My name is Adam O’Brien, I am the Founder & CEO here at Bitcoin Well. I would like to take the next two minutes and explain why I started the company in 2013, and the values that continue to drive our decisions and actions today. For fun, here is a photo from one of our first machine installations in Saskatoon, SK back in 2014!
We exist to enable independence. Plain and simple. When you use a Bitcoin Well product or service it should be because you want more autonomy and power as an individual. In fact, it is my belief that the way Bitcoin protects an individual’s rights and freedoms are its greatest asset, not the “financial” aspect of bitcoin (though that is also important!)
How do independence and Bitcoin collide?
When you incorporate independence into your bitcoin journey, the process naturally gets safer. For example, a core piece to our business is the fact that we are non-custodial. This means that at no point in time do we hold your bitcoin. We empower you to take and maintain complete control of your coins; immediately.
If I’m being honest, this has made building our products more difficult and more expensive. But the trade off has been well worth it as we can say with certainty that we are the safest platform in the world. This is an obvious key function to enabling independence. It is demonstrated in our workflow when you buy bitcoin, you are required to enter a bitcoin address.
Buy bitcoin - be independent!
Another example of how we enable independence is in our Bill Payment product. You can pay any household bill at bitcoinwell.com/bills. This gives bitcoiners in Canada that are “all in” the ability to live solely on bitcoin without any exposure to the fiat legacy financial system. Even if your favourite store doesn’t accept bitcoin, you can use a credit card (someone else’s fiat) and pay that card off with bitcoin (directly from your custody) any time you please. This means you can hold your money, and use it at the same time. A function that is not possible in the existing banking infrastructure.
Use bitcoin - anywhere!
Unfortunately, for those in USA this isn’t live yet (operation choke point, anyone?) but we also offer the ability to spend bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies) to buy gift cards to your favourite store! This is, of course, a little less independent as you are locked to where you can spend those gift cards (tough to spend a Starbucks gift card at Dunkin’!) but it does give you the ability to spend sats where you otherwise couldn’t, and I think that’s a pretty good start.
How does self-custody bitcoin empower independence?
I touched on it up above, but I do think it’s a really important note. The fact that Bitcoin Well is non-custodial probably seems like like one a very slight distinction, but is actually bigger than it might appear on the surface. Granted, all platforms will allow you to withdraw, the difference is in the mindset that goes behind the decision to make it “allowed” vs forced (like we do in our non-custodial model). The main risk to customers leaving bitcoin on the platform they buy it from so far has been malice or incompetence by the platform. The fact that platforms even allow users to leave coins on there enables complacency.
“I’ll withdraw later” or “I’ll set up a new wallet later” or (and even worse) “I think I’ll just leave them there until I want to sell” are all symptoms of platforms that do not want to enable independence. They want to enable price exposure to bitcoin. But that isn’t the best part of bitcoin…
Bitcoin is all about freedom. In fact, bitcoin is probably the greatest and most powerful tool we have to earn freedom. And when you store bitcoin elsewhere, you are giving up that freedom. This is something I believe wholeheartedly and our values and products reflect that.
My thoughts on custody @ Bitcoin Rodeo 👇
Understanding that bitcoin is more than just a number on a screen, or a way to earn more dollars is a key part in your bitcoin journey. Bitcoin is NOT just for wealth creation, it is for wealth preservation. And it is very difficult to preserve your wealth if you do not control it. I could go on, but I’ll spare you the rant (you can always catch those on my YouTube channel!) When you use Bitcoin Well, you have my promise that we are in the background supporting you on your bitcoin journey. We are mission driven and set on empowering you to control your bitcoin yourself. We exist to enable independence.
Thanks for joining us on your bitcoin journey! Whether you have questions about our products, or you would like to become an investor, or you just want to chat about bitcoin, please let me know by replying to this email.