In this video, you will hear Brandon Mintz, the founder, and CEO of Bitcoin Depot, one of the first professional OTC crypto trading companies in the world. Bitcoin Depot is also the fastest-growing company and one of the household names in the Crypto ATM space. He will talk about how he got into crypto, how he started his company, and managed to scale it to one of the largest Bitcoin ATM companies in the world. He will also discuss how unbanked people are realizing the power of crypto.
Of course, Brandon started off with how he got into the whole idea of Crypto ATMs. He explained how back in 2013 he spent numerous hours trying to complete a transaction at Coinbase after which they just canceled the order when the price of Bitcoin went up. Later on, he discovered a suspicious looking site that offered to exchange Bitcoin for money after just 15 minutes. He decided to risk it, and it turned out legit. That gave him the idea to make crypto transfers easier for everyone else and help with the overall crypt adoption.
Introducing the unbanked to Crypto
Speaking about their customers, Brandon is saying that they are doing well in all areas: The high class, the middle class, and the lower class. But he emphasized the trend where the under-banked and unbanked lower class people are starting to realize that there is a new way of handling their funds, and they started to gravitate towards Bitcoin ATMs. They agree on the fact that there are a lot of people who, due to various circumstances, do not have a bank account or are simply not educated enough about the banking system.
Having that in mind, one of the goals of Bitcoin Depot is to continue introducing these people to crypto, by providing them a physical presence in form of the ATM and a sense of security with non-stop support where they can get all the information they need. Brandon also emphasizes that in communication with the customers it is important to keep things as simple as possible so they are not frightened by the complexity of the whole crypto concept.
The Importance of Gathering Data
When asked about how many of their users come back to use the machines again, Brandon revealed that over half of the people are repeating customers. Building upon that, he pointed out that understanding customer needs is something they are working on more and more. Surveying the users to a certain extent and gathering data is their goal for the future. That way they can improve the user experience and try to increase that repeating customer percentage.
Dealing with store owners
Talking about the locations Mintz explained how he had trouble convincing the owners to add the machines in their stores. That was in the beginning when there was very little public knowledge about crypto. At first, he concentrated on smoke shops and liquor stores and found it very difficult to explain the concept of Bitcoin to the skeptical owners. Only after he changed the approach is when he started to see some improvement. He simplified his pitch, telling them that he just wants to rent a space in their store and put a machine that accepts cash. Shortly after, he got up to 45 stores which made Bitcoin Depot the second-largest Bitcoin ATM company in the world.
Scaling the Business
Bitcoin Depot started in 2013, but all the way up to 2017 Brandon was the only full-time employee. In the interview, he shared his fears of scaling. To him, it meant that he would need to give control of the business where he invested 100% of the money and rely on someone else. But, since he was working 80\90 hours a week, and still going to school, he was pretty much forced to hire someone to help.
In 2017 he started hiring full-time employees. After a while, he had a compliance officer, an accountant, and a customer support agent. That’s when he faced another challenge. Now he had to expand the teams and go beyond only one person.
His advice on this matter is to find a person who you think you can trust and then shadow them and transfer as much of your knowledge and expertise as possible until you are comfortable to let them be autonomous. You may need to go through a couple of candidates, but he assures us that persistence pays off.
We may say that Brandon knows what he is doing, having in mind that in 3-4 years in which he started expanding from being the only employee, Bitcoin Depot grew up to 70 full-time employees and 15 part-time contractors.
At the end of the interview, they touched upon the importance of supporting the customers. Since the Bitcoin ATM machines are different than bank ATMs in the sense that they are programmable and can be used in different ways, it is crucial to provide the users a feeling of security with an option to get an instant response to any of their questions.
Bitcoin Depot support officers are trained to handle the inquiries that are largely basic due to the fact that the bigger part of the customers is not educated enough about the cryptocurrency or technology in general.
The biggest challenge in their experience clarifying the concept of mempool to the confused customers. It can sometimes be tough to explain that they are not being scammed, but are simply waiting for their transaction to be confirmed.
After listening to this interesting conversation, we can notice that as a Bitcoin ATM operator it is important to stay in touch with your customers. Either by customer support or surveying, you should gather the data and use it to improve the customer experience. When interacting with the users keep it simple, and do not frighten them with too much technical information. That way you can reach out to the unbanked group of people who are not familiar with financial services in general. Also, scaling the business can be a scary process but it pays off in the end if you do it properly.