GrantTree talks to Elliptic | Elliptic exists to make your Bitcoin assets safer, more secure and easier to manage.Innovative
As mentioned last week, one of our proudest features at GrantTree is working with all our awesome clients, and we love seeing what the extra funding we make accessible for our clients can do to boost their businesses. I was fortunate enough to talk with Dr. Tom Robinson, COO and co-founder at Elliptic, a London-based digital currency services company to learn more about what they do and how they managed to crack the Bitcoin security world.
Pippa: Tell me about your business. When did you start it and with whom?
Tom: We started the company a couple of years ago and we are thrilled with how quickly we are growing. Having started with 3 people (myself, James [Smith] and Adam [Joyce]), we are now up to 9 people, raised $2m seed funding in summer 2014 and have our sights set on expanding even further. I first met James at university and after a stint of working in a nano-tech startup for me, and finance for my other co-founders, we realised there was a real gap in the market for a secure digital currency custodian and we wanted to tackle it together.
P: Sounds like Elliptic is going from strength to strength! Can you tell me a little more about why you started Elliptic?
T: We started the company because we were acutely aware of the confusion around digital currency. Digital currency was the hot topic of 2013 but it was a really muddled field and we wanted to help cut through the jargon and perplexity. We also wanted to tackle the lack of protection around digital currencies; with regular currency held in a bank, the money is insured up to a certain amount but with digital currency, there was no protection of this kind. Our overarching objective when starting up this business was to bring a secure and insured digital currency storage service to a market, which was clearly crying out for it and looking back on the past three years, I think I can say that we’ve achieved it.
P: Elliptic has clearly filled a gap in the market then. How does it actually work?
T: Elliptic Vault, as the name suggests, stores your Bitcoins in a safe location: both cryptographically and physically. We have strong encryption around our system and store assets in a bank vault so that your Bitcoins are protected from any attack. We also have stringent procedures around access so that your Bitcoins cannot be stolen or lost. To add to this protection, we also have a KPMG accreditation and insurance backing from a Fortune 100 company to protect our clients’ Bitcoins for extra peace of mind.
P: That must have been hard to get!
T: Yes it really was. This was originally back in 2013 when the level of understanding of Bitcoin was extremely low and it was incredibly hard to obtain insurance. We were often told that Bitcoin was “uninsurable” and we had to keep putting ourselves in front of the right people and defending our product, which was tricky. But we cracked it in the end, and having a Fortune 100 insurance backer and being KPMG-accredited nicely complements our messaging of protection and security for our clients. We also pride ourselves on having a rare blend of comprehensive technical skills, a solid backing of financial knowledge and a deep understanding of the fluctuating financial regulation, which, when combined, sets us distinctly apart from the competition.
P: Definitely a huge achievement there, Tom – glad you bounced back from Bitcoin being “uninsurable”! Who fits your typical client profile?
T: Typically more corporate clients: hedge funds, trading firms, law firms; the heavily regulated companies whose security is near the top of their priority list.
P: Do you have any exciting plans for Elliptic’s future?
T: We do actually. We have just launched a beta version of Elliptic AML (Anti-Money Laundering). One of the key concerns surrounding Bitcoin is the inability to know where your coins have come from and whether they have previously been used in criminal activity. With Elliptic AML, we can track where your Bitcoins have come from so that we can give you the added protection before, during and after you use our service.
P: Sounds like a really exciting venture – look forward to see it develop further and helping you claim back more R&D Tax Credits so you can reinvest in Elliptic’s future products.