We first talked to Safello back in August, when they were quite anonymous and just launched, but with the recent rise and growth of Bitcoin, the company is growing faster than ever. I caught up with Frank Schuil, CEO of Safello – a Swedish exchange market for the crypto-currency Bitcoin.
For those of you who don’t know what Bitcoin is, Bitcoin is sort of like “digital gold”. By design, there is a known, immutable, fixed supply of bitcoins, similar to gold being available in limited quantity on Earth. There are 2.1 quadrillion indivisible units of value (0.00000001 bitcoins), and no more will ever exist. Bitcoins are digital, and therefore you can instantly transfer them to anybody across the world.
Frank Schuil explains:
The fact that the Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke recently said this about Bitcoin should have everyone on notice: “may hold long-term promise, particularly if the innovations promote a faster, more secure and more efficient payment system“. Adding to that, the overall tone of the recent Senate hearing about digital currencies was positive.
Serious capital is flowing towards this market as more and more people see crypto currencies, Bitcoin is one of the 50+ crypto currencies that exist today, as the future of the financial system.
The Bitcoin market had quite a ride last week, peaking at $900 and dropping to $300. Swedish public TV broadcaster picked up on it, and ran a story on Bitcoin last saturday, and featured Safello in it:
I had my Google Analytics real-time traffic open for our website. It didn’t cross my mind it would spark a traffic peak, but boy it did. We had many signups and people placing test orders right away. What we have noticed is that many of our customers first place a test order to see if we deliver and within what time frame, then after we deliver they immediately place a larger order right after. It taught us to pay attention to every customer equally, which I like a lot.
Other than the traffic spike, there were also several investors in my inbox, so all in all I’d say it was great exposure.
Frank says that Safello is currently focusing on Bitcoin but will be looking into integrating other crypto currencies:
We have focused our efforts on improving the user experience for first time Bitcoin buyers and sellers. There is much we can improve before introducing other crypto currencies. Having said that, we are watching all of the crypto currencies and follow their market capitalizations to decide integration into our platform, Litecoin and Ripple are logical candidates.
The growth has been steady, and since the launch in August, Safello has had millions of SEK going through their systems. Revenues and user numbers are growing too.
Of course we see the correlation with the recent price rise, but even so the growth has shown signs of viral consistency. Our primary objective is to keep the service level high as we scale and maintain the hockey stick.
I am personally not certain that Bitcoin will be the “final” crypto-currency so to say, as people right now use it mostly for investments – but it’s certain that we’re going to see a lot more attention on bitcoin over the next few years.