Startups #nofilter had the pleasure to sit down with Ty Smith, Co-Founder of Crypico, an incredible online platform for freelancers which allows for payments via cryptocurrencies.
In this interview, Ty talks about what makes Crypico a unique and incredibly desirable platform for online freelancers, startup principles that he utilized, as well as additional thoughts about the cryptocurrency craze we are seeing in 2018.
1. Tell us about the idea behind Crypico, the freelance cryptocurrency website – where did the idea come from?
The main idea behind Crypico was to make earning and spending cryptocurrency as easy as possible. Before we launched, there were very few options for earning cryptocurrency and they mostly required very specific skills or offered minuscule payouts. Additionally, there was no comprehensive platform enabling the spending of cryptocurrency for services. We also saw a huge opportunity to advance the freelancing industry by incorporating benefits of blockchain such as simple transactions, lack of third party involvement, and removal of fees.
2. Would it be fair to refer to your site as “The Crypto-Fiver” company?
We’ve been called that many times and I wouldn’t say it’s totally unfair. That being said, I think we bring a lot more to the table than Fiverr.
A lot of our users come from platforms like Fiverr with the main complaint being the high fees. Fiverr takes at least 20% on all transactions on their site. I think that’s very excessive considering the service they offer. Our platform is 100% free. On Crypico, the amount of funds sent by a buyer is the exact amount that arrives in the freelancer’s wallet.
Also, because of our custom-built integrated wallet feature, transactions are instantaneous and immediately available for spending. With services that use fiat such as Fiverr, several steps and third-parties are required to transfer funds from buyer to freelancer and then from Fiverr account to bank account. After that, the bank must then verify the transaction before making it available. The entire process is much more time consuming and expensive than it needs to be. It’s use cases like this where blockchain technology really shines.
Furthermore, Fiverr requires a bank account whereas Crypico does not. This makes us especially attractive to citizens from developing nations where the banking system is not as reliable or accessible as it is in the United States.
3. Being that cryptocurrency emanated from the dark web, are there any risks here that people may incur that they otherwise would not have had they been using traditional fiat?
Beyond the volatility of cryptocurrency, I wouldn’t say there is much added risk. Due to the infancy of the industry, however, there is a basic level of knowledge regarding how cryptocurrencies work needed to avoid mistakes. We know cryptocurrency is still a new concept to most people so we’ve done our best to make our platform as user-friendly as possible.
4. Are there in fact any extraneous risks imposed by using cryptocurrency instead of traditional currency?
Cryptocurrency is very safe. The only thing I would recommend keeping in mind is tax calculation. Cryptocurrency is new and, as such, some accountants aren’t experienced with them. However, I expect most accountants will familiarize themselves with the accounting practices within this upcoming year.
5. Which cryptocurrencies does your platform currently accept?
Our platform accepts all cryptocurrencies. It is one of our biggest competitive advantages over others that have tried to tokenize the freelance model. Tokenization often forces users to transact in obscure coins that don’t have use outside of the platform.
6. Are you employing any startup principles to succeed, such as establishing an MVP, bootstrapping, or lean startup methodology?
To date we are 100% bootstrapped. We’ve been receiving pressure by potential investors to hold an ICO but we don’t currently see a need tokenize our model. We went to market with an MVP and continuously deploy new updates to the platform so we’ve certainly incorporated some of the tenets of the lean startup methodology.
7. Can you share any data with us? Number of users or projects filled?
We have a large number of users joining Crypico every day so any numbers I could share would very quickly become inaccurate. Overall, we are very happy with the success of our growth.
8. In addition to using cryptocurrencies, are you employing any other blockchain-related elements to your company’s technology?
As I’ve stated, we have no current plans to hold an ICO and involve a proprietary coin on Crypico. We may reevaluate this in the future but, at this point, a coin would complicate the process more than it would simplify it.
9. Are you worried about an existing large freelance community such as Fiver , Upwork, or People Per Hour introducing cryptocurrencies and will that hurt your site?
Having large competitors join the space is always a concern but, to compete with Crypico, companies like Fiverr, Upwork, or People Per Hour would have to make significant changes to their business model. Cryptocurrency is still a very new technology and this creates an advantage for smaller, more agile organizations who can adapt to the evolution of the industry.
10. As a startup founder, what is your biggest fear?
I suppose failure of the platform is the worst thing that could happen but even that doesn’t really scare me. We have a very strong team that has my full confidence. If we don’t find success in Crypico I’m confident we will in some other capacity. I love what I do and failure as a company isn’t failure as a person.
11. For fun: What is your go-to website for both regular news and hi-tech news?
Reddit is my go-to for basically everything on the internet. Occasionally TechCrunch but, honestly, if it’s that newsworthy its probably posted on Reddit.
12. For fun: What is the first thing you eat and drink in the morning?
Coffee and a plain bagel. I’m very consistent.
13. For fun: What website do you go to check when your internet isn’t working?
I’ll grab my phone and enable mobile hotspot. Unlimited data is pretty great.
14. For fun: Any advice for Startups #nofilter, in our quest to become the mecca of startup founder interviews?
I would suggest heavily marketing your interviews. Good press is very valuable in the startup-sphere and it would add a lot of incentive for founders to work with your platform.