Interview with Willson Cross, UBC Bitcoin Club Founder

Earlier this week, Cointelegraph reported on the founding of a Bitcoin Club at the University of British Columbia. UBC is based in Vancouver and is the largest university in British Columbia.

"Bitcoin doesn’t have necessarily the potential to be just a virtual currency,” says the 21-year-old founder and President Willson Cross, “we also believe it has the potential to be the future of finance."

The organization now has 15 members and growing. The newly formed club will first focus on getting the student group UBC Alma Mater Society as well as businesses in the Student Union Building to embrace the digital currency.

Cross believes that the emerging blockchain technology fits perfectly with the university as it combines many academic fields, including computer science, economics, finance, law, and marketing.

Cointelegraph had the opportunity to speak with the club president on the newly formed club, Bitcoin on campus and the club’s expected integration into the College Cryptocurrency Network (CCN), which is in process of building a formidable nation-wide cryptocurrency educational network.

Cointelegraph:  How did you become involved with cryptocurrencies and why did you decide to start the UBC Bitcoin Club?

Willson Cross: I became involved with cryptocurrencies at an early investor stage. I was fascinated by the volatility of the market and the early label that Bitcoin took on: “The Future of Money.”

My interest really peaked when merchant adoption became more prevalent and companies started giving their consumers more autonomy by offering Bitcoin as a payment option. Since then, I have taken interest in Bitcoin as a brand and how companies use it to market themselves to specific buyer behaviors in the space. 

CT: Vancouver seems like a logical choice when it comes to fostering Bitcoin growth. What type of response have you seen so far? 

WC: The response from the Vancouver-Bitcoin community has been exceptional. People here are always looking to collaborate and innovate with others. Definitely a true marriage of the business and arts communities. 

CT: Do you have plans to introduce formal courses on Bitcoin at the university?

WC: Education and student engagement is at the forefront of our plans with the UBC Bitcoin Club. Bringing in formal courses is something we will pursue as we continue to bridge the gap between the club and academic departments. 

CT: The University of Nicosia in Cyprus was the first university in the world to offer online Bitcoin courses. Do you think it’s a valid concern when people say this approach via traditional education institutions will not be able to keep up with the pace of innovation we’re currently seeing in the Bitcoin space?

WC: No. Whether its faculty or students, if they are passionate about innovating in Bitcoin, creativity will happen regardless. In such a fast-growing space, it's our job as early adopters to figure out and chart our own path because charting your own path should be the main point of education. 

Willson Cross

CT: What type of methods are you using to attract attention, sign up campus merchants? How many on campus merchants have you got on board so far?

WC: We currently have no merchants on board. With that said, we have not yet pursued any officially. We will be starting a merchant adoption outreach program later this month and hope to get merchants, campus-wide, on board with our initiatives. Merchant adoption is the catalyst for spreading the word and becoming mainstream in the campus community.

CT: When can we see the UBC Bitcoin Club officially join the College Cryptocurrency Network and what are your plans once you become a member?

WC: I would like to say anytime now. Our application is in and we're just going over some final details, collaborating with each other. Once a member, I see UBC Bitcoin Club starting to grow on a global stage while aligning our interests with the initiatives and great work and vision of the College Cryptocurrency Network.

CT: In your experience, what has been the most effective way to get people interested in Bitcoin?

WC: Definitely outlining how Bitcoin tailors to their specific needs as an everyday consumer. Whenever I meet an individual new to Bitcoin, I make an effort to showcase my digital wallet illustrating how easy it is to make payments and transfers. 

CT: Anything you would like to add?

WC: At its simplest form, UBC Bitcoin Club is at the heart of social entrepreneurship - we are spearheading the process of creating innovative solutions to Bitcoin literacy on campus and beyond.

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