G. Heni is Chief Communication Officer at the newly launched French Bitcoin exchange Bitcoin-Wave. In an interview with Cointelegraph, the executive shares his company incentives and motivations, and discusses its future plans, as building the largest Bitcoin e-commerce platform in the world, while offering a full package for traders, made of in-house applications only.
Cointelegraph: Bitcoin-Wave is new Bitcoin exchange 100% made in France. What is the story behind Bitcoin-Wave?
G. Heni: The Bitcoin-Wave website was launched on October 21, 2014, so the site itself is very young still. Young, but well designed! Indeed, several reasons all point to the necessity to create a new platform.
The first reason is that users do not currently have many options to credit money, and almost all of them do so via bank transfer.
The second reason is that all the current platforms are too "trading-oriented" for our liking and can thus be an obstacle to the democratization of Bitcoin.
The third is for ethical reasons. We could not remain indifferent in the face of a technology like the Bitcoin protocol, represented by certain companies whose sole aim is to make profits and to partition the market by trying to regularize and therefore limit, the use of Bitcoin.
This is how Bitcoin-Wave was born.
Why "wave"? Because the Bitcoin wave will wipe everything on its way!
So yes, Bitcoin-Wave is a EURO/BITCOIN platform for exchange. Users can credit money via various means such as: bank card, SMS, Internet invoice, PCS and Paysafecard, as well as by bank transfer.
We are against building systematic records of our clients, which is why we will not ask you for your ID card, your bank account details or a proof of address at the time of registration. Instead of using the famous KYC (Know Your Customer) policy used by some such as Paymium for example, we prefer to use our own model: TYC (Trust Your Customer).
However, for obvious security reasons, we have set up some tools allowing us to highlight certain suspect actions (IP analysis, requests, concordance of credit IP and mean of credit, etc.).
In addition to being a trading platform, we wish to go back to basics. Because, let us not forget that to begin with, Bitcoin was a protocol, a means of payment, and a community.
This is why we have created the 'Wave.'
CT: Bitcoin-Wave's 'Wave' feature is a public ledger that tracks and records all transactions occurring on the exchange. Why this functionality?
GH: The 'Wave' is one of the reasons our platform exists. When a user makes a purchase or a sale, it is immediately added to the Wave. Thus, each user can visualize everyone's purchases and sales, but also grade and discuss the transactions too (i.e.: why did Mr X sell 1 BTC for €280?).
This brings several advantages. Firstly, we must admit we all want to be the best and to flaunt our success. It is also interesting for beginners to be able to follow people who are making profits and to understand their analysis and logistics.
Finally, it allows to communicate and brings people together. Users can subsequently communicate via our internal messaging system (entirely encrypted).
CT: Don't you think the 'Wave' feature is in conflict with one of the fundamentals of Bitcoin, as of allowing 'quasi-anonymous' transactions?
GH: It would be a contradiction not to allow our users to make a choice. So users can ENTIRELY configure their confidentiality settings from their interface, in an intuitive manner: such as displaying their first and last name, pseudonym, displaying - or not - sales and purchases on the Wave, authorizing comments and notes!
As you can see, we are not at all in contradiction, but completely in accord with the principles of Bitcoin and of the Internet: freedom!
CT: As you mentioned in an email communication, Bitcoin-Wave targets the wider European market. Could you elaborate on this statement?
GH: To quote the bible, "no-one is a prophet in his own country!"
In addition, due to its international character, we must promote, democratize and acquire clients over the whole Europe. On the one hand, the unique currency, the euro, allows to accept clients from the all around Europe, and on the other hand, Europe is an unevenly spread market!
There are enormous differences between each country, and our wish is to unify the users through one community: Bitcoin-Wave.
We have a specific and well-defined plan of action.
“Our approach is different to that of other companies[…] We want to index the products from the largest European e-commerce websites, and convert each price and delivery charges in Bitcoin. ”
-G. Heni, Bitcoin-Wave CCO
CT: Any upcoming projects that you'd like to share with us? What is the idea behind this shopping space, and how will it work, on the merchant side, as well as on the customer side?
GH: As of mid-December 2014, we will launch the largest Bitcoin e-commerce platform in the world.
The user will pay in Bitcoin, the merchant will receive in euro, simple as that. Our approach is different to that of other companies. The current battle consists in making the merchants accept Bitcoin by proposing an intermediary payment service.
We want to bring clients to them. And we want to bring products to our clients.
This is why we want to index the products from the largest European e-commerce websites, and convert each price and delivery charges in Bitcoin.
Thus, users will be able to purchase anything from a train ticket, clothes from any brand (such as H&M, Zara, Burberry, Hermès, Louis Vuitton), high-tech goods, decorative objects, etc.
In this way, we will be able to prove e-merchants that Bitcoin users represent an immense market share, and we will thereafter be able to create partnerships from a position of power.
Subsequently, new functionalities will appear in the first semester of 2015:
- A simple API will be set up: user friendly so that anyone without any knowledge of programming may be able to use it;
- Offering users the possibility to create their own trader robot for free, indicating them when to sell and when to buy, in a simple and intuitive way, with a simulation option;
- Opening to high-frequency traders.
And other surprises, of course.
CT: Finally, did you receive any funding; and if not, are you seeking seed funding for your expansion plans?
GH: We have not received any help and do not wish to receive any financial help for the time being.
Indeed, receiving help would mean selling our idea and our platform. And let's be realistic, an investor would want to control an enormous share of our company, and we cannot allow that.
However, we are open to any offers.
CT: Any thing you'd like to add?
GH: Yes! Friday is "thank god it’s Friday!" Every Friday, transaction fees are at 0.00%!
Also, we are currently developing our own second authentication factor system, which users will be able to chose between either an SMS code, a code generated by an application, or... steganography!
We often say that an image is worth a thousand words, and in our case, an image will be your second password.
Users will be able to upload an image (i.e.: your profile picture) and then download the new one, which will be 100% identical, apart from a password hidden between the bytes.
Thus, by stocking it in the middle of thousands of photos, there will be very little chance for anyone to guess which is the correct image.
We prefer to develop our own application to generate the code, and not to be dependent on external systems such as Google Authenticator.
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