Bitspark is a P2P remittance platform where anyone can send money, at a very minimal cost and without having any bank account. Leveraging on blockchain technology, Bitspark is crafted to save money by significantly cutting down transfer fees that banks charge. Maxine Ryan is leading the charge to make Bitspark, world’s top money transfer platform. The vibrant co-founder and COO of Bitspark has seen and experienced great success but her never-ending passion for the blockchain space is exceptional.
we were the first in the world to do a cash-in cash-out money transfer using Bitcoin
Since the beginning, Maxine always wanted to make an impact and to build an infrastructure that would benefit the masses and not just the privileged. She first talked about how she was introduced to bitcoin that instantly got her attention and ultimately made her quit her degree.
“I started the company in 2014 but prior to that, I was a university student – that was about 5 years ago. I was studying international relations at that time and had a realization that the degree was not useful for what I want to achieve and what I deemed as impact. I always kept my ears open for something that was more interesting so when I met George through shared lodging, and he shared his hobby of bitcoin mining, I was immediately intrigued”.
because we started so early on, it was really hard for people to wrap their minds around exactly what we were trying to achieve
“After that conversation, I knew cryptocurrency was something I wanted to explore. I was six months into graduating when I quit my degree, George also quit his job and we moved to Hong Kong to start the business. Shortly after, we were the first in the world to do a cash-in cash-out money transfer using Bitcoin from Hong Kong to Philippines. It was the first bank-less money transfer using cryptocurrency”.
Why Hong Kong
After quitting her degree, Maxine moved to Hong Kong along with her business partner George, who also quit his job. She talked about how Hong Kong government is so open and welcomes new businesses and startups, specially if it is related to technology.
“The reason we chose to start Bitspark in Hong Kong is because it is one of the best places to do business and one of the easiest places to set up a company. For example, we were able to incorporate online. We also took advantage of the government programs here including Cyberport, which is an intensive incubation program. As I mentioned, Hong Kong is good for business but there are some issues as with any country. For now, there is a banking issue which does not affect our company so much. I would say that with any jurisdiction, there are positives and negatives but Hong Kong over all is good”.
I believe that only real projects will prevail in the bear market.
Funding and Challenges
There is no doubt that every startup goes through traditional funding rounds which is vital for the growth of any project. Maxine talked about major funding rounds Bitspark went through and how beneficial they have been to her startup’s growth. She also termed educating the people, from investors to platform users, to be really challenging.
“Almost every company goes through several rounds of funding but our latest round was the initial coin offering of our native rewards token ZEPH raising $2.8M. We have gone through the regular cycle of funding actually one of our biggest investors is RGAX, which is the investment arm of Fortune 500 and one of America’s largest reinsurance companies. We are well-funded and we have smart investors that bring value”.
I believe that investors should be knowledgeable in the field before they invest and understand how to do due diligence
“I think that because we started so early on, it was really hard for people to wrap their minds around exactly what we were trying to achieve. The first step was education and by that time, people still need time to digest what cryptocurrency was. It was not as easy as ‘hey, i have a website or gaming app’, it was more of ‘hey I have a completely new idea to change how money moves around the world without banks’ and that can be difficult for people to understand especially because it is vastly different to what exists in every sense”.
“That was the first hurdle but of course after sometime, cryptocurrency did become better known and it experience adoption outside of the first wave. I would say that from then onward, things became easier. The market conditions right now for people to send money via traditional means is getting worse. I think that, paired with the use case of cryptocurrency, made everything much easier”.
“Building Bitspark for the last five years, I’ve always strongly felt that the first way for blockchain adoption is through payments because that is the original reason why bitcoin existed in the first place. I think that there is definitely space for blockchain to be adopted in other areas since the technology itself can be treated essentially like a database and every single infrastructure built in many different verticals, a database is needed”.
“I think it’s unfortunate as when the market is hyped, it attracts bad actors at a time the market can make irrational decisions. I believe that investors should be knowledgeable in the field before they invest and understand how to do due diligence. The downside of this reputation is it’s effects on real projects in the space however I believe that only real projects will prevail in the bear market”.
This is the first part of Maxine Ryan’s interview with BlockPublisher, where she talked about how she was introduced to bitcoin which ultimately led her to start Bitspark along with her other co-founder and CEO, George Harrap. Watch this space for the second part!