Damian Merlak, Bitstamp Cofounder


It all began once I found out about bitcoins. At first I bought some for around two dollars apiece and I also started mining them. I bought hardware at a computer store owned by Nejc Kodrič, who had a computer store. I had to explain to him why I was going to use my unreasonably configured computer for. Two best graphic cards, the slowest processor and the worst RAM. Everyone, who sells this to you, will ask what is wrong with you, why are you buying that? So I was forced to explain myself, which wasn’t really that hard as I was really into bitcoins. Actually I was glad to explain. Soon after Nejc also started to mine bitcoins. and we started to meet over beer, and we talked about bitcoin. At the time the largest exchange was Mt. Gox and we knew we wanted to do a business centred on bitcoin – I won’t say cryptocurrencies because bitcoin was then the only one. We somehow calculated Mt. Gox was making around 10.000 dollars per day. So we thought to ourselves, if we do the same thing, nothing drastically better, we can probably earn the same amount of money. That is how our idea for Bitstamp was born. Bitcoin is not made for micro-transactions or for enormous number of payments. Bitcoin can function as a settlement system, but we can make a service another level above it where bitcoin can function as a working payment system. It doesn’t matter if it is decentralized or centralized for it to allow fast micropayments. Economic crisis won’t have a dramatic effect on cryptocurrencies. It will be more damaging for stocks, which are in portfolios of retirement funds, insurance and mutual funds. When people start to withdraw their savings those funds start losing assets and the prices of stocks fall. Bitcoin doesn’t have any relation to that. We have a feeling that everyone is talking cryptocurrencies but that is not the case, only Slovenians are talking about them. Yes, there is interest in cryptocurrencies in many parts of the world, but when you take into account all the billions of people it is only a tiny fraction. Cryptocurrencies have therefore a lot more room to grow. In Slovenia on the other hand, cryptocurrencies are a hit. But we have to understand this is also happening because of Bitstamp, because Nejc and me are on the list of the wealthiest Slovenians and people are bound to talk about that and buy bitcoin. The largest part of my earnings was and still is in cryptocurrencies. My share in Bitstamp represents more 90 percent of my net wealth and is tightly bound to cryptocurrencies. All my additional money is therefore not invested in cryptocurrencies but diversified in other investments, for instance real estate. Nejc and I are owners of a cow farm. Our president Borut Pahor used to say Slovenia can become a silicon valley. Now it could become a crypto valley. The government has become active in the last couple of months, but I fear it is just a part of political campaign for next year election. What I think they are doing is going on Facebook seeing the number of people in groups dedicated to cryptocurrencies, they calculate how many friends and family members they have and think those can add up to votes in elections. I hope I’m wrong and some good things will start happening. We are making a platform for trading cryptocurrencies and tokens amongst themselves. Bitstamp enables exchange between traditional and cryptocurrencies, while tokens.net will enable exchange between cryptocurrency pairs. Our point of difference is the fact that I know what it takes for a system of that magnitude to function. And I also know what is waiting for us in regards to laws and regulation. Bitstamp went through all of that already and the same will occur to ICO market. Other players are not as prepared and they will run into trouble. The reason is simple, many exchanges were made overnight, more as hobby projects, yet they have grown to become very big companies. Our project on the other hand is designed to withstand the challenges that arise with becoming big. Economy is changing at such a pace it is hard to predict, where we will be in three years and what we’ll be doing. You have to go with the flow and make good adjustments to changes. It is very important to know, that if you want to buy a cryptocurrency you don’t need anyone to sell it to you in traditional sense. Go to an online exchange and buy it, you don’t need someone to come to your doorstep with a new cryptocurrency that usually ends up being a scam. My advice would be, look carefully into the project, google the people involved and see if you can trust them. This is the same as in startup world. Venture capital funds always invest in teams in people, and you should do the same in the ICO market. Don’t believe everything that is written in white papers, that is just marketing. It changed the little things, and a lot of them. I have less true friends than before, but I gained more acquaintances. There are always more people around me, which is not the case with my friends. Some of my old friends have become more distant through the years. At the same time it is hard to make new friends as most people don’t have honest intentions.

6 thoughts on “Damian Merlak, Bitstamp Cofounder”

  1. Damian Merlak is also the co-founder of Quantum Project #QAU $QAU https://www.quantumproject.org/ https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/quantum/

  2. Interesting thing, why do they let some Korean gamer to role Bitstamp now, they do it for a reason- to involve new stupid coins, and manipulate them after

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