The Big Interview

Asaph Shulman: Demystifying cryptocurrency the Coinmama way

Coinmama has a staggering number of users and has helped 1.3 million customers since 2013 - but wants to do more

The team behind Coinmama have a simple ambition and one that seems to be going well.

They want to simplify cryptocurrency for the masses and they are well on their way to achieving this ambition with huge numbers world-wide using their technology as a broker for crypto selling directly to customers.

CEO Asaph Schulman (pictured, above left) first learned about cryptocurrency almost six years ago, in 2013. “First I was interested in Bitcoin, then I got involved with Coinmama as I knew the co-founder.”

Pleasantly surprised

“We founded the first crypto ATM in Israel, which was slightly ahead of itself,” he admits. They were pleasantly surprised by the high numbers of people who adopted the technology.

At the time, there was also a spike in ransomware demands in Bitcoin. On occasions, people who bought Bitcoin to pay the hackers inadvertently became interested in the currency too, he says.

“To date, Coinmama has never received any funding and has been a bootstraps company, We never did any marketing for it,” he says.

“When you combine those two factors it makes you wonder how we got so far for so little.”

But they are a customer-centric company that “really goes out of our way to help people make their first steps in the cryptocurrency space,” he says.

Head of happiness

He points out that the reviews of the site are really positive and they value this support from their customers. One of their team has a job title ‘head of happiness’ which gives an indication of how important it is to them.

The current volatility in the price of cryptocurrency on the markets couldn’t have a “bigger discrepancy to the fundamentals,” he says.

Since 2013 when he became involved, there have been numerous “ups and downs” and “droughts” in the price. What he has noticed is there is a lot more people involved in crypto in the last year or two.

He points out that there are thousands of jobs being advertised for Ethereum developers every month, which doesn’t indicate the job market is shrinking. “We’ve yet to see what’s to come,” he says of the technology.

Warren Buffet

“As Warren Buffet once said: ‘We should be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.'”

Coinmama aims to reduce transaction costs and improve transaction times which are “crucial to mass adoption. Our vision is simplifying crypto for the masses,” he says.

“So far, we have 30 to 40 million global crypto users on a broken user experience – which is a miracle. In the future, over the next five or ten years, there could be a billion global users who will be less technical and less tolerant of the user experience which is why it is so crucial.”

Turmoil

Adoption will take place in countries where there is turmoil, such as Venezuela, Turkey and Zimbabwe “where there is unrest we immediately find people flocking there,” he says.

“As First World countries, we don’t quite get this as we are used to a stable economic environment and access to financial service. But it is different for countries which are more volatile.”

Blockchain technology is useful in governance, healthcare and in legal settings, as well as for government finances.

Gender inequality

He is well aware of the gender inequality in blockchain but points out that Coinmama has a 50/50 gender split and jokes: “Despite the name Coinmama, there are no more mamas around.

“But, seriously, at the end of the day when we look at our audience 90% of our customers are men. This is troubling.”

On International Women’s Day next March they will seek to raise awareness of this issue. As to the reasons why, he says it is complicated and may be partly due to education as well as lack of awareness.

Smartest people

He likens blockchain technology to a car that has been invented and “we have the smartest people in the room paving the roads and building the gas stations in order for things to happen.

“The innovations are in the offing,” he adds. In the meantime, institutional investors are going “completely crazy and are using the opportunity to see the future of cryptocurrency.”

Coinmama, he points out, has just had its strongest month since February 2018. “People are flocking to us,” he says. “We’ve had existing customers coming back to us as they see the opportunity to buy crypto and we’ve had a huge influx of new people buying their first Bitcoins.

“The herd mentality is very strong.”

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