Hassan Khoshtaghaza on Operating a UK Bitcoin ATM


Peter McCormack: Good evening Hassan, how are you doing?

H. Khoshtaghaza: Very well thank you Peter. Thank you for having me.

Peter McCormack: Good! It’s one of those rare ones where I don’t have to say good morning when it’s evening for me as we’re on the same time zone, we’re both English! The first thing I need to ask you is, how the hell do you pronounce your surname?

H. Khoshtaghaza: Khosh-to-ghaza! It’s quite easy if you break it down. It’s probably pronounced a little bit slightly different than that, but that is the easiest way of kind of pronouncing it and remembering it.

Peter McCormack: When I first got it out I was like, “hmm, is it khosh-taghaza?” I couldn’t do it! All right, well listen, thanks for coming on. As you know, I’m doing a week of shows about the ATM industry, which I think a lot of people don’t know enough about. I certainly don’t. I’ve learned a lot about it this week, so it’d be great to talk to you about it, especially as you’re UK based, so we’ll get a different perspective.

But I think it’s always useful just for me and the audience to get a bit of a background if people maybe don’t know you. So can you give me your background and journey into the world of Bitcoin and crypto and then they start talking about SatoshiPoint?

H. Khoshtaghaza: Yeah, for sure. So when I basically first found out about Bitcoin, I was currently working with my dad in a fish and chip business. I was also doing property development. I had a hobby of gaming, also like being really social, but I just heard a news report and it must’ve been the first ever news report that ever BBC done on 10 o’clock news. I think it was regarding Silk Road, but it was generally speaking about, using this currency with these special kind of machines and I was like, “oh, what’s that?”

That’s what took my interest. I basically spoke to one of my computer friends and said, “oh, have you heard about this Bitcoin digital currency thing?” He didn’t and he went off and researched a little bit while I was also researching a little bit. Then he come back to me and I was kind of trying to get him to help me to sort out my GPU to do some mining. From that, I also bought some Bitcoin on Intersango, which was an exchange in the UK, I think it was run by Amir Taaki at the time. Its closed down now, but I bought my first bit of Bitcoin there.

I started mining with my GPUs, but that soon fizzled out because everyone was mining with FPGA’s and also the ASICs chips were on their way, slowly coming. So that’s kind of where I first initiated my stuff. From there, I ordered some ASICs chips, took ages to come. I ordered from Butterfly Labs. I think it was about 120 gigahashes, which is nothing now, but it was quite a bit at the time. 

But super long delays, I received them in time and I mined and I did profit from it, because I’m managed to sell the hardware at the same time as when it was going up to like $1,000, I believe around that time or a little bit before then I believe. Then I ordered from CoinTerra, which is another mining company and received theirs and was mining. Basically from there obviously I realized that the mining kind of side of things was moving so fast and the pre-orders taking so long, it wasn’t going to be a viable business I didn’t think, because we had to wait so long for the chips and for the stuff.

So from there I came across the website for Robocoin. I’d just come across the Robocoin ATM and I’ve thought, “you know what? This is a no brainer. This is a much scalable business than the mining kind of side of things.” So I made an order with them, with Robocoin who were based in San Fran. I then noticed online on Twitter that Johnnie Bitcoin also bought one in London. So yeah, from there I started planning a name for it and creating SatoshiPoint. I soon went to London and connected with Johnny and we partnered up together.

So we had two machines at the start from, from one. Then we waited for them to get delivered and we got some locations, which was really hard at the start, as no one knew what Bitcoin was, they were like, “what do you mean?” Literally walking for days around London and then we stroke some locations, got some them sorted them and that was the first starting point of SatoshiPoint.

Peter McCormack: Were you the first in the UK to start with ATMs?

H. Khoshtaghaza: Well we were, but there was another company run by a friend of mine. So they managed to get a Lamassu a couple of days before we received the Robocoin, the two way machine and they put it in a place in Shoreditch. So we were the first two-way machine, but in the same week, there was the first two-way and one-way machine in London at the same time. So generally yes, but a little bit no.

Peter McCormack: What were the initial volumes you were doing? Were you pleased with it? Was it good progress early on?

H. Khoshtaghaza: No, no it wasn’t. We had a lot of software problems, Robocoin basically kept changing the software slightly and we had all sorts of problems. The machines were of first generation, so there was validation problems, the machines were getting jammed, software issues, the software was freezing and all sorts of stuff. Johnny got a bit fed up with all of the problems that we’re having and didn’t really see a future in it really, so he pulled out.

Alistair was showing interest in investing, but again we had problems and then obviously Johnny left and then he wasn’t so interested in investing in a one man band. So since then we managed to get all the machines back online because Robocoin cut us off with the software because they wanted all of our customers to go to their website and basically give them all their KYC stuff before they could use the network.

But this was too earlier on for this kind of structure to be in place. So we left them and we used Lamassu firmware on the machines. But again that was buggy and we needed some full time developers to keep it updated and nice and clean and working. From there General Bytes basically offered a service for us. We went with General Bytes and then from there we managed to get all the machines going and we got some more machines online.

Alistair and Lee got a bit more excited and decided to go with it anyway. So we invested and yeah, since then we’ve managed to scale up and we’ve been growing organically since, with loads of little road bumps in between, with different problems. It’s been a hell of a ride and now we’re trying to secure the next investment to go forward.

Peter McCormack: Okay, so what was the turning point for it to start to be more of a viable business? What were the key things that happened?

H. Khoshtaghaza: The machines reliability, the later generation machines were better. Having the structure or the correct structure in place to be able to do banking and to operate the business in a better way really. We also just learned more and just learned how things should be done and all the services that we were using improved. So yeah, from there really it’s just moved on.

Peter McCormack: How much trouble did you have with banking? Because I know from my side, and bear in mind all I have is a podcast, but every time I’ve applied for a bank account for a business account, I applied six times and each time putting it in the description, “it’s a Bitcoin based podcast”, I’ve been rejected for a bank account. I finally got a bank account with Tide, I don’t know if Tide, they’re online only.

H. Khoshtaghaza: Yes, yes, I know them.

Peter McCormack: They’ve got some limitations, but actually they’ve been great for me and now I have a service with them, that’s fine. But I had a lot of trouble getting banking services. I know there’s a problem all through crypto and actually quite interestingly, my interview that’s coming up tomorrow is with Alan Lane from Silvergate out in the US, who have been great for cryptocurrency companies. But what was your experience in getting banking services? Did you get rejected?

H. Khoshtaghaza: Yeah, for sure. So at the start, I believe the bank didn’t really understand what we were doing a little bit. I didn’t hold back, I told them exactly what we doing at the very start and they were pretty clueless to what Bitcoin was and they agreed to it straight away and we kept it for some time. Then they realized what was going on and then they went, “oh hang on a minute.

No, no, no, we can’t do that!” Then I moved to a new bank and this happened again after some time and then I obviously done a bit of homework and spoke to a few lawyers and asked for a way of how can this be a viable business. We spoke about it and we got updated and yeah, it made sense, the way we’ve got it structured now is a lot more viable and gives us the kind of right to continue.

Peter McCormack: What other kind of challenges did you have early on? Also can you talk me through the regulatory environment for the UK? Obviously I’ve been learning about out in the US, the regulations they have to follow, also related to KYC/AML, but also the $3,000 a day limit. What exists in the UK? What are the regulations you have to follow? What are the limitations?

H. Khoshtaghaza: At the moment, obviously there’s normal kind of financial regulations in terms of reports in suspicious activity reports. So we have a £500 per transaction limit for anomalous customers that don’t sign up on the network. We are reviewing this and probably most likely changing it, but at the moment…

Peter McCormack: Up or down?

H. Khoshtaghaza: Down.

Peter McCormack: Okay. Why is that? What kind of problems are you coming into?

H. Khoshtaghaza: At the moment, the biggest issue or one of the biggest issues is people scamming people. So they’re looking for… Like for example, a couple of days ago, an old lady had a phone call from somebody online saying that she was going to get deported if she didn’t pay money today. Then the person on the phone, he’s obviously hid his phone call, is not very traceable, this telephone number that he’s calling from, but they spoof it as well from the Home Office or from the tax agency or from the police or from HMRC.

What they do, is they basically call them a taxi, they already know where their address is. They call them a taxi, get the taxi to come round and say the “taxi is going to come pick you up, so you can get the cash from your bank and then we’re going to take you to the Bitcoin machine” and they’re going to basically get you to put the money in the machine with the help of the taxi driver.

It sounds really crazy, but at each point of this, they have a good reasoning how they do it and they manage to persuade the person to do it. I know to some people, it sounds crazy including myself, but obviously with the spoofing of the number and then knowing some of the information, it makes them worried and obviously they’re targeting people that are quite vulnerable.

So this is one massive problem and it could be improved if all of our customers were KYC obviously. But generally speaking, that was never our vision to start off with. But now we’re scaling up and obviously it has to be done at some point, which we’re preparing for at the moment.

Peter McCormack: Okay, interesting. But with an account, if you are verified with yourselves, what is the limit then?

H. Khoshtaghaza: So you can do a transaction of £2,000 and up to £10,000 pounds in one month.

Peter McCormack: Do you have like specific regulators that you have to have licenses with to do this?

H. Khoshtaghaza: So again, in terms of regulations, obviously we’re incorporated into Singapore and the UK with two different types of companies. Yes, we will require some, but at the moment we’re just preparing for everything. So we have a UK vending management company, which has nothing to do with Bitcoin and we will also be offering services to other operators in the future, if they have problems with cash logistics or maintenance call outs or anything like this, we can cover that for them obviously for a fee and manage their network as well.

Peter McCormack: I guess the cash logistics relate to, you have to have liquidity of pounds in the machine for people who want to sell?

H. Khoshtaghaza: Yes and insured cash logistics for the guys to pick up the money and put it into your bank. So if they require that we could offer that service along with, if they wanted liquidity into their exchange account as well. If they wanted that, we could offer that service as well.

Peter McCormack: How do you find the Bitcoin industry in the UK when you compare it to the US? Because for me, I just find it seems to be a lot more niche, it’s a lot smaller, a lot less personalities in it. Whereas I go out to the US and it’s just full steam ahead.

H. Khoshtaghaza: Yeah, to be honest, I haven’t been to the US, although I’ve met obviously people that have come to the UK. I’ve just been in London. So obviously I’ve visited some EU countries and visited places, but my main focus has been in London. Obviously we want to scale up and scale out of the UK as well, but we’re still working on the UK at the moment.

Peter McCormack: Are you from London?

H. Khoshtaghaza: I’m from Bristol.

Peter McCormack: Yeah I can hear it in the accent!

H. Khoshtaghaza: Yeah, everyone came. I get told every day actually, “where are you from? You’re not from London!”

Peter McCormack: Are you a Bristol Rovers fan?

H. Khoshtaghaza: No, I’m a City, but I don’t follow football to be honest. I know you’re a Liverpool fan from your videos!

Peter McCormack: I always want to ask now, I got told off for talking about football in the podcast recently, so I’m going to talk about it a lot more now!

H. Khoshtaghaza: Yeah, I’m not a follower. I like to watch the big games, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not studying the Premier League and stuff. I feel like it’s just all very similar. Every title, every year, maybe somebody goes up a league, somebody goes down, but it’s all very similar, I don’t understand it. I might be talking wrong here, I don’t follow football that much, but you know like Liverpool have got all these players from around the world, I think it would be nice if it was just all the same people from that area? But I don’t know.

Peter McCormack: We used to have a rule, there used to be a rule in the European Cup where you could only field three or four foreign players. That was years ago, but they got rid of that eventually. I think it is actually a legal requirement that you can’t do that now because of the EU, the free movement of people. Anyway, that’s enough football! So you’re in 40 locations now. What would move the needle for you? What would take you from 40 to say 400? What gives you massive growth?

H. Khoshtaghaza: Well, we’re just finishing our business plan and financial tech. So realistically it boils down to the next investment I suppose and having the team in place for us to be able to install 10 machines every month and get them installed. This is kind of what we’re working towards. So yeah, that kind of covers the area of getting to the next level and getting secure in the next few years of installations and growing the team and developing the app.

So we have a new app out, SatoshiWallet, which is an ATM finder, multi cryptocurrency wallet and that’ll be the center point for SatoshiPoint moving forward. It will compliment all the other services and connect to the ATM network. So later on down the line, you’ll be able to download the app and you’ll be able to sign up for the SatoshiPoint network, which will give you access to other services as well.

So we want to do a debit card and a over the counter network. So you’d be able to go to a bureau de change and you’d be able to do higher volumes than the ATM and multiple fiat currencies and crypto currencies. So you could come to the UK and sell your Dogecoin or whatever coin and thousand pounds at the bureau de change or if you wanted euros or dollars, if you’re going somewhere else.

Peter McCormack: Okay, so a bit more like LibertyX then, giving you more options?

H. Khoshtaghaza: Yeah, giving you more options, more fiat options and higher volume transactions and all for one signup process. So you can use the ATM network, over the counter network, debit card all in one place.

Peter McCormack: Okay, so before you can use, you actually have to go and sign up with the SatoshiPoint wallet?

H. Khoshtaghaza: Yes, but that’s on the roadmap, it’s not ready yet. At the moment, you can go to the machine and use any wallet you wanted and that will be the case for some time. But obviously at the moment, they are the development stages of the app. The wallet is out now, but the KYC widget inside the app is not ready yet.

Peter McCormack: So is KYC handled by the machine?

H. Khoshtaghaza: Yeah, it’s on the ATM at the moment. But moving forward, it will be on the app, it will be on the ATM and it will be on the website.

Peter McCormack: Okay, so let’s move onto the machines themselves and locations. How do you pick a location? How do you choose one? What’s the process for working with, say the partner who owns the location? Do you license the machine to them or do they just license use of space and you give them say a percentage? How does that work?

H. Khoshtaghaza: So at the start, obviously it was hard to find locations. You really had to graft and go out there and see who was up for it. As time goes on and the news comes out, the price goes up and shopkeepers or owners must see it on TV, they contact us. So they’ve been calling us. Obviously we didn’t want every person that contacted us. As time goes on, we’ve had some machines robbed and all this kind of stuff.

So we do a lot more due diligence over choosing locations. So we kind of target locations that we require. We contact them, we email them if they haven’t contacted us beforehand and then we just basically have a contract with them. We rent the space from them on a profit share basis, 100% profit share basis. At the start it wasn’t the case and we offered a fixed amount.

Then we realized we were basically going to be losing money if we carried on like that. So luckily our first lot of locations were very reasonable with us and agreed to change the pricing structure to suit us. They’re still with us now, some of the locations from the very start, they’re still with us and very happy with our service

Peter McCormack: Is the process of installing the machine, training them up, is that a difficult process? Also how much security do you have to think about with regards to the machines? I was at a conference recently and there was another operator, I can’t remember who they were, but they had a challenge with a sledgehammer to basically smash into the machine. Is this a real problem?

H. Khoshtaghaza: Security is definitely a problem or an area where it needs to be looked at more deeply. So yeah, like at the start, we were happy to, if somebody called us up and wanted an ATM, if it was located well, then great, let’s put it in there. I wasn’t thinking too much about the security. We were obviously, but as long as it had a pair of shutters or something, we were kind of happy.

But yeah, moving forward, we like to have a camera on the position of it and we have a checklist which has to be approved before we would agree to a location. We’ve had a few locations that have basically been broken into and a sledgehammer took one off the wall, for example. They’re all fixed to the floor.

Peter McCormack: That’s bloody annoying when that happens!

H. Khoshtaghaza: Yes, indeed it is!

Peter McCormack: What’s the impact when that happens? What’s the loss? Are you insured against this?

H. Khoshtaghaza: Yeah, at the time it was a loss as we weren’t insured. The police obviously didn’t find any information out unfortunately. So it has happened on a few occasions, but at the same time, they’ve never actually got any money from the machine when they robbed it. It’s been a very, very small amount. One time it was £20 pounds, the next time it was £1000. So yeah, the machines don’t hold that much money, they get regularly collected, so there’s never a kind of a problem where… Unless it’s an inside job and they know it’s full up.

There’s many more ways these thieves could go off and do something else, because there’s nothing here. They have to break through shutters, through shop doors and then through into the ATM to get a £20, £100, they’re probably going to think of doing something different.

Peter McCormack: Morons! What are the volumes like now and also what are the volumes like during the bear market? Has that been a struggle for you or does that impact you less than say, the rest of the industry?

H. Khoshtaghaza: I believe it impacted us less because there seems to be, always somebody wanting to sell or buy because the bear market is going down. Obviously people want to be able to jump in thinking it’s going to stop and go back up I guess. So yeah, I think it’s one of these industries in the crypto space that’s not affected so much in the bear markets, but obviously it does, but it just changes.

So one minute everyone wants to sell and you’ve got no selling money and then everyone wants to buy. You just need to kind of keep up to date with what’s happening. When the prices surge, we do obviously have a surge as well. So everyone wants to buy!

Peter McCormack: What’s the general profile of people who are using the machines? Because it’s a little bit more effort than sitting in your front room and just using an exchange. There must be a reason someone wants to go and use a machine instead?

H. Khoshtaghaza: It’s purely the convenience factor. So the convenience factor is like if you’re a newbie as well, because we get a lot of new people come to the machines. They’ve got to sign up online and send a transfer off shore most likely and that takes maybe a day or two. There may be another service out there, that’s a little bit quicker, but generally speaking, it’s a bit of a drawn out process.

The idea of going into a machine and putting in cash and getting your coins instantly, is appealing to a lot of people. Then once someone uses that and has that kind of instantaneous access to Blockchain assets, they get slightly addicted to that and this the easiest method for them to do.

Peter McCormack: So it’s a great onboarding tool for new people into Bitcoin?

H. Khoshtaghaza: Yes indeed.

Peter McCormack: I keep saying Bitcoin, but you support multiple coins, don’t you?

H. Khoshtaghaza: That’s right. So we’ve got seven coins listed at the moment.

Peter McCormack: How do you choose?

H. Khoshtaghaza: Well, just having the repetition of being around for a long time and then obviously General Bytes are supporting it obviously on their back ends, so we can adapt it quite easily on our end. So there’s a lot more coins that General Bytes have got that are listed, but generally, we have our kind of due diligence for it, but at the same time, if we like the coin, we’ll put it on there.

Peter McCormack: Do you see much difference between the currencies? How much dominance say does Bitcoin have over everything else?

H. Khoshtaghaza: Yes, Bitcoin is definitely the number one buy and sell in the machines. Then probably Litecoin and Ethereum together and the other three that are being bought and sold, Dash and Monero are below the least, I think.

Peter McCormack: How do you provide the liquidity? Are you buying in advance? Are you using OTC desks? How do you work this? Because one of the things I always think about with the ATM companies, that if you’re holding crypto to service, you’re essentially holding stock, which at any point could go up in value, which is great for you. But if it drops significantly, say for example, there was a 10% price drop and I don’t know what your commission is, but say it’s 5%, 7%, 8%, whatever, you’re actually then in negative. That must be a challenge?

H. Khoshtaghaza: Yeah, so we definitely come into some situations, but generally speaking, we have a hot wallet with a small amount of coins in and that’s what gets delivered to the customer instantly. Then in the back end, we have just fiat on the exchange and then the API buys it and replaces the wallet. So we’re only open to fluctuations with the hot wallet, with the small amount of Bitcoin and the majority of the funds are spread across multiple exchanges in fiat. So we’re not open to any kind of fluctuations.

Peter McCormack: I guess you’re getting better at managing that over time? You’re learning how to do this.

H. Khoshtaghaza: Yeah exactly. Obviously the more money you’ve got in these places, it makes it a lot more easier to control. But generally speaking, we got it there. It kind of needs a bit more… I’m working on quite a lot of the operations at the moment and it kind of needs a little bit more time. But yeah, it definitely needs a lot of attention to make sure it’s all hedged and up to date.

Peter McCormack: What’s your fee? What do you charge

H. Khoshtaghaza: Currently? It’s at 8% and then selling is at 3%.

Peter McCormack: Okay, I mean that’s quite high. That’s one of the things that people have said to me in prepping for this is that, “the fees on the ATM operators is very high. Why are people doing that instead of an exchange?” I kind of get it for newbies and new people coming in. They probably aren’t aware of exchange fees and they’re properly just a bit… I don’t know, it’s something they don’t really consider, but it’s not very competitive compared to an exchange. So it has to be a hell of a convenience for someone to do that instead of an exchange?

H. Khoshtaghaza: Yes, but as you know the price moves quite a lot, so you maybe don’t see it, but the fee, to be fair, obviously is a bit of a fee, but it’s a convenience fee. At the same time, the cash logistics and all the other parts that we basically get the cash in and get it back into the exchange, does cost quite a lot money. All those bits costs a lot of money and it soon adds up. We can improve it. In time, we can improve it. We want to be the best price comparison in the UK or globally even.

Peter McCormack: I guess that will come with more volume though, right? If the industry grew and you had more people use the machines and buy more?

H. Khoshtaghaza: Yeah, exactly. So if we’ve got hundreds of machines and lots of liquidity, we can provide a better rate.

Peter McCormack: You don’t have a machine in Bedford yet, do you?

H. Khoshtaghaza: In Bedford no, not just yet, but we should do!

Peter McCormack: What the fuck are you doing, man? Come on! It’s the centre of Bitcoin. Can I not help you get one here?

H. Khoshtaghaza: Yeah, by all means please do. If you’ve got like a 24 hour shop in the area or something like that would be ideal

Peter McCormack: My worry is it’d be your lowest volume and most likely to get stolen!

H. Khoshtaghaza: Oh really? You’d be surprised, we’ve got some in some small towns and villages, we’re not just in big cities. So you’d be surprised some small villages do more well than a central city location.

Peter McCormack: Oh really?

H. Khoshtaghaza: Yeah, the demographics are quite mixed up. You get all sorts of people using the machines now as well. So it’s pensioners and young people and middle-aged, you’re kind of stereotypical kind of guy that uses the machine, you would expect him to be like a 30 year olds kind of techie guy, but it is really not the case no more. It’s just anybody and everybody.

Peter McCormack: I love that; pensioners buying Bitcoin! I should get my dad to do it. What are the other key challenges that you face as a business today in this market?

H. Khoshtaghaza: Key challenges that we’ve faced? Just having the correct structure in place and scaling up on that structure and scaling up on the team, is probably my current kind of mission if you like at the moment. Also being investment ready and having all the documents ready for investment. So we’re kind of at that phase at the moment.

Peter McCormack: When I was talking to LibertyX earlier, they were talking about one of the key things for them for growth is that they’ve integrated with traditional ATMs, whereby as you are able to withdraw money, you are also able to withdraw that to Bitcoin. Is that something you’ve looked into?

H. Khoshtaghaza: Well, one of our advisors has been talking about that for some time yeah, connecting with the current ATM providers and trying to integrate with them. So yeah, it’s been on talks, but there’s a few areas of that that I can’t see how it works, but I’m sure there’d be a viable way. I like the idea, don’t get me wrong! Once you’ve got everything in place, you can be online in 35,000 places or something like this, which would be amazing!

Peter McCormack: How are you seeing volumes at the moment? Obviously we’ve seen the market pick up from the bottom of about $3,300. We’re up to around $9,500 and we’re bouncing between that and say $11,000 and $12,000. Are you seeing an increase in volume? Are you seeing any kind of people prepping for the halving coming up in probably, June 2020?

H. Khoshtaghaza: I believe so. Obviously our kind of volume is increasing and is probably just about going over what the volume was when it was at $20,000, but we have extra machines now, so obviously you’ve got to put that into perspective. But generally speaking, yeah, I think volume is good and we want to increase and we’re adding more locations. We’ve got machines coming in the next couple of weeks, so we’re organically growing at the moment. But yeah, we want to really pace that up in the next… Well, before the end of the year really.

Peter McCormack: Your minimum order amount is £20, right?

H. Khoshtaghaza: It was, but it’s £5 again now.

Peter McCormack: Oh, it’s £5 now. Do you have any risks or worry that if there was a massive increase in volume and on chain fees spike, that that would make certain transactions unviable?

H. Khoshtaghaza: Sure! So back when the transaction fee went a bit crazy before SegWit and around that time, we put the £20 minimum amount on and there was an additional fee just to cover that. But that’s kind of gone back down again now, so that’s back to £5, no additional fees. So yeah, we have to keep an eye out for this and if that is the case, we have to just increase it or take it off or whatnot. Well probably wouldn’t take Bitcoin off, but we’ll have to increase it to whatever is viable to do, for the customer and for us obviously.

Peter McCormack: Obviously, as somebody who’s been in Bitcoin for a while, you’ve been in it since, what, 2013 did you say?

H. Khoshtaghaza: Well, I would say a bit before then. Obviously end of 2013 was when I ordered the machine or early… I’d say late 2011 I’d probably heard the name and then I didn’t come back to it or anything, I just kind of heard it. Then I spoke to my friend and then I started mining. So yeah, I can imagine it was around 2012.

Peter McCormack: So what do you make of the industry now? Because obviously so much has happened, in the kind of six or seven years since then? How do you like take it all in way? What do you think?

H. Khoshtaghaza: I know, right! Well, at the start you kind of knew… Not knew everybody, but knew what businesses were in place, knew what people were doing what, but now it’s so busy, I can’t keep up with what’s happening and there’s more and more work to do within the project. So I’ve got my head down quite a lot!

I was kind of going to all the meetups all the time and it was really, really social. Now there’s just so much work, I just have to concentrate on this. So I’m obviously watching the space at the same time, but just not in great detail, as much as I would like. But yeah, it’s going in the right direction I suppose. It’s grew so much since the start!

Peter McCormack: I guess you’re probably having more people getting on the phone to you now, knowing your work in this industry, with your friends saying, “come on Hass, what do I do? Should I be buying Bitcoin?”

H. Khoshtaghaza: Oh yeah, for sure! Well back when the price is going crazy at $20,000, literally everyone in my Facebook was like, “yeah, can we buy some, how do I do it? Is it a good time to buy now?” A couple of them I probably said “no” and then “yes” and it kind of obviously kept on going up and then I fooled myself thinking, “well it’s just going to keep on going up!” So yeah, I probably lost a few coins myself, like you did I believe.

Peter McCormack: Just a few!

H. Khoshtaghaza: I should’ve hedged it back then. but there we go, sods law! Again, you’ve got your podcast and I’ve got this ATM business, so I’m happy with where it is all going. But yeah, it’s really time to build the team, so we don’t burn out and get this investment and get to the next level.

Peter McCormack: How big do you think you can grow this and would you look to grow internationally as well?

H. Khoshtaghaza: Yes. Ideally we’re just looking at UK at the moment, but we’ve got some ideas for outside of the UK as well into Europe and Asia. So in the UK we would like to possibly go up to about 500 locations and outside of the UK have some kind of franchise networks being in place.

So we’re possibly going to launch an Italian SatoshiPoint network and have some kind of franchise in place. We have some people over there already that are interested in doing it, but we don’t want to run until we can walk kind of thing. So we want to have everything finely tuned here, before we kind of copycat over there.

Peter McCormack: And in terms of the industry itself, what do you think are some of the most important things that need to happen, things that need to change? Anything there where you’re looking thinking, “come on, we can do a better job here!”

H. Khoshtaghaza: Yeah, there’s some regulation in the ATM operating space, just so we know where we stand a little bit more. There’s a lot more operators coming in now and I don’t know, they seem a bit more like they need a bit of regulation in place!

Peter McCormack: So you think there’s more regulation required, because the competition coming in are a bit more cowboy?

H. Khoshtaghaza: Yeah I reckon something like that. Not to say that we’re perfect, but we want be able to have a fair game, maybe not with the new operators coming, but just generally with, for example, the scams and having something in position for this. We really don’t want to be profiting from these scam transactions, so we want to stop that immediately and yeah, just make sure that the space is all fair.

Peter McCormack: Is it a bit of a regulatory grey area now then? Because it feels like in the US, it is pretty well defined. But you think in the UK, it is a bit of a grey area?

H. Khoshtaghaza: Not so much a grey area. I mean Bitcoin is in a bit of a grey area, but it’s not really in some respects now, it’s kind of coming out and people know where they stand. But I think definitely there needs to be some regulation. I’m not saying really heavy or anything but just general KYC/AML on the customers and yeah, just your structure set up and stuff like this.

Peter McCormack: Okay, so what’s coming up for SatoshiPoint? What should we keep an eye out on?

H. Khoshtaghaza: Okay, so obviously we got the wallet out, so we’re going to be really pumping this really soon, SatoshiWallet. Then SatoshiPoint network is going to be installed in more locations and yeah, we’re just going to be getting a lot more educational stuff out there as well, about how to use the ATM network and the wallet and everything surrounding that. We’re also working on a few other services to compliment the network, which will be released soon as well.

Peter McCormack: Awesome, and if people want to find out more, how do they follow SatoshiPoint? How do they follow you? How do they get in touch and who do you want to hear from?

H. Khoshtaghaza: Okay, so SatoshiPoint is on Twitter and on Facebook and we’ve obviously got the website up. You can contact us directly through the website and you can tweet us as well. You can also get hold of me through the website as well.

Peter McCormack: All right, well listen, we should definitely have a beer sometime when I get into London.

H. Khoshtaghaza: Yeah, for sure. That would be awesome!

Peter McCormack: Do it in person, but thanks for coming on Hassan, it’s great to meet you and good luck with the business!

H. Khoshtaghaza: Thank you so much Peter, cheers!