BlockTower Capital CEO: '5X More Development' in Crypto Industry this Year vs 2017

  • Aril Paul, the CEO of digital asset investment firm, BlockTower Capital, recenty said that he sees a "long-term buying opportunity" given current cryptocurrency prices. 
  • Paul believes that crypto platforms need to become more user-friendly to achieve mainstream adoption.

Ari Paul, the chief information officer and managing partner at BlockTower Capital, a digital asset investment firm, recently said “we’re in the trough of disillusionment right now” - in response to a question regarding the current state of the cryptoasset and blockchain industry.

Paul, in an interview with Forbes, explained that “with the internet, ... in 1993 or 1994 ... Everyone thought the world we have today was just a few years away ... that we'd have massive retail sales over the Internet, that we'd have high-quality streaming video” and other advanced types of communications technologies that are only now available to us in 2018.

However, Paul emphasized that we must have realistic expectations as:

That [kind of progress] takes a lot longer than people expect … valuations [begin to] get way above the present. [But then] people realize the thing they thought was six months or eighteen months away is maybe three or five or ten years away. And then you typically get a crash and disillusionment.

Notably, Paul’s views and reasoning behind why cryptocurrency prices have dropped considerably are similar to those expressed by Marshsall Hayner, the CEO of Metal Pay, a fully operational payments app with support for cryptocurrency payments in 34 US states.

Need For User-Friendly Interfaces And Applications

In an exclusive interview with CryptoGlobe, Hayner noted that the drop in the prices of major cryptocurrencies including bitcoin (BTC) and ethereum (ETH) may be due to valuations (led by the “ICO bubble) “outpacing development.” Expressing views somewhat similar to Hayner, Paul believes “user interfaces” for cryptocurrency platforms must be improved - before the crypto industry can achieve mainstream adoption.

Paul gave the following example regarding how to make user interfaces more intuitive and user-friendly:

Right now, if I want to send someone cryptocurrency, I generally need to copy and paste their public address. That address is an arcane series of letters and numbers. That's a very scary process — because, typically, those transfers are irreversible, and a relatively minor mistake could be catastrophic.

Indeed, digital currency transactions are irreversible and the “arcane” sequence of alphanumeric symbols that make up a cryptocurrency address, in addition to the technical nature of using crypto-related applications (block explorers, wallets) may appear confusing to people who may not be so tech-savvy.

Interestingly, when asked what he thinks will be “the first truly indispensable use” of crypto-related technology, Paul remarked:

I think it's already here: Censorship and seizure resistant money. WikiLeaks was accepting donations in bitcoin back in 2011. People are making use of cryptocurrency in Venezuela, Zimbabwe, and around the world — they're just very few in number currently. But, to those who use it, it's already indispensable.

In response to a question about whether he sees a “buying opportunity” with crypto prices declining sharply, Paul, a former portfolio manager at the University of Chicago, said:

My answer to this has changed, almost quarter by quarter, over the last year. Right now, I would say with strong conviction that it's a long-term buying opportunity. I say long-term, but I'm not calling a specific bottom or price. But I would definitely say it's a long-term buying opportunity. I think we're in the trough of disillusionment.

According to Paul:

[Crypto-related] technology is advancing incredibly quickly. The amount of development on both the engineering side, as well as the product facing side, is tremendous. it's progressing at a pace, I think, more than 5X of last year.

Switzerland's Largest Online Retailer is Now Accepting Cryptocurrency Payments

Digitec-Galaxus, Switzerland’s largest online retail company, has reportedly decided to start accepting bitcoin (BTC) payments.

Digitec and Galaxus customers can now pay for goods and services with bitcoin and a few other major cryptocurrencies. In addition to BTC, users can make payments in XRP, ETH, Litecoin (LTC), Tron (TRX), OmiseGo (OMG), and NEO.

Digitec and Galaxus’ online retail outlets will also be taking payments in Bitcoin “Satoshi Vision” SV (BSV), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Binance Coin (BNB). Commenting on the Swiss retailer’s decision to start accepting cryptos, Oliver Herren, the co-founder and CEO of Digitec, remarked: 

Cryptocurrencies are fascinating and could become a relevant means of payment in e-commerce. We would like to support this development. We wanted to do that for a long time.

Coinify Will Help Convert Crypto Transfers To Swiss Francs

Herren added that Digitec decided to take cryptocurrencies as payment because people may have invested in them and they may want to use them. “Or because you cannot turn them into real money [since] your bank does not accept it. Or maybe just because you ...  like to try new things,” Herren said.

According to Switzerland’s e-commerce giant, it wants to encourage millennials, who may be heavily invested in the blockchain space, to start using cryptocurrencies for practical purposes such as paying for everyday goods and services. Price volatility of cryptocurrencies may not be an issue as Digitec and Galaxus will immediately convert crypto payments to Swiss francs using Coinify’s services, a third-party payment processor.

At present, crypto payments are only available for Switzerland-based users, however the company has said that it might allow customers in other areas to pay with crypto if their initial effort is successful.

Danish Food Takeaway Outlet Accepts Bitcoin Payments For Its 1500 Restaurants

In December 2018, Hungry.dk, one of the largest online food portals in Denmark, started accepting Bitcoin again. The food takeaway company handles orders from more than 1,500 restaurants in Denmark and had been accepting BTC payments since 2014. However, it had decided to stop taking crypto payments in late 2017 due to very long transaction processing times.

A representative from Hungry.dk noted (last year): 

We have accepted Bitcoins as a payment method for quite some time. We decided to remove the feature temporarily last year though because the average transaction time took too long, and the experience wasn’t the best.