We reported two weeks ago on Berlin-based startup Bitbond and how that company had just secured a round of funding worth 200 thousand euro. Earlier this week, we had a chance to speak with Radoslav Albrecht, Bitbond’s founder and CEO.
Cointelegraph: Tell us about how your first got involved with Bitcoin.
Radoslav Albrecht: A friend of mine who knew that I’m deeply engaged with financial services told me that there is this new digital currency called Bitcoin and that I should have a look at it. I eventually did, and after I spent some time reading about it I thought that it’s got great potential.
CT: Bitbond just raised a 200,000-euro round of funding. What are your plans for this investment?
RA: We will increase our team to further improve our platform. There are a lot of cool features we want to implement, and now we have the resources to do that. [Editor’s note: Our earlier story reported that Bitbond plans to use the investment to upgrade its user interface as well as roll out new features such as loans linked to exchange rates, messaging tools, analytics for lenders and renovated mobile platform.]
CT: What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in building a P2P lending platform?
RA: Getting a marketplace off the ground is always hard because you need to balance supply and demand. So, at the beginning it was really difficult to attract the first customers. Once we had accomplished that, things became a little bit easier.
RA: I spent six months in Nigeria, where we helped to merge two local banks. The Nigerian banking landscape was very fragmented back then, and a consolidation wave was inevitable.
Despite this fragmentation, the bank account penetration there is only 30% because only relatively wealthier people have a bank account. The rest of the economy mostly relies on cash or mobile money.
This excludes the majority of the population from financial services like earning interest on your savings or getting a loan. Bitcoin has the potential to change this for many emerging markets.
CT: Describe your best-case scenario for how you think the next few years could play out for Bitbond.
RA: In a best-case scenario, we manage to get a great team together and will build Bitbond in a way which serves our customers best. I think the key to our growth will be to become the player which finds the best setup for both the perspectives of our borrowers and lenders.
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