My Startup: CoinCorner, Isle of Man

Charlie Spargo's picture
CoinCorner

Digital startup CoinCorner is a Bitcoin exchange, letting customers easily buy and sell cryptocurrency using their credit or debit cards.

The startup's goal is to make a usually obscure industry as simple and quick to get involved with as possible - and now has more than 150,000 users who utilise CoinCorner to trade Bitcoin.

Founders: Danny Scott, Phil Collins and Charlie Wollnough

Founded: 2014

Website: coincorner.com

We heard from Danny about what CoinCorner's been up to.

Why did you start CoinCorner?

After first hearing about Bitcoin at University in 2009, I actually dismissed it due to my lack of understanding, but it kept popping up again and again over the years, until 2013 when I finally made the jump in.

The other co-founders of CoinCorner and I began mining Bitcoin first, but soon realised that there was an opportunity in the consumer market for buying/selling services. 

This business idea prompted us to start CoinCorner in 2014, and we began with the aim of making buying Bitcoin easy. We decided to take the chance of being involved in an industry while it was still emerging and making a name for itself. Our small team also had a genuine interest in Bitcoin, alongside backgrounds in tech and finance. 

Tell us more about the tech behind the product.

Our website and app (available on Android and iOS) allow anybody to buy Bitcoin as easily as buying a new T-shirt online. Customers can purchase Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and Ripple via credit/debit card, bank transfer and Neteller.

We have also recently introduced a new service, CoinCorner Checkout, which allows businesses to accept Bitcoin as a payment method on their website or in-store. We automatically convert the Bitcoin to pounds for them, so they have no price exposure or need for any new technical complication.

Bitcoin itself is a fascinating piece of tech - it’s the first truly global and decentralised technology. Running perfectly for 99.98% of its 11-year lifespan, no other public-facing piece of technology in the world can boast such a claim.

Bitcoin is often referred to as a currency, but it can also be a store of wealth, an investment, a payment tool, and a base technology platform too. We’re anticipating many more use cases in the years to come.

Where are you at right now?

We’re now five-and-a-half years into CoinCorner, with 15 staff members, located in the Isle of Man, with a focus on the UK. 

Our team takes a lean and agile approach to everything we do, and we work hard to react as quickly as possible when the industry changes - it’s an exciting environment to operate and work in!

What are your aims for the next year?

The exciting yet crazy thing about operating in the Bitcoin industry is that you don’t know what the next 12 months will be like. You have to roll with the punches, expect the unexpected, and just be generally prepared for anything. 

As a company, we’ll continue to focus on our core offerings: Being a quick and easy on-ramp for Bitcoin, while also driving our new Bitcoin payment gateway for businesses to accept Bitcoin payments.

Another angle we have always tried to encourage is education. We’ll continue to educate where we can, including the upcoming release of my Bitcoin book and a new educational product venture.

The CoinCorner team

What's been the hardest thing about getting CoinCorner off the ground?

Getting CoinCorner off the ground was one of the hardest things I've done in my life, with late nights, weekends, rejections and being unpaid as examples of some of the norms! 

The cryptocurrency industry was also one of the most difficult to operate in; we lost bank accounts, business and funding opportunities due to the industry’s reputation at that time, yet we continued as a small and close team, and eventually began feeling like we were coming out of the other side.

Operating in the Bitcoin industry still brings daily challenges that are often unique against what businesses in established and regulated industries face (e.g. challenges with banking, funding, cash flow). One example is that our team is continually faced with public claims that “Bitcoin is dead” (this usually crops up when Bitcoin’s price drops). This is just an opinion and that’s how we overcome it every time - by remembering that an opinion means very little against the behaviours of our customers. 

Why should more people be using CoinCorner?

More people should be using CoinCorner because it’s an easy way to buy Bitcoin, taking on average only nine minutes to register and buy! We’re a UK company which accepts multiple payment options, including credit card, and we offer quick deposits and withdrawals via UK Faster Payments. 

The important difference for customers using CoinCorner is that they have full access to their Bitcoin. Other platforms offer what’s known as “exposure to Bitcoin” which means that their customers don’t actually own their Bitcoin, and can’t withdraw it or send it out. CoinCorner customers can buy, sell, send and receive their Bitcoin, and ultimately have full control.

How much will it cost users - and why is it worth the investment?

Customers don’t need to buy a whole Bitcoin and can buy as little as £10 worth.

However, we cannot give investment advice if people are purchasing Bitcoin as an investment. We always say it’s crucial that people do their own research and when they feel ready to get started with Bitcoin, we’re here to make the experience as quick and easy as possible.