Flashing red lights have been turned on this week in the crypto universe. The multimillion-dollar fall of the moon and UST, with its billions evaporated in just a few hours, do not exactly help to spread the message that it is the technology of the future. Leif Ferreira (Castellón, 36 years old), founder of Bit2me, the main Spanish platform for the sale of these assets, assumes the seriousness of the news. “The two projects were within the top 10 of the market and it is obviously shocking to see a collapse like this,” he acknowledges. Despite this, he believes that in the medium term they will come out stronger. “In the end they are start-ups where people deposit their time or money buying their products (tokens), as happens with companies, and not all companies turn out well. Let’s not forget that they are entrepreneurs trying to redefine the world we live in through mathematical and algorithmic codes that not all will succeed, ”she maintains.
Created in 2014, Bit2me aspires to gain a foothold in that ecosystem where it is still difficult to distinguish the grain from the chaff. They claim to have managed close to €1.1 billion in transactions in 2021, ten times more than in all their previous years combined. When someone buys or sells a cryptocurrency on their system, they receive a commission in return. They have 230 employees —which will be 300 at the end of the year—. And to their Spanish offices they have added another in Brazil, with which they seek to boost their presence in the Latin American market.
Their size is far from that of Binance or Coinbase, the global giants of the sector, but in the domestic sphere they have no rival for now, and Spain is one of the countries where the fever for these assets is spreading the most. This has placed them as interlocutors for those who seek to train their staff on such a complex matter, or for those who directly consider business options. “Tomorrow I have a meeting with bank executives. Entities know that the crypto revolution is here to stay and they want to be there. What’s the matter? That they don’t even have the knowhow, neither the experience, nor the team to be able to tackle it, that’s why they rely on us. Although they go at a different pace, they are not one start-up with which you close an agreement in a month”, he says sitting on a sofa at the entrance of the Hyatt Regency Hesperia hotel in Madrid.
Ferreira, a computer programmer by training, was not interested in finance when he first heard about bitcoin. He was more attracted to the technological side of him. But with millions of small investors jumped on the boat to buy and sell, it has become inevitable that the more speculative side will gain space in the headlines, even more so after the collapse of the moon, which threatened to cause a contagion effect. “The first hours were the most critical. Although we are not out of the woods yet, I think the worst is over. We will continue to see in the future projects that collapse or disappear. It is a very competitive market that offers many alternatives. What seems innovative today may be considered obsolete tomorrow”, he admits.
Among Bit2me users there are also those affected by the crash who had chosen them as intermediaries. “The fact that we have these projects listed does not guarantee their success, but before doing so we consider the technology, the development and the markets in which it is present. Obviously, there are affected users who had moons in their wallets. We do not intervene in the price set by the market”, he affirms.
He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.
Will this stop the bright future that some predicted for the industry? “Perhaps for inexperienced investors, who do not know the fundamentals of the technology, it could be a reason not to invest or to consider that the risk is too high. But we have seen time and time again that the crypto market reinvents itself with new solutions that attract the same investors again or new ones, ”he defends.
In the recurring discussion about whether bitcoin is a means of payment or just an investment, Ferreira does not take sides. “There are countries where it can be very interesting as a means of investment, for example in Europe, but things are not the same for everyone. In Latin America it can serve as a reserve of value against a weaker local currency”.
Regulators often warn that by moving outside of commercial banking circles, cryptocurrencies can facilitate money laundering. Ferreira doesn’t think his volume is remarkable. “It is true that there are more crimes than a couple of years ago, but it is because the number of people who use bitcoin has multiplied. At a percentage level it is ridiculous compared to traditional money. Using bitcoin for crime is the stupidest thing you can do because it’s traceable.”
In little more than a decade, cryptocurrencies have grown a lot in number and value, but they are still not an alternative to real money in everyday and mass use. What is to come next? “What is coming is very difficult to try to visualize. Surely the reality will end up being very different from what we imagine, because what is happening in all this technology is that the best brains on the planet are collaborating to improve and create solutions through decentralized and open source platforms.
Exclusive content for subscribers
read without limits