Geek Speak: Gerald Cotton, CEO of Quadriga CX

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Gerald Cotton wants to spread Bitcoin across Canada—and, of course, make money doing it. The Yaletown resident is the CEO of Quadriga CX, which launched Vancouver’s second Bitcoin ATM on January 30.

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Quadriga CX started out conducting local trades in November. With a staff of five, the company launched its online currency exchange in December. It left beta at the end of January and now boasts over 1,000 users. The platform offers multiple funding and withdrawal options, and is set to add Dogecoin and Litecoin trading in the future.

The ATM, a Lamassu Bitcoin Machine, cost Quadriga CX US$5,000. The startup expects to receive three more ATMs in a week or so. Quadriga CX’s office (332 Water Street) in Gastown is also home to a Litecoin miner.

Cotton is a director of the Bitcoin Co-op. On Saturday (February 15), he’ll be at the art and trade show and the currency and commodity exchange taking place as part of CoinFest.

The Georgia Straight interviewed Cotton at Quadriga CX’s office.

How would you explain, very briefly, Bitcoin to a newbie?

To a newbie, I would describe it as a decentralized, peer-to-peer payment system. It basically allows you to send payments from one user to another without the need of a central authority, such as a bank.

What’s the easiest way to get bitcoins in Vancouver?

The easiest way to get bitcoins in Vancouver is, in my opinion, our ATM, because you just walk up to it, scan your QR code, and within five seconds you’ll have the bitcoins in your Bitcoin wallet.

What sets your online currency exchange apart from the others in Canada?

There’s a few other Bitcoin exchanges in Canada. What mainly sets ours apart is the fact that we charge no fees right now. It’s a promotional thing. In addition to that, we have more account funding options and withdrawal options than any exchange in the country.

One of our main features is Interac Online. It allows any user to fund their account instantly. So, you can actually, from the comfort of your own home, fund your Quadriga CX account through your online banking with Interac Online and buy bitcoins instantly. It’s the fastest way to get bitcoins in Canada.

What are your plans for your Bitcoin ATMs in Vancouver?

The plan with the ATMs is they’re going to be hooked up to our exchange. So, if someone makes a purchase from our ATM, it makes an equivalent trade on our exchange, which basically refills the ATM instantly. Our plan is to spread our ATMs around Vancouver and not just Vancouver—around the country. Because in addition to those three that are coming in about a week, we have an additional large order with Lamassu, where we’ll be spreading the ATMs basically across Canada. We want to spread Bitcoin across the country and basically make buying bitcoins easier for the average Canadian.

The federal government mentioned Bitcoin in its budget this week. How would you like to see cryptocurrencies regulated in Canada?

At this point, I’d like to see a little more clarity from our governmental institutions. Right now, if you contact FINTRAC [Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada] and ask them about Bitcoin, they’ll basically tell you that Bitcoin is not currently regulated by the government and that they’re unable to provide you with any additional information.

From an exchange point of view, this is quite frustrating, because you’re trying to figure out what the regulations are. We’re quite proactive when it comes to regulations. We don’t want to break the law. We want to fully comply, and we actually more than comply with what the current laws are. So, a bit more clarification from FINTRAC and from the federal government would be very useful—just in terms of planning our business for the future.

The Quadriga CX office is home to this Litecoin miner.
Stephen Hui

What other cryptocurrencies aside from Bitcoin have your attention?

Litecoin is interesting—just because it seems to be pretty much the second largest cryptocurrency.

In addition to that, Dogecoin has been getting a lot of media attention. So, we’re actually adding Dogecoin to our website within the coming weeks. It seems to have a huge amount of community support. It’s very popular on Reddit, and because of that reason it’s caught my attention.

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moondoge
such wow!
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