All Posts in “People”

Andreas M. Antonopoulos at The Bitcoin Address

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We were lucky enough to host international speakers Andreas M. Antonopoulos, Pamela Morgan and Tatiana Moroz at Australia’s largest Bitcoin meetup for 2014, The Bitcoin Address.

The free and open-to-public event ran over two days in two cities, with over 370 attendees and thousands of livestream viewers worldwide. A key highlight of #TBA14 was a live Q&A platform, allowing anyone to ask a question to our speakers, as voted by global technological consensus.

In under 24 hours, The Bitcoin Address ‘sold out’, with people travelling all around the country for a chance to hear Bitcoin expert Andreas M. Antonopoulos speak. The local Australian Bitcoin community banded together to host a series of events around the visit, including a smart contracts Q&A, Bitcoin 101 sessions and an afterparty at Sydney’s Metropolitan Hotel (bitcoin-friendly, of course).

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Andreas spoke about different topics across the two days. In Melbourne, he inspired the audience with his discussion on the revolutionary impacts of Bitcoin in unbanked economies and broken marketplaces. He also shared his personal experiences, his discovery of Bitcoin and the importance of developing user-friendly technology that interface with Bitcoin.

In Sydney, Andreas provided valuable insights on the technical side of some of the more advanced features of the blockchain, and inspired the audience on the potential of its technology. Specifically, he delved into the new features being added to the blockchain such as nLockTime, smart contracts, multi-sig technology, consumer protection features and the danger of early regulation.

US singer-songwriter Tatiana Moroz was also a popular favourite, performing the “Bitcoin Jingle”. She shared about how she discovered a movement that aligned with her personal values and how she has used cryptocurrency to help monetize her music.  Bitcoin law and smart contracts expert Pamela Morgan also explained how the blockchain can be used to facilitate and automate complex legal transactions.

The Bitcoin Address was a chance for us to give back to the Australian community. Our customers are an integral part of our growth and this was a way for us to say thank you. It has been quite a year for Bitcoin, and we’ve been quietly reinventing CoinJar,  building products for the future of consumer finance.

By far our favourite event for the year, The Bitcoin Address was a whirlwind of incredible and inspiring discourse, beers, sushi and laughs. We can’t wait for the next one.

For more Bitcoin news and events, subscribe to our newsletter, or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

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Meet the team – Zhoe

People are curious about digital finance and they’re demanding more information, tools and resources. As part of the Marketing team, I’m looking forward to CoinJar being a leader in this space and an active participant in the conversation.

Over the next year, it is my goal that we are clear and consistent in all CoinJar communications, from our blog to our interactions with you on social media. As a consumer-focussed company, we’ll be making sure that we stay relevant and useful to you too.

You’ll also be seeing a lot more of us, as we grow the CoinJar brand and strengthen our voice in the finance industry. After all, we are advocates of disruptive innovation and big supporters of the underdog.

I am thrilled to be joining the team behind CoinJar because of its people, the products and service it offers and what it represents. Beyond being a digital currency, digital finance presents the opportunity for greater accessibility, empowerment and freedom in a global scale. And it is exciting that as Australia’s leading bitcoin company, CoinJar is in a prime position to play a part in making this a reality.

Work Experience At CoinJar – Emily’s Story

At CoinJar, we focus on innovation. Innovation is led through education and collaboration. Last week Emily, a Year 10 student from Lauriston Girls’ School, who is fascinated with tech and start-ups, joined us for a week to do her work experience with our team. Here is her story.

Why I decided to do work experience at CoinJar

Work experience was coming up and I had already tried the usual ‘fun’ places like the aquarium, but they were already booked out. That was when I decided that I should use this opportunity to do something that I could learn from and do something that I’m interested in. When I thought about what my interests were I didn’t really come up with anything. Then I realised that bitcoin was something that I was fascinated with. I looked up CoinJar and after looking at their website I saw that this was a great opportunity. Not only am I involved with bitcoin but also the fact that they’re a start-up company was different. So when the CEO, Asher got back to me and accepted my request I was super excited.

Getting Started

Even though I was really excited and nervous about coming to CoinJar, I wasn’t expecting to actually be doing much. What else is a 16 year old student good for apart from getting the team’s coffee or just hanging around? This, from what I’d heard, was a usual day of work experience. The CoinJar team set up an account on Basecamp for me, so that they can contact and communicate with me before I arrived. I was shocked that they had bothered to take the time.

Arriving on my first day I knew that I had a day full of meeting new people so you can imagine how nervous I was. When I got there I met Andrew and Anne who were very welcoming and friendly which helped to settle the nerves. After talking to them about what I wanted to get out of this experience I proceeded to have a meeting with everyone working at CoinJar. This gave me an amazing insight into what each person does to help run the online business. From having a quick interview with everyone, I could see how driven everyone was to the company’s success. Which is what allows for the atmosphere to be so relaxed and comfortable.

My tasks for the week

On the first day they set me up with two tasks for the week, one was to write this blog and the other was to create a campaign targeting my demographic to educate them about bitcoins. I was really eager to get immersed into creating this campaign. Once I actually began to try and think of ideas I realised that this was not an easy task. On Wednesday, Anne, Andrew and James were going to Hub Melbourne’s Spark Event at the NAB Village and invited me to join them. It was a business event designed to help people communicate and sustain new ideas. They had four great guest speakers give enlightening talks and run a few workshops. I really enjoyed it and got a lot of information and tools from the experience.

My Campaign – Yogurt and Bitcoins

The campaign has been the main focus of my week at CoinJar. I was really excited to have the chance to create an actual campaign for them even if it didn’t work. I finally came up with the idea to use a Frozen Yoghurt franchise to support bitcoin. Using CoinJar’s bitcoin vouchers and promoting the campaign by posting a 30 second Flipagram on social media to get people involved.

Sam talked me through how to write up and deliver a pitch. The write up forced me to consider all of the elements and really think through what the campaign is going to do and the outcome. After I finished the write up I began going through the process of collecting the contacts of any potential partners. I then began to draft an email to send out outlining my campaign. It took me some time to finish because I was learning how to get my idea across in a concise and simple manner without going into too much detail. After sending the email on the Thursday I was shocked to find that, on Friday morning, I had a reply from one of the stores I had contacted. He was interested in discussing the idea further which is more than I ever expected when I first started planning the campaign.

Final Thoughts

I have learned so much in my week here. From day 1 I was exposed to every part of how the business runs and how to use an idea to build a company. One of the insights that kept reoccurring was how everyone working at CoinJar wanted to be there and contribute to its success. Everyone gave me the same advice about choosing a career path: to follow what I wanted to do and created jobs that suited me rather than to suit yourself to a job.

I will carry that advice for a long time because I saw firsthand how much each of them enjoys their job because they followed that advice. Another aspect from this work experience that I will take away with me is that start-ups are really unique in the way they operate. By not being a huge company they have an advantage. By not having a hierarchy it creates a comfortable environment where ideas are openly shared. Being a small business, they are able to be part of the team, however wacky and crazy it might be. Overall this has been an amazing experience and opportunity and I would like to thank the team at CoinJar for making it happen. Best of luck for the future!

Meet the Team – Asher

Happy birthday CoinJar! Over the past twelve months Ryan and I, as founders, have had the good fortune of watching our company grow into one of Australia’s successful startups. Along the way, we’ve built a talented team and developed a dedicated following amongst our customers. It’s been a fantastic first year.

You may already be familiar with some of our team members through our Meet the Team series. Although there are new faces in the CoinJar family, primary cultural themes have remained. We strive to be professional, human and flexible – both internally, and towards our customers. I want this culture to remain as an integral part of us through our journey.

Early readings suggested to me that, “being the best in the world is seriously underrated”. While the benchmark for bitcoin companies is low, that does not excuse us from striving to be exceptional. We are designing and building on the forefront of financial technology. While we’re at it, we also want to be a great company to work at. We want to deliver world class experiences to everyone we work with – our customers, partners and employees.

Whether it is Andrew, our Support Lead, advocating more consistent support response times, or our Creative Director, Cade, looking to humanise the way we interact with financial interfaces, it’s been clear to me since day one that our products should be in a distinctively different class from everything out there. Being a profitable company would not be a source of pride if I wasn’t personally excited by what we build at CoinJar.

Payments and usage of money are a daily activity that we take for granted. We want users to love and be surprised by our products and services and, from this, build a personal relationship with our company. Because of bitcoin and the blockchain, we collectively have the opportunity to achieve this. As our Engineering Team, lead by Aron, refines the stability and security of our products, our goal of being the industry leader becomes closer every day.

Thanks for journeying with CoinJar this far – I hope you continue to follow us as we enter our second year of operations.

Asher Tan
Chief Executive Officer
@ashertn

Meet the Support Team – Adrian and Chris

In yesterday’s post I briefly introduced Adrian and Chris, who’ve recently joined the CoinJar Customer Support team. This post is their chance to tell you a bit about themselves, why they joined CoinJar, and what they have planned for the coming months.

Adrian

Adrian

Nowadays when I’m asked what I do for a living, I don’t often get the response I’m used to. When I was at Apple working as a technician, I would usually get raised eyebrows, a polite acknowledgement of Apple’s success, quite often followed by a seemingly prearranged list of troubleshooting requests.

Since coming to CoinJar, I’m now met with a completely different response. The entire concept of Bitcoin is utterly fascinating to those not already holding BTC. My next ten minutes are usually filled with questions about how bitcoins work and what my Support role at CoinJar involves. It’s a topic that a lot of people are very excited to learn more about.

In my past experience, the true quality of a company can be measured not by their successes, but how they deal with their failures. It’s when they make a mistake, or you’re unsure about how to use their product or service, that you really give them a chance to make a difference in your personal experience.

Spending time at Apple as a technician, I got to see first hand what great Support can do. I’ve seen people come in cursing the sky, and then walking out again a short while later practically clicking their heels. It’s quite a privilege to be able to change someone’s day like that. At CoinJar, I’m intent on bringing that same level of attention and care to anyone who reaches out to us. We’re here to listen to what you have to say, and we’ll always reply with a detailed and prompt response.

One of my focuses at the moment is to vastly improve the Knowledge Base. Being a relatively small team means that our Support hours are restricted. For this reason, we want to have an extensive collection of resources for everyone to be able to refer to after hours.

So please, reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns; we’re here to help you however we can. I truly believe we’re right at the beginning of where Bitcoin is going to go – and it’s going to get crazy – but we’re here to help every step of the way.

Adrian
Support Rep
@adrspr_

Chris

Chris During my time as a systems administrator for small businesses, I was curious about many new emerging technologies.

One that stood out was Bitcoin. I began to explore early in 2012 – at first, looking into the technology behind it, then utilizing it as a mechanism to trade and profit from. At that moment, I had little understanding of the future impact it would have on the world’s financial system.

Back then the process to convert Australian Dollars to bitcoin was very difficult to say the least. I was in constant search of an easier local solution. Little did I know that the solution was CoinJar, founded just one year later. Since then CoinJar has provided me and thousands of Australians with the ability to easily buy and sell bitcoin.

During the early days of CoinJar, when they were a two man team, support was lacking. Their turnaround time was 2-3 days, which was not ideal for me and their customers. My reaction was to try and help, not just myself, but other CoinJar customers. I jumped into their open “CoinJar Support Chat” to chat with other customers and along the way I met the amazing team behind CoinJar and gained a new understanding and appreciation for their work to bring bitcoin to the forefront in Australia and the world.

My goal is to provide exceptional support to our customers and empower them through the use of bitcoin technology. I’m excited to have the opportunity to be part of that journey at CoinJar.

Chris
Support Rep
@chrisjwilsoncom

Meet the Team – Aron

I’ve always had a passion for disruptive technologies and bitcoin is as disruptive as it gets. No one can deny the effect bitcoin has had on the financial industry over the last 12 months. The opportunities and challenges its created for people are numerous and exciting.

At CoinJar, I’m drawing on my extensive engineering and management background to lead our next stage. I love the way technology can change peoples’ lives and, with bitcoin, I think we can do really amazing things.

Many people who use bitcoin don’t fully trust the services they are using. The turmoil around the bitcoin community is becoming well known and well publicised. Even worse, there is a general lack of responsibility around handling peoples’ money. We don’t think that’s good enough.

For bitcoin to be effective, people need to believe in not only the technology but the companies they interact with. People need to know their money is safe, that they can access and use it at any time, and they can get help if something goes wrong. They need to know that we have their back.

All systems that rapidly grow experience growing pains and we are no exception. In the short term, our Engineering team is focusing on reliability and transparency. We’re making improvements to make our existing products more robust and their foundations rock solid. We’re also building a status page, allowing you to get information on our products and any interruptions we have. Finally, we’re looking to add a Senior Rails Developer to our team.

We have some amazing products on the horizon, and we can’t wait to start building them. They’ll further re-define what’s possible with digital payments – both for personal and business customers.

We want to provide you with amazing technology that can empower you to do things you haven’t been able to do before. We take that responsibility very seriously.

Aron Bury
Engineering Lead
@AronBury

Meet the Team – Anne

It’s an incredible time to be a part of the bitcoin industry in Australia right now. Last year I moved from New York City to Melbourne and soon after joined CoinJar Support. Over these few months I was at the the front lines of bitcoin, observing the way our customers interact with CoinJar. This experience has shaped my approach and made me realise that humanising bitcoin is key to its success. While CoinJar grew from a team of 3 to 10, my role transitioned from support to Happiness Engineer – cultivating customer and team happiness. 

Part of engineering happiness for our customers is being transparent on what’s happening within CoinJar and the bitcoin community. If you follow us on Twitter or Facebook you’ll see me sharing news and helping people in our community. At the end of the week I send out CoinJar Weekly, our once-a-week digest of developments in the digital economy.

In the technical world of bitcoin our customers value trustworthiness and transparency. I work with Andrew, our Support Lead, Cade, our Creative Director, Aron, our Engineering Lead, and Sam, our Growth Strategist, to instil these values at the core of CoinJar.

A strong emotional company culture results in better internal transparency and personal responsibility. If we have these qualities as our core internal values they will reflect to our customers. I’ve started 5 minute bursts of meditation and breathing exercises with the team to help us unwind and reset our awareness.

We also use our work tools to celebrate success. We have a dedicated Yammer channel called #LittleWins, a group where we celebrate our achievements at work and in our personal lives. Taking a moment to celebrate good work keeps motivation high and has laid the foundation of a close-knit team. It’s been humbling to see and experience this collaboration over the past few months and I’m excited to continue to explore new opportunities and watch the results.

Be a part of our adventure through Twitter, Facebook and CoinJar Weekly. Reach out and say hello! I look forward to learning with you. 

Anne Wu
Happiness Engineer
@uwenna

Meet the Team – James

As one of the newest members of the CoinJar team, I am often asked why I left the security of the corporate world to join a startup.

My previous role was with Deloitte in External Audit. I worked there for 3 years and obtained my Chartered Accountant qualification. My decision to change was not made overnight, however as I reflect, I would have to say the main reason was for me to find my passion in life.

I believe in innovative and disruptive technologies that are born to serve a cause or purpose. CoinJar does this by providing people around the world with the ability to transfer wealth easily and cheaply. This shared vision is what attracted me to CoinJar in the first place.

I’ve taken on the role of Finance Manager as of last week, and am excited to have the opportunity to be part of the CoinJar journey. I aim to have a positive impact to the business by ensuring best practices are adopted. This includes financial controls, regular audits and transparent governance. This means you can have confidence that your money is safe and secure.

A big part of my plan is to maintain trust with our customers and stakeholders. To build this we will be engaging a global professional services firm to conduct an audit of our business later this year.

I’m excited about contributing to best practices for bitcoin businesses as part of our quest to make bitcoin the people’s currency.

James Elia
Finance Manager
@jelia_88

Meet the Team – Sam

I believe in bitcoin. The protocol is something that caught my attention early 2013 and immediately set my imagination on fire. It’s decentralised, trust-less and something that can’t be tampered with. Then I find out it’s all secured with the power of math? Sign me up!

Back then, things were a lot less developed than they are now. It was impossible to find non-technical information on bitcoin. It was even more difficult trying to trade it. During this hunt, I discovered CoinJar. No more uncomfortable purchases, no more dropping my money off at a bank and hoping for the best. Here was a company with a personal touch (I could meet the CEO at a meetup), a product that worked and an ethos I believed in.

I first joined as a contractor (paid in bitcoin of course), managing their ad traffic and digital strategy. I knew that I was making it easier for people in Australia that searched for bitcoin to find something that worked. That felt good. I then joined CoinJar full time in November last year.

My focus is now on growth – not just for CoinJar, but for bitcoin adoption in Australia. CoinJar may be easy to find when people search ‘bitcoin Australia’ online, but we know we need to get more people searching for it in the first place.

As CoinJar grows, a large part of our future focus must be on merchants and their infrastructure. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for our business customers to accept bitcoin so people have a seamless experience spending their bitcoins. We’re ramping up efforts to reach more businesses and create opportunities for them to find new customers.

There are also huge efficiencies in the protocol that we can pass on to our business customers. We currently offer next day remittance and 0.5% fees, which makes us appealing to businesses who want to accept bitcoin. All these things are possible because when someone pays in bitcoin, there is no settlement time for us.

Our Growth team is working closely with Creative to roll out new products and campaigns that help us achieve this goal. It’s been happening at an incredible pace. Over the past few months we’ve gotten people to shoot zombies for bitcoins, taught high school kids about bitcoin, helped introduce the first Australian Bitcoin ATM and sponsored meetups.

By building a robust ecosystem and raising education on bitcoin, we’re helping our customers grow with us. As a result, the bitcoin community will enjoy the full benefits of the Bitcoin protocol.

Tweet me @samueltates or come say hi at a meetup, I’m always keen to talk bitcoin and how we can help it grow.

Samuel Tate
Growth Strategist
@samueltates

Meet the Team – Andrew

CoinJar has enjoyed rapid growth over the last six months. The expansion of our business to tens of thousands of customers means there are many more requests for support. Right now, we are not keeping up.

We are slow to answer tickets. Customers often don’t know if a request has been read. From the outside we sometimes seem like big, silent, non-transparent entity. For a company that handles your dollars and bitcoins, that’s not good enough.

It doesn’t matter what industry a company operates in, Support forms a core part of its foundation. In over a decade in Support, I have seen that bad support leaves customers feeling frustrated, angry and distrustful of the organisation. This has the potential to grind a business to a halt.

The opposite is also true. Great support empowers customers and can give the most maddening experience a positive ending. I’ve seen frustrated people turned into loyal customers because they felt truly listened to and valued as a result.

This has been my goal at CoinJar since I joined five weeks ago. I left my previous role at Microsoft, as the Asia Pacific Support Lead for Yammer, to join CoinJar because I want to create a world class Support team. Today we are not living up to our customers’ expectations, but I’m excited for where we’re about to take things.

We are already making decisive moves. You may have noticed that we are currently advertising a Customer Support role. We’re going to respond to support requests much faster than we are currently by bringing on great people and improving our Support systems. Where possible, we are working with Engineering and Design to address specific customer issues. In the future, we’ll be more transparent and more personal.

In the turbulent world of Bitcoin, we want to be exceptional. Exceptional not only means “outstanding”, we actually aim to be the exception to the industry norm. This means that, when you deal with CoinJar Support, you can expect interactions to be consistently prompt, personal, professional and complete.

To borrow a phrase from a ’90s Pantene ad, it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. Expect to see big changes in the coming months. These steps are being taken now.

Andrew
Support Lead
@andyjpowell