Bitcoin 2014: Exclusive interview with Jumio's Marc Barach

Jumio's Marc Barach talks about why Jumio is bullish on Bitcoin. He believes the crypto currency needs a killer-app or service before it can truly soar.

Last weekend was an important weekend for Bitcoin. Bitcoin 2014 was held in Dutch capital Amsterdam. For three days, the Passenger Terminal Amsterdam became the place-to-be for everyone who loves Bitcoin. We saw many keynote speakers and panels discuss the future of cryptocurrencies. Among all the ideas and hopes for the future, there were also people who came to show what they mean for Bitcoin right now. They are the ones who are helping cryptocurrencies reach the common people. One of these enterprises is Jumio. CCN sat down with Marc Barach, Chief Marketing Officer of Jumio. We talked about Jumio, Bitcoin, a 'browser' and lots of other interesting things.

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Speedy verification

[dropcap size=small]M[/dropcap]r. Barach was sitting in the back of Bitcoin 2014's media centre. A calm, light room which proved to be the perfect place to sit down and talk about virtual currencies.

CCN: Good afternoon Mr. Barach. Just to make sure all our readers are equally informed, could you explain what Jumio does for the Bitcoin industry?

Marc Barach: Jumio is a company who focuses on providing solutions for online payments and ID verification. We use computer vision technology to scan your ID or banking cards. Through a state-of-the-art backend system, we are able to verify your identity almost instantly.  You can imagine what such a service could mean to a Bitcoin company. Up until now, customers were always obliged to manually enter their credentials when they wanted to use any of these services. Even worse, mostly they also had to provide a scanned copy of their ID card and/or a proof of residency. It's clear that this is a major bottleneck for these companies. These verification processes tend to take really long, not to mention the fact that many customers simply click away when a register form like that appears. We provide a full solution for this.

CCN: That sounds like a great product indeed. You have been around for years in this business. When did you decide to focus on Bitcoin as well?

Marc Barach: We always look out for products that can benefit greatly from our solutions. We've been working with many other websites, being around for a longer time provides us with enough experience to approach new technologies.  Of course, we heard about Bitcoin before. We were closely monitoring its growth and in February, we decided to jump onto that train. No matter how you look at it, Bitcoin is hot. We believe in it, and we want to help it grow. We recently launched our BISON (Bitcoin Identity Security Open Network) project, which you probably have heard of.

Bullish on Bitcoin

CCN: It was all over the internet a few days ago. How is that project going?

Marc Barach: It's going great. We are working together with a few initial members right now, like CoinMkt. We announced a number of names when we went public with the release of BISON, but we're aiming far bigger than that. We have about 30 other names waiting to be released, including some big players. Right now, we offer the best ID verification service. We want to get to the point where many websites use our service to verify their users. It greatly improves security on both ends, and when the majority of Bitcoin companies are onboard, people will start wondering why some websites aren't. That way, we can make our verification process an industry standard.

CCN: So how does it exactly improve security on both ends?

Marc Barach: If there is one thing bad people don't like, it's providing images they can't mess around with. When you have to provide your details the old-fashioned way, there are tons of options to manipulate this. Nobody sees you; you are free to use every tool available to alter your information. Our service activates your camera; you are literally holding your ID card in front of it. Doing shady things becomes less appealing when you know you're being filmed. Nobody in their right mind would risk that. We can never give our clients 100% certainty that nobody tries to scam them, but we can reduce the risk to a bare minimum. This works on both sides, especially considering the bad stuff that happened in the Bitcoin universe lately. There is a  great need for good security software, and we think we can be a great part of it.

CCN: Entering the Bitcoin market makes me believe you have faith in virtual currencies. How do you see the future? What can we do to make Bitcoin grow even more?

Marc Barach: As I said before, Bitcoin is hot. We're seeing a lot of merchants accepting Bitcoin right now, and that is a good thing. However, what Bitcoin really needs is 'a browser.' We're calling it a browser because that was what made the internet explode back in the nineties. Bitcoin needs this killer-app or service that makes people realize they actually benefit from using it. I can go online and buy things with bitcoins right now. Take Patrick Byrne, the guy is a hero. He stood up for what he believed in and told the world Overstock accepts Bitcoin as a payment method. A lot of people are buying things with bitcoins but still, considering the overall daily volume of Overstock, virtual currencies are just a tiny piece of it all. People have no real reason to use it. I can buy the same items with dollars or euros, there is no real advantage to using Bitcoin. I'm still waiting until someone makes items bought with virtual currencies cheaper. After all, using Bitcoin is less expensive than using your credit card. Give people a real incentive to use it. That's what we are thinking about at this conference. The currency is here, we know why we want to use it, now we need to let the rest of the world know why they need it. As you can see, we are very bullish on it. We believe Bitcoin has its place in the future. Back in the days, no mobile phone provider expressed concerns when WhatsApp was launched. Right now, text messages are handled mostly through WhatsApp's network. The same will happen to the people who think Bitcoin  is just a fading trend.

Jumio is bullish on Bitcoin and, after talking to Mr. Barach, it's not hard to see why. CCN will keep an eye out for future announcements by this interesting company. Their service could really make a difference.

 

Last modified (UTC): May 22, 2014 6:01 AM

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Christoph Marckx @cryptomaniacs

Internet addict and virtual currency aficionado living in Belgium. I work in a school, where I am responsible for every computer and the entire network that keeps our students connected to the world. I love cryptocurrencies, mostly because it gives us a chance to take back our freedom. If we do this right, there are exciting times ahead!

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