Cointelegraph recently interviewed one of the most prominent members of the Bitcoin community, Tony Gallippi, co-founder and CEO of BitPay, which develops tools to help merchants accept Bitcoin as a form of payment.
CT: When did you first hear about Bitcoin and why did you decide to start BitPay?
Tony Gallippi: BitPay was founded in May 2011 by Stephen Pair and me. Stephen started programming at a young age and spent much of his early career focused on languages, compilers, operating systems and virtual machines. Later, he developed an interest in the mechanics of financial markets, economics and monetary systems as well as developments in cryptography. This led him to Bitcoins and in speaking with [me], we talked about the need for places where people could spend Bitcoins – and BitPay was formed.
CT: You company has recently become a gold member at the Bitcoin foundation. Could you elaborate on the significance of this event and how does this play into your company’s long-term goals?
TG: BitPay is dedicated to promoting open source development, and regularly contributes to the Bitcoin protocol and open source ecosystem and the ongoing development of bitcore.io. The Bitcoin Foundation’s goal to standardize, protect, and promote the use of the technology worldwide aligns perfectly with BitPay’s past work and future outlook.
CT: A few weeks ago at the South by Southwest conference, you mentioned that Bitcoin did not require any regulation since the financial regulations already on the books could be easily applied to Bitcoin. What role do you think the government should play in the crypto-currency world, if any?
TG: As the Bitcoin community considers the recent notice released by the IRS, BitPay merchants are already prepared to follow this new guidance. BitPay, in conjunction with our accountants and advisors, has been operating under the assumption for the past three years that rules similar to this notice would be forthcoming, and we have been devoting resources to proper reporting requirements for ourselves and for our merchants.
CT: What is your opinion on the IRS’s recent announcement that it will treat digital currency as property? What kind of impact do you think this will have on the Bitcoin community?
TG: There isn't anything particularly surprising by the guidance. We expect the additional clarity will have a positive effect on the adoption of this new and novel method of payment. Since BitPay offers merchants a USD cost basis ledger for every Bitcoin transaction, and has already filed the proper 1099-K forms, merchants accepting Bitcoin through BitPay are fully prepared to meet their tax obligations as outlined in the IRS Notice.
CT: Does Bitpay have any future plans to start helping merchants accept other digital currencies in addition to Bitcoin?
TG: No, at this time, Bitcoins are the most secure and popular form of digital currency.
CT: In your previous interviews, I noticed you referring to Bitcoin as a “New asset class.” Could you elaborate on this?
TG: Bitcoin has the potential to change how we send and receive money, especially internationally. So in that way it is like a currency, but it has also been compared to gold and silver like a commodity.