“We want to support humanitarian and development efforts internationally, especially Africa because it is one of the fastest growing continents in terms of economy, technology and innovation. We also support the unbanked or underbanked, who do not have their own bank accounts or have to rely on alternative financial services to fulfill their everyday needs…Why not start here, with financial assistance, to help Africare alleviate a health crisis that has clearly impacted the world?”
-Charles Allen, Chief Executive Officer of BTCS.
Bitcoin Shop, Inc. (“BTCS”) (OTCQB: BTCS), is the only U.S. pure play public company focused on bitcoin. BTCS began in 2013 as an ecommerce marketplace, and since then they have been building a universal digital currency platform. Their ecommerce site (www.BTCS.com) allows users to search over 250,000 products at competitive pricing from hundreds of retailers with an “Intelligent Shopping Engine,” and BTCS recently pledged to donate half of their December ecommerce gross profits to Africare’s Ebola response efforts in West Africa. CEO Charles Allen was also kind enough to help us learn more about bitcoin and what compels a digital currency platform company to support humanitarian and development efforts in Africa.
First of all, could you tell us a little about yourself and your role with BTCS?
I’m the Chief Executive Officer of BTCS and responsible for our overall corporate strategy and direction, as well as managing our corporate finances.
For those of us unfamiliar with bitcoin, could you describe the basics of how it works?
Bitcoin is a digital currency, which was created in 2009 by a person under the alias of Sataoshi Nakomoto. Essentially it’s a decentralized electronic payment system used and transferred through the Internet. No one person owns the bitcoin network except those who use bitcoins around the world, so it’s a peer-to-peer network that facilitates instant payments.
We encourage everyone unfamiliar with digital currencies to explore our website and use our “Intelligent Shopping Engine,” which finds the best prices in a large database of products for shoppers across over 256 retailers such as Macy’s, Target, Amazon and the list goes on. For the month of December we pledged to donate 50% of our ecommerce gross profits to support Africare’s work in the fight against Ebola. Customers were able to support Africare by doing what they were already doing – shopping at BTCS.
Thanks so much to your company, and also to your customers for the partnership and support! Could you describe what motivates BTCS to support humanitarian and development efforts in Africa?
We want to support humanitarian and development efforts internationally, especially Africa because it is one of the fastest growing continents in terms of economy, technology and innovation. We also support the unbanked or underbanked, who do not have their own bank accounts or have to rely on alternative financial services to fulfill their everyday needs. We can see the impact of bitcoin and its technology spanning across many nations. Why not start here, with financial assistance, to help Africare alleviate a health crisis that has clearly impacted the world?
How did BTCS learn about Africare, and why did you decide to entrust Africare with your Ebola response donations?
Some of our BTCS team has worked with a number of non-profits based in the Washington, D.C. area, so we were well aware of Africare. It only made sense to create this partnership with an organization that has workers on the ground in specific African countries and has a long-standing history of development assistance to African communities. Considering the work that Africare does, specifically with the recent Ebola crisis, we made it our mission to connect with the organization to set up our donation campaign. We trust Africare completely with our donations and know that they will be used appropriately.
What about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa compelled this support? Are there any other issues in Africa that are particularly important to BTCS?
The many reports regarding the Ebola outbreak were on our radar and still are. It was our goal to help Africare strengthen local health care systems, supply personal protective equipment and administer behavior change education by way of our donation.
As a company founded on principles based on community and technology, we are also focused on Africa because of the potential of digital currencies and their impact on the continent. Economic and financial issues in Africa and other regions remain important to us, and we believe digital currencies have the potential to change the financial infrastructure worldwide. Take M-Pesa, for example, the mobile phone based financial service, which allows the unbanked to send and receive money stored on mobile phones. Just like M-Pesa, digital currencies also make it easy for people, especially those who typically have limited access to a bank, to send and receive money, and other financial transactions, to do so in a fast, secure and convenient manner.
What are BTCS’s goals for the future, and how can people learn more about what you do?
We’re working on becoming a universal solution for users of digital currency and its potential to change and simplify many challenges consumers face, and we have a number of new initiatives on the horizon that we are excited about. For example, our Bitcoin ATMs will allow consumers an easy way to exchange fiat currency for bitcoins. We plan to work closely with our strategic partner, Coin Outlet, to customize the experience and use the ATMs to introduce users to the digital currency world through technology many people are already accustomed to using. BTCS currently services U.S.-based customers, and as we expand our reach to an international base, our global supporters can connect with us on Facebook, Twitter or by visiting our website and Investor Relations section.
Thanks Mr. Allen for sharing this with us today, and thanks so much again to BTCS for your generous support!