Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Kenneth Metral, the Co-Founder and CEO of the popular bitcoin marketplace Coingig.com. I’m currently 25 years old, born and raised in Miami, Florida, USA. Being involved with technology since I was in my teens it has been something that has always caught my attention, enough to make me pursue it in my academic career. I graduated with my Bachelors degree in Information Technology back in 2008 from Florida International University and proceeded to pursue my career even further and got my Masters in Management Information Systems. I had a great passion for not only technology but business as well so I decided to take a leap and challenge myself to get an MBA and I did, completing both in 2010.
I believe that every person involved with technology should have a business background no matter what they do, it is something that will not only benefit you when you have your own business but it opens you mind to a whole different world that many tech guys don’t know much about. My three degrees has not only helped me build a successful career with my previous companies but they have also been very beneficial now with Coingig.
Q: What is Coingig and how did you some up with the idea?
Coingig is a marketplace where users can come and buy or sell products using the virtual currency bitcoin. The concept is very simple, we provide the platform for anyone to come and list their products that they want to sell and for buyers to browse around and purchase what they like. The cool part about Coingig is that it is solely based on Bitcoin so there are no credit cards or electronic bank transfers required, buyers simply send their bitcoins to us and we release them to the seller.
Coingig was started by two of us, our Co-Founder Konstantin Yurchenko (CTO) and myself (CEO). We both met online on a popular bitcoin forum called bitcointalk, which is where you can meet all bitcoiners that have been involved since the start. I had the idea of creating a better marketplace than those that existed by providing something that was missing, which was customer support and advanced features, these two components really is what sets us apart from our competition. Once we started working on it back in the beginning of 2013 it took us about three months until we were finally able to release our first beta in April 2013. Since then every month our userbase has doubled and our sales have reached new highs, this is truly a successful path to becoming the world’s largest marketplace.
Q: How did you first find out about Bitcoin and what was your first impression?
I have heard of bitcoin a long time ago back in 2009/2010 but I was never really much into it, like others in this space, it wasn’t until 2012 that I began to look deeper into bitcoin and learn all the fundamentals about it. I was mainly just reading and researching the most I can about this fascinating protocol until the end of the year which was when I decided to invest in it. I think everyone begins the same they read the most they can about bitcoin and when they feel that they have a grasp on the whole concept is when they put some money into it. It truly is really exciting times we are living in now, bitcoin could be the first virtual currency that the world has ever accepted and I’m happy I’ll be involved in that adoption.
Q: What problems, if any, did you encounter in creating your startup?
Like any startup there will always been a lot of difficulties and frustrations when building it out. When we launched back in April we had tons of bugs everywhere with errors popping out in random places and pages not loading, it was a disaster, but just like any beta it is something you are expecting. This is not to say that we don’t have any bugs now, we do, but we have been able to clean up the majority of them. One major headaches that had nothing to do with the coding of the site were the scammers that have come to take advantage of our site and try to steal bitcoins from our buyers, before enforcing our escrow policy like we do now, sellers would come and list their products on our site and wait until buyers will come to buy them and not ship anything, leaving the customer furious and robbed. This made us take a major hit since we had to deal with users losing trust in our service and not returning back. Since then we have required all sellers to use our escrow service which allows all buyers to purchase without any worry of being scammed, from then on we will only release the payment to the sellers once they have received the item. This has dropped the number of scammers significantly because now they know they will not get paid until the buyer receives their product. Since then our users trust has come back and it’s now stronger than ever, we receive many emails every day from our users loving our service and trusting that they can shop without any worries, we all learn from our mistakes.
Q: What unique opportunities does Bitcoin provide for ecommerce sites?
One of the main advantages of bitcoin is how fast it is, users can pay each other in a matter of seconds to any part of the world, it’s really fascinating. Another great advantage is that there are no high fees for sending bitcoins to one other, unlike paypal that charge outrageous fees just to send money to someone, sometimes costing more than the product or service itself. Bitcoin is revolutionizing the way we think of money and it is here to stay.
Q: Can you elaborate on Coingig’s new affiliate program and how it works?
Our affiliate program was released a couple months ago to provide users with another way to earn bitcoin by promoting products on Coingig. The program is still in it’s early stage but we are developing better features as we go, if you would like to join our program you simply register with Coingig and click on the “Join our Affilate Program” link at the bottom left of the account panel. Once you are accepted into the program you will be able to choose any of the products that we have in our inventory to promote. If a user makes a sale we pay them 1% of our 2.5% commission when a product is sold, right now it is not so much but we are going to be increasing the commission amount so that we can bring in more affiliates.
Q: What do you see in the future for Bitcoin and Coingig?
As long as bitcoin grows we grow with it, since our launch we have broken our records every month and continue to do so by listening to our users and giving them what they want. I see bitcoin as how the internet was when it first began, there were the pioneering companies that decided to build an internet company and stick with it until it became big enough to become huge business, we are the same way and we will continue to work until we reach the top.
Thanks you for your time Kenneth and we here at Business Of Bitcoin wish you luck!