrepreneurs who are being faced with high commission charges from existing payment service providers
“We see the opportunity as the little corner shop that would like to get Visa or MasterCard, but can’t,” says Andersson. “We can go in and set up a simple, easy system to accept electronic payments.”
“If we can get that adoption going, we can win in the digital economy space.”
There is also the issue of awareness, as a YouGov study commissioned by LEOcoin found 14 percent of SME senior managers hadn’t heard of any type of digital currencies.
Security and the perception of such currencies is also an issue, as many will have seen the controversies surrounding Bitcoin, such as its involvement with notorious black market site The Silk Road, and assumed all digital currencies are nefarious.
“We take our corporate responsibility very seriously,” says Andersson. “We have the highest level of security, we make sure that we have an auditable process where we’re not being amateurish on how we set up the exchange.”
“It’s a design choice,” adds Kamran, “it’s how we store coins in very secure layers, protections and infrastructure.”
Anderson notes: “Everyone is vulnerable to hacking, you just have to make sure you are compliant with current best practice. Barclays get hacked all the time, it’s not just (a risk) because we are doing cryptocurrency.”
Kamran says: “With digital currency, people will do bad things, but it is trackable, and traceable – it’s private, we call it anonymous, but if you really want to track down, you can.”
But for LEOcoin, it seems that the sky really is the limit of their ambitions, as the company now looks to populate the marketplace with systems that support their currency.
“We want to go massive,” says Andersson, “Britain should take the lead in this new emerging technology”.
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