Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in this article do not constitute investment advice from Bitcoin Reserve.
What did you do before running a bitcoin business?
Before running a bitcoin business, I was a private banker, wealth manager and investment manager. I've actually spent 10+ years in the banking sector and at the time of leaving the bank I was a senior private banker.
How did you come up with the idea of a non-custodial bitcoin exchange?
We both - with my CTO, Roman, - were using P2P custodial exchanges. And both had unpleasant experience with these platforms. We understood that we can improve not only UI/UX, but also security for P2P marketplaces. Also, we wanted to build our project with core values of Bitcoin in mind. One of these values is not trusting third parties and eliminating the middle man.
As your business is fully bitcoin-based, do you need a corporate bank account at all?
No, we are not using any bank services at all.
What is it like to be the CEO of a company in a new market with a relatively small market cap?
It's extremely competitive and risky, but also really exciting and interesting. Everything is moving fast, there are no clear rules and boundaries, and there's definitely a lot of space for creativity.
Recently, you announced opening up Hodl Hodl's API to the public. This could potentially lead to competitor exchanges springing up thanks to your technology. What was the reasoning behind this decision?
We want to become liquidity and infrastructure providers for many different business and for exchanges as well. We want to become more like software providers than exchange operators. The reasoning is that we like to build things. But we don't want to deal with regulatory pressure and legal stuff. So the more companies will use our API, the better for us and for bitcoin.
You seem to be at the forefront when it comes to cutting-edge technology. What has your experience been like with the Lightning network integration? What feedback do you have from traders using Lightning contracts?
It took us 6 months to integrate Lightning into Hodl Hodl. It wasn't a simple task but it was very interesting. The technology is relatively new so there were some challenges. The majority of our traders enjoyed trading via Lightning because of its speed and cheap transaction costs. But also, many of them found Lightning tech bit more complicated then the regular Bitcoin tech.
Why did you become a member of the Liquid network federation? What potential do you see in the sidechain?
We like Liquid and we like how the organization and technology is moving. We want to be part of this movement and help develop this technology. Also Liquid allows to build non-custodial tech, which is our core competency. Liquid could potentially become useful tool for OTC desks and traders, and these are our main customers. That's why we joined Liquid federation and that's why we want to build some interesting products with it.
Hodl Hodl is a pioneer when it comes to bitcoin's multisignature architecture. What else do you foresee being built upon your technology stack and expertise in the field?
You can actually build anything with this technology. All custodial services can become non-custodial. We are going to release our new platform soon that will allow building any product and service based on multisig in easy and convenient way.
How has your business been affected, if at all, by the economic calamity happening as we speak?
Hodl Hodl is growing, our volumes and stats are dramatically increasing during past months. We see that there is huge demand for buying Bitcoin without verification and extra hassle.
What advice can you give to entrepreneurial newcomers looking for opportunities to start a bitcoin business?
Have a long-term strategy, always stick to your plan, care a lot about your reputation and values, and hodl.