Written by Andrew Seale
There’s no use trying to peel apart the concepts of cryptocurrencies and the blockchain. Even when talked about separately, they’re eternally connected. “You really can't have one without the other,” says Adam Goldman, co-founder of Bitbuy.ca, a Canadian cryptocurrency trading platform. “Cryptocurrency is something we can use to scratch the surface of what blockchain can do.”
And yet, when Goldman started digging into cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies back in 2013, it didn’t seem like there was a surface for Canadians to even scratch at.
“Unless you were a developer, there was no way to associate yourself with cryptocurrencies,” recalls the entrepreneur, who had been drawn to computers since he was 13. Goldman and Jordan Anderson envisioned developing a platform that would break down the barrier to entry and get the average person access to cryptocurrencies. “We both came across Bitcoin and understood its importance,” says Goldman.
So in 2013, they launched the original incarnation of Bitbuy.ca under the name InstaBT, leaning into the education component. “We tried to help people understand the beginning metrics of how to get started, what is a wallet…” he says. “We wouldn't get into too many high-level things but we showed people what the ecosystem looks like.”
It was a simpler version of Bitbuy.ca than you see today, lacking a user-based login system and opting for a click-through process. “Everything was done right on the front page,” he says. “It was pretty simple but didn't really have the ability to scale.”
And it would need to scale. Between the start of 2013 and the beginning of 2014, the price of Bitcoin had risen from around $13 to $770. And it had further to climb still.
“The natural progression of (InstaBT) was into a buying and selling platform,” says Goldman. In 2016, the platform rebranded as Bitbuy.ca. Users can buy, sell, add, and, withdraw the top digital currencies – Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin – with the platform.
This past January, a group of private equity investors bought Bitbuy.ca, pulling it under the First Ledger Corp umbrella. In step with the natural inertia of the sector, Goldman has spent the past two years branching out into blockchain solutions with First Ledger.
“With BitBuy's parent company we offer development services, consulting and advisory services to a lot of other players in the space,” he says. The pivot allows him to capitalize on the network of relationships he’s built on both the banking payment side and the compliancy side of things. Especially given that Toronto continues to grow its blockchain footprint.
Goldman points to Toronto’s proximity to the U.S. combined with fibre links from Toronto and Vancouver into the south (“It’s as if we were another state as far as latency is concerned,” he says) as key assets. There's also a sense of camaraderie that’s always been there amongst blockchain startups, adds the Bitbuy.ca founder.
“Given Canada's initial approach to fostering technology and the types of communities we have here,” says Goldman. “It's almost not really by accident we've emerged as a crypto leader and a hub globally in the blockchain space.”
Photo Credit: Cameron Bartlett (www.snappedbycam.com)