Anthony Culligan Discusses Roolo Peer to Peer Trading

Anthony Culligan Discusses Roolo Peer to Peer Trading

Roolo is a peer to peer marketplace which matches local Bitcoin buyers and sellers to local fiat Buyers and sellers. In this interview, shot from the Inside ...


What's up, party people? I'm here at the NABC and I'm at the exhibitors hall and I'm going through the exhibitors and I'm trying to meet everybody, see what they're about, see what they're exhibiting and check out these products. So with me right now is ... I'm Anthony Culligan. I'm the CEO of Roolo.

io. We're a peer-to-peer trading site. Wonderful. And you do a couple of other things in the space as well, is that true? We're running a series of seminars called Bitcoin in the City in London. Just bringing this traditional finance industry into the Bitcoin world. There are a lot of traditional finance people here today.

I'm pretty sure I'm one of them, what do you think? I think you look pretty traditional. Yeah, wonderful. So what's the scene like over there in London right now? I know that is based out of London, no? Who else is based out of London besides you guys? Well, the scene in London is very, very vibrant. Now I would characterize it as having backing from the UK government. They want to encourage in tech companies to develop in London, but the banks themselves are still a bit wary.

So it's still very difficult as a Bitcoin company to get an account but it's freeing up and there's a lot of support for it from the government, at least. Now I would highlight companies like, for example, Elliptic which has been signed off by KPMG as a professional custodian service of Bitcoin usage. My apologies. That person can wait. So Elliptic is a company in the UK that has been signed off by KPMG as a qualified professional custodian for Bitcoin for institutional companies. So that of infrastructure service is developing in London very, very quickly.

The banks themselves are all keen to get in on the technology but very wary of Bitcoin. So that the cry is Blockchain but not Bitcoin at the moment. Yeah, I lament that cry. I talk about it a lot. I don't know, why do you think that they feel that way? Is it just the history around it is too heretical for them? No, it's a very specific problem that they have. And this was expressed by the British Bankers Association in discussion with the UK Digital Currency Association.

And it's around the fact that they have U.S. based operations, and it's very, very difficult for them to comply with the money laundering. The very, very high standard of money laundering regulations that they have to comply with if they're supporting Bitcoin companies 'cause it's very difficult to know where Bitcoins are going once they've come in and out of the system, once they come in and out of the exchange for example. You don't know where they're going next so they're very nervous about that. And, for them, it's a small business with very high risk.

So there's a lot of thinking about how do you deal with that? How do you get Bitcoin or Blockchain technology into banks? What is a Blockchain technology in their mind, do you think? I think everybody is trying to define this term right now and traditionally it's been what Satoshi designed. What do you think they think that Blockchains are? They think that Blockchains are distributed ledgers. So within the world of finance you have the traditional world of finance. You have what's called consensus by reconciliation, which is a painful, painful task. It means that each bank has a certain record of what's in custody, what they're holding in their funds, what's been issued by various companies that are listed. And all of these registers are reconciled by the banks by all sorts of means, you know, sending around ASCII files, or by telephone or whatever.

It sounds very secure to me. Exactly, I have to say that behind this sort've financial monolith you have some very, very primitive and basic processes which aren't secure. And the banks recognize that and they look at the distributed ledger feature of Bitcoin and they say well that would be great for this particular application or would be great for that particular application. I still think they don't quite understand the purpose of the coin and its relationship to a Blockchain and the way that that secures the chain. So they see that they want the chain and they want the distributed ledger but the coin is kind of problematic at the moment. It's a step.

Yeah, it's been very problematic for a while now. It's kinda reluctantly needed, in my mind. I don't know how you can secure a chain otherwise. But, I mean, everyone's been trying to tackle this from different angles. So who knows? We'll see. What do you think about that? Well I think that there are a number of technologies coming out now.

Alternatives to securing the chain using Bitcoins so you have this proof of state type of methodology. You have kind of social consensus that you get Ripple and Stella. I think the banks are looking at these and saying, "Could we use these technologies and maybe even look at commissioned access and these sorts of things." So they're not looking at completely trustless systems. They're looking at something where there's a certain amount of trust, a certain amount of regulation that has the distributed ledger feature of Bitcoin. I'm kind of skeptical that it can all be done.

And I think that what will happen is that the position of Bitcoin will strength over time because of these. Because it is so secure and that security is provided by the amount of resource that is going into the mining of Bitcoin. And when banks fully understand that, they'll say, "Well, that has a place in this sort of Blockchain infrastructure, quite a central place. And maybe that Bitcoin even emerges as the sort of central banking currency amongst cryptocurrancies. Which it kind of is already. Yeah, probably there I agree.

Yeah, I've said it before I'll say it again, I think that Ripple is Dogecoin for bankers. I think we ought to learn somewhere and they'll learn with Ripple. Fine by me. So tell me a bit about your site here. Roolo, is that what it is? Roolo is a peer-to-peer Bitcoin trading site. We specifically wanted to develop, when we started this a year ago, a peer-to-peer site as opposed to a trading site where it's all centralized and all the coins are in some central hackable deposit, a honey pot for hackers.

We wanted to develop a peer-to-peer site because we thought a lot of the issues around Bitcoin, which are interesting to us, are in the peer-to-peer model. So how do you identify people? How do you develop trust between people in order to complete the trade? Those things are, I think, the prize in a peer-to-peer world because when you look at a peer-to-peer currency, it's power is that you will be able to deal directly with people across the other side of the world in small transactions at a retail level. You know, we're moving away from wholesale international finance to retail international finance. And the issues of identity and trust are gonna be crucial in the future. I thought setting up a peer-to-peer Bitcoin site would allow me to explore those. Tell me the tech behind it then.

How are you facilitating the peer-to-peer nature? Are you using a Blockchain to actually list the sales and the buy orders? No, it's not decentralized, it's still centralized but we are using, and I'll come back to how I think that's gonna develop because we would love to be decentralized. I don't think the technology or the methodology is quite there yet. We're using a multi-sig technology for all of our wallets on the site. It's a basic process where you put coins onto the site in order to sell them, and we hold them kind of like in escrow. I don't like using the word because it has some legal meaning, but we lock your coins while the transaction is going on. And when both parties have agreed the transaction is complete, then we release the coins to the buyer.

And in our best case, everybody take their coins off the site at that point. We don't force you to but that's what we want. We are moving to a multi-sig escrow model so we'll have two or three multi-sig, and we would like people then to deal directly from their outside wallets to the multi-sig escrow. We would hold one key would be an arbitration key and then the escrow is released by the buyer and the seller signing the multi-sig escrow to release them to the buyer. In that way we would not be handling anybody's bid, and we would not be controlling anybody's Bitcoin. We would emulate companies like Uber, the biggest taxi firm that doesn't own taxis, Airbnb the biggest hotel firm that doesn't own any hotels.

We want to be the biggest exchange that never touches anybody's Bitcoins. I like that, I don't have any problems with that. That sounds like a very different plan from local Bitcoin. So you have a pretty significant competitive difference there. We have a competitive difference to local Bitcoins. A couple of differences, firstly every single movement of coins that we do is on the Blockchain.

If you look at local Bitcoins and other sites, when you send your coins to an address and then you look at that address those coins aren't there. So that immediately gives rise to issues of well, you know, is it provably solvent, for example. However if you leave the coins at the address to which they're sent, then the client always use any commercial Blockchain browser and just look and see his coins are there. So we're always on the Blockchain, we use multi-sig wallets and we use green addresses. So with green addresses, you can have a coin on our site within seconds and you can have it off the site in seconds. So we'll be looking in the next few months to set a new world record for a Bitcoin transaction, a Bitcoin trade.

And when I say a Bitcoin trade, I mean, from somebody's external wallet to another external wallet. And the money going from an external bank account to an external bank account. Don't consider these fast trading systems where everything's centralized to be real trades because you're not actually changing ownership, you're just trading on somebody else's ledger. Makes sense. So we reckon we can get under 30 seconds external wallet to external bank account trade, and we'll be attempting that probably within the next few weeks. Wow, okay great.

And how long have you guys been around exactly cuz I haven't heard of you until this event here? Are you relatively new or you been around for a while? We're relatively new. We launched in mid-February. Yeah, okay gotcha. So we spent around a year in development so that we think the technology is fantastic. It's all extremely secure. I mean, I have a background in the finance industry as do my developers.

We've gone to great pains to make the site secure. And in any case we really don't want to be holding Bitcoins so that's our kind of eventual security is not to hold anybody's Bitcoins. We launched in mid-April, sorry, mid-February. We have about 200 clients now. Good. Our best trading day was 65 Bitcoins.

We're going for, our first way point, is to get 500 clients and do 100 Bitcoins a day. So we're kind of on our way there, and we hope that people will look us up and try us out. Yeah, absolutely. I'll put this on the site, and I'll try to get you a little attention. We hung out a little bit last night in passing at the Bitcoin center. And I wanted to learn more about your company so I appreciate your time.

Is there anything else you want to tell the audience or did we skip something? No, just go and try it out. I mean, we got ... Okay, what's the address? It's www.roolo.

io. Very cool. I'm gonna check it out when I get home. Thank you. I appreciate your time. Good.

I think that's this interview and we'll continue to explore the conference. I'll check some more stuff out and keep you guys posted. If you liked this interview, go ahead and subscribe to the channel. Check out some other interviews. Tell me what you think. If you have any questions, as usual you can tweet me at derosetech on twitter, with the @derosetech and I love to have you guys around.

Later, party people.