As a cryptocurrency investor based in Canada, Justin Hartzman said he knows the pain of investing in cryptocurrencies – withdrawal and deposit delays, security issues and verification troubles. So he decided to do something about it by co-founding CoinSmart, a digital currency exchange focused on simplifying cryptocurrency investing for participants of all experience levels through a simple interface, education and customer support.
Mr. Hartzman said he has long invested in different asset classes and, in comparison to the mechanisms provided by more established classes, cryptocurrency exchanges and platforms provided brutal service and made it hard to access your own money. Customer service? Forget about it. He could wait four weeks for an email response.
Those travails helped shape CoinSmart, whose vision is making cryptocurrency accessible, Mr. Hartzman said. It begins with striking while the iron is hot, as investors can be verified in minutes. Instead of waiting for pairs, investors can directly trade between any coins or with the Canadian dollar instead of having to first trade to Bitcoin or Ethereum.
“No one else does this,” Mr. Hartzman said.
CoinSmart currently offers Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash ABC, Monero and Dash, Mr. Hartzman said. There are plans to add several more coins in the coming weeks.
Mr. Hartzman said he believes the Canadian market is primed for growth. Its current size is nowhere near the five percent of Canadians the federal government believes it is. He estimates it is between 180,000-300,000. The feds can help it grow by enacting laws and regulations which help build trust in the industry.
“Market conditions are scaring people,” Mr. Hartzman said. “Regulation will help and it will attract larger institutions, who make larger bets. Better custodial services will also help and they are coming.”
Because cryptocurrency markets are so new, education will play a key part in the growth, Mr. Hartzman said. CoinsSmart’s GetSmart Hub offers articles and guides and the platform is structured so investors of different knowledge levels can stay active. Funds are placed in accounts within 24 hours of a transaction, a move made possible through CoinSmart’s partnerships with several exchanges around the world, Mr. Hartzman said. The ability to exchange any pair or move from fiat to one of seven cryptocurrencies removes several steps which can deter novices.
“The proprietary algorithm matches pairs on demand so you”re not losing on opportunities,” Mr. Hartzman said.
CoinSmart’s investors are active participants, Mr. Hartzman said. Only 30 percent of coins are held on the platform, with the remainder kept in the investor’s own cold storage solution.
So while things are progressing slowly, the cryptocurrency industry is indeed progressing, Mr. Hartzman said, comparing its current state to the cannabis industry circa 2013-2014.
“Yes it’s a valid asset class, and yes there’s more risk,” Mr. Hartzman said. “We just have to ride it out.”
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