Live Bitcoin News recently got an opportunity to speak with Dan Andersson, the founder of private-centric cryptocurrency LEOcoin. As we discussed this new project, Andersson opened up about how they aim to be more than a cryptocurrency platform, and thus are actively lobbying for the entire digital currency community among lawmakers and regulators. Here are some excerpts from our conversation with him:
LBN: How would you explain LEOcoin to an average Joe?
Dan: LEOcoin is a digital currency, backed by a dedicated exchange that launched in the UK in April 2015. It is ‘virtual currency’ used in exchange for goods and services, which is not subject to the control of a central bank. LEOcoin is the first digital currency to be launched in the UK that is designed for small business owners.
With Bitcoin already gaining mass adoption, and many altcoins around, how can LEOcoin prove itself to be a good/better alternative?
Whilst Bitcoin has achieved a huge amount in a short time, it has also provided the opportunity for things to be done in a different way. There have been many lessons learned from Bitcoin and LEOcoin has sought to implement these lessons.
For example, LEOcoin has moved to a Proof of Stake system which is designed to make accessing and understanding the coin even easier. The world of mining rigs and ASICS is beyond the interest of the mass market, and while those thing continue to remain at the heart of Bitcoin, it will always hit a limit with adoption.
Additionally, previous digital currencies have started from a zero membership base. LEOcoin’s users existing members however, have been involved from the start of the LEOcoin development process, and as such they were a ready and waiting community of merchants, consumers and traders when the LEOxChange launched. This has added stability to the exchange price as well as faster uptake than previous coins.
We have heard about LEOcoin lobbying for digital currency industry in government circles? How has been their response so far?
The LEOcoin Foundation, which is a Social Enterprise, is constantly meeting with government representatives to promote and educate them about the potential impact that digital currency can have to change the way the world does business; the response has been overwhelmingly positive. The Foundation’s mandate is to promote and encourage all digital currencies as well wider blockchain technology.
Government officials have been incredibly impressed with the way that our vision for digital currency and blockchain technology can solve global financial problems. From engaging with the UK Government in particular, it has also been clear that they are in agreement that UK regulation of digital currencies should and does not hinder this industry and that the Bitlicense model adopted by regulators in New York, should not be something that is spread around the world.
It is incredibly important that the LEOcoin Foundation is a key contributor to the digital currency conversation and shapes the agenda. Back in 2015, the LEOcoin Foundation submitted a response to the UK Government’s consultation on digital currencies. This has now opened an ongoing dialogue within the Treasury; officials have reached out to the LEOcoin Foundation for expert advice on the security and secureness of digital currencies; there is clearly an appetite for the technology within government circles. The LEOcoin Foundation is also an active member of the US Chamber of Digital Commerce, and recently joined a Distributed Ledger Technology Working Group run by Tech UK.
Additionally, the LEOcoin Foundation recently held an event in the British Houses of Parliament, which included ambassadors and representatives from around 15 different countries as well as government ministers, Members of Parliament and the House of Lords. This followed earlier participation in a Trade Mission to Israel alongside Boris Johnson (now the British Foreign Secretary).
The message to these varied groups of people, is always one of education followed by sharing ideas on how this revolutionary new technology can change the way business is done and services operate. There are very few cases where people have been closed to the power of this technology once it has been explained to them and we find many decision makers we meet are keen to continue to help us.
How are you funding the project, as well as the lobbying around across the globe?
It’s the role of the LEOcoin Foundation to fund the ongoing development of LEOcoin and global lobbying. At the launch of LEOcoin the LEOcoin Foundation was allocated 10 million to use in pursuit of its objectives. The company structure and objectives prevents the Foundation from using this endowment to make a profit, instead all of these funds must be used in pursuit of the mission of the Foundation.
This 10 million endowment is how the LEOcoin Foundation funds it’s global activities.
Where do you see LEOcoin in next five years?
We have major ambitions for LEOcoin as it has the potential to transform the way business is done across the world. Since our move to a Proof of Stake method, we have completely opened up the world of digital currencies to a wider mass market audience.
Additionally, we are creating even more ways for people to use LEOcoin, thus expanding it’s appeal. For example, in addition to trading LEOcoin for Bitcoin or Fiat, it can be used to shop with a number of merchants. Our own merchant programme at leocoinmerchants.com has started to map these out, and the recent addition of LEOcoin to coinpayments.net opens up thousands more merchants that will accept LEOcoin. Furthermore, myleotravel.com is a new website that allows LEOcoin holders to book hotels using LEOcoin and will soon be adding flights, the LEOcrowd website means that you can fund start-up businesses all over the world using digital currency. And early in 2017, we will launch a debit card, which will allow people to hold balances in LEOcoin but when they use the card the merchant will receive whatever fiat currency they want. We anticipate that this will open up yet more interest in LEOcoin.
One of the fundamental advantages of LEOcoin is that you know who is behind it and we are actively supporting it. While there are, of course, incredible levels of enthusiasm among our community, having a well funded Foundation with a clear mission and objectives adds a clear sense of direction to the project. Having the LEOxChange alongside the independent exchanges that trade LEOcoin provides a solid revenue stream for additional funds and our work to build an ecosystem around LEOcoin means that this can be so much more than just another altcoin vying for attention among hundreds of others.
We fundamentally believe that LEOcoin can be a coin for the mass market and see it as a key component in the global monetary system in the next five years; accepted even in local shops. When this happens, LEOcoin will have met the first phase of it’s potential.