Santiago Molins is the founder and director of IT4Crypto. In addition, it could be said that it is a pioneer in Bitcoin ATMs in Latin America. Cointelegraph in Spanish spoke to him in Argentina to learn more about his vision of the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
Fernando Quirós (FQ) What potential do you see for Bitcoin in the future?
Santiago Molins (SM): Bitcoin has two main reasons: sovereignty in saving and in transactions. The first objective has been dealt with in detail, and in order to fully achieve the second (regardless of scope), new developments are needed which are already well under way. I think we’ll see Bitcoin play a role in the geopolitical context this decade. Some states will take cheaper measures for Bitcoin to attract investment, others will be stricter because they will continue to think about the predetermined system.
FQ: At what price could BTC go this year?
HER: I usually don’t want to comment on the price. However, I can say that I have a perspective that is not bearish. Not only because of Bitcoin’s inherent properties, which have not been affected despite the great internal and external pressures it has been exposed to, but also because of the uncertainty and lack of fiscal-monetary discipline that exists in the world today. .
CF: What potential do you see for other cryptocurrencies?
HER: A fundamental value of Bitcoin is that it is difficult to make changes, but we couldn’t easily experience new things without altcoins. Altcoins then play an important role. I don’t see Altcoin as a bitcoin competitor, but as different use cases, and some are more interesting than others.
CF: How do you see the crypto market in Latin America?
HER: I think we’re still all early adopters. I don’t see that we’re in the middle of an exponential adoption. I see steady (or linear) growth. If we compare what happens today (year 2020) with the previous halving (2016), we speak of a further magnitude. During this time, the number of Bitcoin ATMs worldwide increased from less than 700 to more than 8000, while in Latin America we increased from less than 6 to more than 60. The price is also more than ten times the current value from 2016.
Regarding the perception of Bitcoin in my own discipline (systems), my former IT colleagues believed 4 years ago that I had gone crazy or wasted time. Today they are divided into those who are interested and who bring me doubts or points of view, and those who recognize that this is not in their area of interest, but that it is another technology among many other promising / interesting ones (AI, machine Learning, neural) networks, big data, IoT etc.). I am also aware that ecosystem companies continue to grow. And there are more and more remittances and freelancers turning to these options, but not at a dizzying pace.
FQ: Can cryptocurrencies be an alternative for people who don’t have a bank account?
HER: Yes, as long as this can be combined with the use of cash. A life that is 100% operated in cryptocurrencies is not viable for the vast majority of people, partly due to the low level of acceptance at the commercial level. At this point, the existence of Bitcoin ATMs seems very important to me, as they are the bridge between the physical and the virtual world. In fact, my first Bitcoin transaction was with one of these devices. For this reason, in 2017, together with the ATM company Easybit and other employees, we created four prototypes of Bitcoin ATMs for educational purposes. They have the peculiarity of being made from arcade-type video game machines and with recycled hardware. These were the first two Bitcoin ATMs in Argentina and Chile, where many people were able to exchange small amounts of money for Bitcoin for the first time, and vice versa.
FQ: What do you think of the attempts at regulation?
HER: Just as when I use a freeway, I have to follow certain rules, when I use state money routes, I have to follow others. It is not the cryptocurrencies that are regulated, but the way the FIAT system interacts with them. Some people may be frustrated that the interaction between the old and new paradigms is difficult. This is perhaps the largest barrier to entry into the ecosystem. Many newcomers give up given the avalanche of requirements required by the platforms. I would not be surprised if this is one of the main reasons for the slow introduction. Fortunately, there are P2P alternatives that mediate in the event of a dispute and allow people to work together as they see fit.
CF: Is there a need for more general financial education in the general population?
HER: It is naive to pretend that they teach you at school what money is and how it works when the one who has a monopoly on the matter is the one who dictates (or “advocates”) curricula at the educational level. There is no doubt that more education is needed to understand money first and then use new tools and avoid fraud. Education takes place mainly on the Internet, but new challenges arise here.
The ban on internet platforms in promoting problems related to cryptocurrency does a lot of harm to me. Businesses and ecosystem benchmarks don’t have a basic tool, while hideous actors operating in the shadows learn to trick algorithms and violate platform conditions to publicize their pyramid schemes. The best way to counter this situation is to support those who generate content. A reference and a pioneer in this area was Andreas Antonopoulos, who also has a perfect track record.
CF: You are currently developing some educational initiatives. Can you tell us about it
HER: I’m working on something new. One of my customers asked me to train their accounting team in Bitcoin and the underlying technology. After thinking about it, I decided that it was necessary to show how the blockchain works in a practical way instead of using analogies. I then realized that I could use this experience to generate innovative teaching material. We are currently working with Julian Andragnoch, who teaches courses on the subject at the National Technological University, to standardize a prototype of a gaming experience that will help us understand how Bitcoin works “inside” in less than an hour. We plan to release the project to the community as soon as we can meet our expectations.
FQ: What is IT4Crypto and what services do they offer?
HER: IT4Crypto is a fully digital company that specializes in the cryptocurrency sector worldwide. Our main focus is on tailor-made IT solutions, but we also work in consulting companies and in the area of public relations. Our customers include Athena Bitcoin, a large Bitcoin ATM company with more than 100 units across America.
CF: How do you see the crypto ecosystem in Argentina? Is it open and cooperative?
HER: Argentina has the property of living in an almost permanent currency crisis and also has a fairly early adopter population in everything that is technology. These two factors are a great combination to promote the spread of crypto communities and pay special attention to what Bitcoin is due to monetary reality. There is also an important local Ethereum community, but not as different from other cryptocurrencies as in other countries. In my opinion, the nicest thing at community level is that the point of interest is not as trade-oriented as in neighboring countries, and there are many more real-world use cases.
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