Can you tell us about your background?
I have been working in the payments industry for over 30 years designing and implementing operational credit, debit, prepaid and mobile payment programs for major companies and financial institutions around the world. I am probably most well-known for developing and launching the world’s first mass-produced electronic gift card program. My idea at the time was to replace paper gift certificates with a plastic pre-paid card. In 1994 the concept was rolled out at Blockbuster and subsequently went on to change the face of the gifting industry.
What is BitLoad4U and what was the inspiration behind it?
I have been involved with digital currencies from 2011, since then, cryptocurrency investing has become a worldwide trend and delivered great returns for investors. But what’s the point of having a spectacular return on your bitcoin investment if you can’t spend your money? At some point bitcoin holders still want to be able to use their funds. No one wants to keep bitcoin purely as a souvenir or strictly as a store of value. The problem is, there is very limited acceptance for every day purchases and this brings us to the current issue of global utility.
BitLoad4U is going to be a bridge between the Virtual and Fiat currency. It is a virtual wallet and global payments platform where merchants and consumers can transact with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in a fast, cheap and effective way. Our users are able to deposit value from their bitcoin to a traditional financial instrument that is accepted in millions of merchant locations around the world including banks and ATM machines. Having that easy access to your money is the change we’re bringing to the world of bitcoin and crypto currencies. Within 5 years you’ll spend a bitcoin just like you spend the euro. BitLoad4U is also very committed to implementing and maintaining the highest standards of KYC. The more you want to transact, the more we want to know about you.
When do you see this going mainstream or will it ever?
When I invented the gift card no one had ever heard of it. Many of the large retailers said, “Williams, you have lost your mind, there is no such thing as a gift card,” and I said, “No, I invented it and now it exists”. Five years later, the companies I worked with produced one billion gift cards a year. Bitcoin has the potential to reshape the financial industry, yet some might still deny it becoming the next online payment method. But just as 25 years ago the simple gift voucher became the loyalty card we know and love today, eventually people will see its advantages and the utility it brings to the market. To merchants, for example, the fees are so much less than for the credit cards, there is no charge back and no fraud. The consumer will like it because it’s fast and pretty simple to use. There are also some very strategic advantages for ATM owners because BitLoad4U is going to drive more transactions to their machines.
Why did you decide to set up in Malta?
Malta is a great business location with a strong pro-blockchain environment. The Maltese Government has shown great support and willingness to engage with the blockchain community, and this is why I believe Malta is in a strong position to be a leader in the blockchain economy. But whenever you’re the first, you have to find your way — the road has not been paved ahead of you. I believe Malta can become a global business centre for blockchain industry. One of the key selling points of Malta is people. The people you can hire in Malta just seem to be exceptional.
How fast is your business expanding? What are the challenges?
The key problem is consumer awareness. People have heard of bitcoin, it has different connotations to different people. But when you ask the average person on the street if they know how to get a wallet, the answer is usually ‘no’. A bitcoin wallet is just something new and people often fear the unknown. We are building strong business relationships that will give us connectivity for transactions in over 60 countries for the 30 million cryptocurrency wallets that are currently active, but the market potential is far greater.
How is the gaming industry benefiting from this and how can gaming companies use B4U?MasterCard and Visa have a very high cost to the merchants, and are a subject to some regulatory issues. We provide the gaming houses with lower costs, greater security and faster, easier transactions for the players. The gaming industry is extremely attractive for fraudsters both large and small, they can be as high as 7 to 9 percent of a gaming companies’ expenses. For instance, a player buys a stolen credit card that off the internet and uses it to top up their gaming account, the gaming company is placing itself at serious risk of claw backs. With the security of bitcoin, we eliminated that risk completely. Within 5 seconds we can receive your bitcoin, process it, and then send the authorization to the gaming company, which also gives a second advantage of spontaneity. Placing a live bet once the football game has started is impossible if you don’t have funds in your account. But if you load your bitcoin and use a bitcoin wallet you can bet before the end of the commercial. That’s why this is a unique solution for the gaming companies. What I want to do is bring speed, convenience and utility to the gaming industry — that’s why we built the BitLoad4U.
What are your future plans?
I think now is one of the most exciting times in the payment industry. Old legacy players are the past, the next 3-5 years will be a very exciting time to see the transition from legacy banks and legacy payments to virtual payment platforms. Millennials have embraced the use of a smartphone technology, so we need to give them the utility and security of a smartphone. BitLoad4U is bringing an innovative banking alternative to the gaming community that is safe, secure and fast to drive usage and boost revenue. We are going to make cryptocurrency a new mainstream payment tender, easily available to the average consumer that works online, at an ATM and for a merchant purchase transaction.
T. Jack Williams is the founder of BitLoad4U. His speciality is to develop and implement prepaid debit card programs on a domestic or global scale. Jack previously served as president at Paymentcard Services and eCommLink, and senior vice president at Tier Technologies and National Processing Company, most recently.