First Western Australian Bitcoin Exchange DWVx Partners with Westpac Bank

Journalist:
P. H. Madore @bitillionaire
April 25, 2015

Western Australia is an under-served area as far as Bitcoin exchanges go. West Australia alone is as large as Western Europe, a region that encompasses nine countries.

Despite the Internet’s tendency to shrink the planet, Bitcoin is a store of value, which entails risks all its own, so the creators of Digital World Ventures, the company which is backing DWVx, believe that people in Western Australia will feel more comfortable dealing with a local exchange. To this end, they are planning to have a physical location for people to deposit cash in order to buy Bitcoin.

DWVx runs on Alphapoint, the same software that powers industry heavyweight Bitfinex. Its founders believe that this alone puts it ahead of many other exchanges on the market who use what might be considered inferior technology. While the present version of the exchange does not yet offer it, they indicated that they are willing to consider implementing margin trading if there is enough demand for it.

James Clarke and Ian Davies, the dynamic team of financial industry veterans behind DWVx, spoke to CCN last week via Skype. Topics discussed included the challenges of working in a crowded Bitcoin exchange market, the history of financial technology, and the future of DWVx.

Also read: Colombia Gets First Local Bitcoin Exchange

From PayPal Skeptic to Bitcoin Proponent

Davies first came to technology in the early 2000s, working in one of Australia’s first Internet cafes and moved onto work in web design. Later, he moved on to work for technology leader IBM in a support capacity. Clarke indicated that he had been working in the Web 1.0 era, and so it was only fair to ask him what his first impressions of PayPal had been when it came on the scene. Like most, he said was a bit skeptical about it.

My first impression was being quite naïve at the time, and I guess a little bit skeptical. You saw that, and you thought, how would this possibly work with you handing over your physical money in a digital capacity almost, and then who would be looking after it on the other end? So it’s somewhat ironic that [years later] here we are, talking about Bitcoin.

Clarke and Davies met at Westpac, the mammoth Australian bank, and they worked on a lot of projects together. They say that the antiquated technological means by which traditional banks move money were a big part of the impetus for becoming interested in Bitcoin and later founding an exchange.

Says Clarke:

Naturally, when we got our hands on Bitcoin, we started moving into the mining, I guess, as more of a fun orientated, sort of playing with the technology, moved into the mining space, and we kind of progressed from there.

Davies added to this:

I hope something that DWV can bring to the Bitcoin community is that best practice / guidelines / framework process. I think that’s something really lacking.

What Makes DWVx Different

When asked what differentiates DWVx from others, Davies said that the firm’s biggest selling point was its bleeding edge trading platform, provided by Alphapoint. Clarke said:

[Alphapoint] also gives us the option to go multi-currency. For now, we are focusing on the Australian market. We want to really kind of bring this journey with our user base, to work through what the users want. We’re going to be regularly engaging our customers and see what enhancements we can add to our service and really meet the demand. Once we feel happy with that service we’re offering. And that reflects based on brand loyalty and hopefully increased reputation, I think, as Ian highlighted, we can definitely look at those other areas [like margin trading.]

Our background, with a high caliber, I could say, sort of customer-centric roles we’ve worked within, doing service delivery operational management roles, we’ve always had that ethos about customers, you know, were the most important value that a company can have. So we want to make sure that to DWVx and when we compare ourselves all the other exchanges in the Australian market, we’ve played around previously, and this is kind of why we’ve come to this point is we’ve played around in the space of exchanges, we’ve used exchanges. And we’ve found often ourselves frustrated by the lack of support or transparency, accessibility with those exchanges, so for us, we know we can offer better service based on our experience.

For Australians, too, partnering with a large bank enables smoother transactions from fiat to Bitcoin and vice versa. The company is still exploring options on where and how to open a physical location, but they feel that it is very important to have a physical presence for people to be able to interact with, especially in terms of making cash deposits and getting real-time customer support.

People are already worried about just sending their cash off to a random bank account. You know, so with Mt. Gox and stuff just disappearing, it’s nice to be able to go in and see the person you’re actually handing the cash over to, and getting that instant gratification of seeing the coins in your account, much like LocalBitcoins.

Interesting to note is that neither of the pair are actually born and raised in Australia, but they both have now called it home for most of the last decade. Davies said, “I’m more of an international person than a person of one nation, I guess,” given that he was born in Germany and raised in Britain. However, this author can attest that his accent sounded like any other Australian – which probably has to do with the author being American. DWVx is open for traders around the world, though if you want to cash out in fiat, you will have to have an Australian bank account.

Last modified (UTC): April 26, 2015 17:26

P. H. Madore @bitillionaire

P. H. Madore has written for CCN since 2014. Please send breaking news tips or requests for investigation to bitillionaire+phm@gmail.com. He lives in Maine, USA. A single father of four young children, he does not discourage financial donations, provided they do not come with strings attached.