André Horta, CEO at BitcoinToYou, explains how global cryptocurrency adoption promises swifter and more convenient transactions, especially for world travelers!

Ulyana Zilbermints: I’m excited to introduce André Horta, CEO at BitcoinToYou. André, this is our first interview with anyone in the cryptocurrency space–tell us about your journey!

André Horta: I always say I’m lucky to be a CEO because I come from a poor family in Brazil. My mom was an entrepreneur but never found great financial success. After working for a lot of companies in Latin America, the U.S., and Europe, I tried to open my own company. I failed the first time, but the second time, in 2010, I created BitcoinToYou.

UZ: How did you get into cryptocurrency?

AH: It all started because I made a donation to Africa. I looked at my bill one month later and realized I was paying government tax in addition to the donation amount. Paying taxes on a donation didn’t seem fair to me! So I researched how to make a donation to  another country without being taxed, and what I found was Bitcoin. I started buying and selling cryptocurrency after that, and then I decided to open a crypto exchange in the Portuguese language, which is BitcoinToYou.

UZ: Where is your company today, and what do you envision as the future of the industry?

AH: We started in Brazil, and now we are in Portugal. Portugal has favorable regulations for cryptocurrency, and Brazil is also working to pass bills approving these transactions. I know that Biden in the U.S. approved new regulations recently too, so I believe that soon many countries will have great regulations for cryptocurrency.

UZ: A lot of people have concerns about security when it comes to cryptocurrency. What are your thoughts on this?

AH: In the past, when you needed to communicate with someone, you’d write a letter and hand it to the post office to deliver. Now we send emails because it’s easier and faster. Money is the same: we used to pay in cash, and now we pay with credit cards; soon, everyone will pay with crypto because it’s easier. For example, you’re currently visiting Portugal from the U.S., and it’s hard to exchange dollars for euros, but crypto doesn’t face this same limitation. I believe that soon we’ll all have our money as cryptocurrency in an app that we can use to pay for anything we need in stores globally.

UZ: For anyone who’s new to cryptocurrency, what’s the safest place to start, and which platforms are high risk, high reward?

AH: I always say that you need to start where you’re going to invest, because this is what cryptocurrency is: an investment asset. Start small, and when you have knowledge and confidence, increase your investments. Bitcoin and crypto change our lives. I have customers and friends who used to be very poor, and now they can afford homes, cars, and a good education for their kids. So cryptocurrency is great, but you need to be careful about choosing which cryptocurrency you’re investing in and which company you’re investing through – you should always check the company’s background.

UZ: From your perspective, what are the top up-and-coming crypto companies?

AH: BitcoinToYou, Coinbase, Kraken, and Gemini.

UZ: As an entrepreneur, where do you see yourself continuing to grow?

AH: I’m totally focused on cryptocurrency because BitcointoYou only hastwelve years under its belt, so we’re just in the beginning phases compared to traditional financial companies like banks. Now is the time when big companies like Tesla and big banks like J.P. Morgan are starting to invest in crypto and offer it to their customers. There are a lot of banks and companies looking to partner with FinTechs like BitcoinToYou because we have the knowledge to offer this type of technology.

UZ: As we see more and more companies adopting crypto, what are the main regulations we still need to go through for companies and individuals to see that it’s safe?

AH: I believe that we need to regulate not cryptocurrency itself but the companies that work with cryptocurrency. For example, here in Portugal, Banco de Portugal, our central bank, gives a license for you to work with crypto. This is very good because when the government works together with FinTechs, companies, and startups on crypto, financial risks are lessened, which benefits everyone.

UZ: You have teams in Brazil and Portugal, just like we do. How do you foster teamwork and cultivate the company culture in multiple locations? 

AH: Distance is definitely a challenge, but I always say that it’s an opportunity too, because when you give your people the power to work from anywhere, they’re happier. When they’re happier, they produce more. You need to just make sure you’re all aligned and working on the same things.

UZ: Thank you for joining us today, Andre! It’s been great to hear from a cryptocurrency leader, and we look forward to watching your journey continue to unfold!

 

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Author

Ulyana Zilbermints

Ulyana Zilbermints is the Chief Revenue Officer at Avenue Code.


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