bitcoins bitwala




CEO convince pay/paid/paid
sum currency account (3)
set up find out hangout
log on employee entrepreneur
access register charge (3)
ID card security check (3)
fee unusual come across
levy transfer transaction
hefty instantly commercial
steal minimal accomplish
cost real time manage (2)
wages join (2) supplier/vendor
focus lucrative freelance
lose aim (2) model (3)
scan facilitate settle (2)
cash convert ambitious
hack backup itch (2)/itching
off to futuristic advantage
remedy memory bottom line





Unwinding in Room 77. In this Berlin bar, you can pay for your beer in Bitcoins.

Jurgen von Minkwitz often pays with Bitcoins . . . I’m not convinced yet.

Four Euros. That 3.39 milibitcoins for a coke.

Jurgen von Minkwitz, CEO Bitwala: “The great thing about new currencies like Bitcoin is that you can also use them for tiny sums.”

Room 77 is a Bitcoin hangout.

I’d like to find out how I can open a Bitcoin account and how the system works.

Two entrepreneurs set up the digital Bitwala bank in 2012.

The block-chain banking service now has twelve employees.

I log on to their website.

To open a Bitcoin account, you have to be registered with the police, have internet access, and have some money.

What’s unusual is that I have to read out my ID card details on a video link with the bank, an online banking security check I’ve never come across before.

Commercial banks levy hefty fees for foreign transactions: if I want to transfer €500 to China, say, a normal bank will charge me 50 Euros, and it’ll take several days before the money gets there.

With Bitcoin transfers, the money’s there instantly. The fee: €2.50, half a percent.

Jurgen von Minkwitz, CEO Bitwala: “We say the old system wasn’t made for internet speeds, and also not for the internet.

The new technologies we use mean international money transactions have minimal costs, almost in real time. That’s something the banking system hasn’t managed to accomplish to this day.”

Bitwala has 20,000 clients, with a hundred joining up every day. They convert over twenty currencies for customers in over a hundred and twenty countries.

They mainly use Bitcoins to transfer international fees and wages.

Jurgen von Minkwitz, CEO Bitwala: “The main customers are electronics companies sending money to their Chinese suppliers. There are plenty freelancers among them who work in Germany and Europe but have their programmers in India.

Bitwala is not only focused on the lucrative traditional banking model, it’s got some ambitious plans: it aims to facilitate money transfers between computers.

In the future, machines will be paying other machines directly. They scan each other every few seconds and settle accounts just as fast — in Bitcoins of course.

But can you make cash payments with Bitcoins?

For that I have to download the company app to my mobile, and give the cash to managing director Jan Goslicki.

Journalist: “And what do you do?”

Journalist: “And what do you do?”
Jan Goslicki, Bitwala Managing Director: “I give you money: you give me Euros, and I give you Bitcoins.”
Journalist: “Okay.”

Goslicki transfers seventeen and a half million Bitcoins into my new Bitwala account.

Jan Goslicki: “If I steal you mobile or you lose it, then your Bitcoins are gone.”

That’s not the only danger: anyone who hacks my mobile can also get at the money. My only remedy is a memory stick or a hard drive backup.

But now I’m itching to start spending my Bitcoins. So it’s off to a bookstore, that accepts the futuristic currency — a science fiction bookshop.

The great advantage for me: Bitcoin fees are much lower than the fees for credit card payments.

Store Clerk: “It’s great that we as a science fiction bookshop can offer a currency of the future.”

The bottom line is that it’s easier than you think. I’ll probably still be paying in Euros in everyday life. But my next international money transfer might well be made with Bitcoins.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *


1. Bitcoins are only used for large purchases through online stores. True or false?

2. Did a rich banker and a financier set up Bitwala? Is the company big and occupy a large office building?

3. What are the requirements to open up a Bitwala account?

4. Bitcoins have certain advantages over conventional bank transactions. Is this right or wrong?

5. Who tends to use Bitcoins? What do they use them for?

6. How can people use Bitcoins?

7. Are there disadvantages or drawbacks of using Bitcoins? What are the drawbacks or disadvantages?

8. Bitcoins are increasing in use and popularity. Is this correct or incorrect?


A. I have used Bitcoins before. Yes or no? Have your friends used Bitcoins?

B. How do you purchase things? How do your friends make purchases?

C. Are Bitcoins and other digital currencies becoming more popular? What will happen in the future?

D. What are some disadvantages of digital currencies like Bitcoins?

E. Do you and your friends prefer payments by cash, credit card, debit card, Paypal, Bitcoins or a combination of the above?


Comments are closed.