Bitbank Group’s Virgilio Lizardo Jr.:
“We will see mass adoption soon.”

Blockchain, FinTech, Innovation, Investing, News, Regulation | April 27, 2017 By:

Virgilio Lizardo Jr. is the Vice President of International Affairs of Bitbank Group

Lizardo is a Dominican who was born in Panama and grew up in the United States near Boston. In the United States, he worked in the logistics industry. He came to China nine years ago, as he had an interest in the language and culture. He studied and was certified in conversational Chinese and currently live in Shenzhen, China where his company has an office. Before coming to work for Bitbank Group, he delivered corporate training for more than 100 companies in South China. He currently handles business development, project management, marketing, public relations, translation and customer service for Bitbank Group companies, including Chbtc, BW, bitbank and Bter.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: Chinese regulators have recently set limits on cryptocurrency activities. Are you talking with them? What are their concerns and how are you addressing them?

Virgilio Lizardo Jr: All bitcoin and cryptocurrency companies have been communicating with regulators for the last three months. Their concerns mainly stem from beginning to put in place protections for investors and consumers. We are currently complying with the enhanced KYC/AML regulations provided by regulators.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: Tell us about the Chinese bitcoin industry. Is there a lot of camaraderie and cooperation? What do you do to foster a sense of community?

Virgilio Lizardo Jr: The Chinese bitcoin industry is mainly focused on exchanges and mining at the moment. There are some exceptions, and the blockchain technology scene is rapidly growing. There is a sense of camaraderie and also intense competition. We all recognize the huge potential of our industry and the early stage we are in. Everyone wants to establish themselves as the leader. I am also the local organizer for the bitcoin meetups in Shenzhen. I think the greatest challenge to bitcoin is education. People need to know what bitcoin really is, and the best way to do that is to get people together.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: What was the biggest obstacle you faced in establishing Bitbank?

Virgilio Lizardo Jr: The first company established in the Bitbank Group family was chbtc.com in 2013. At that time, it was relatively simple to start an exchange. The industry was still small and there was a wild east environment where entrepreneurs were able to quickly turn their ideas into reality. Once the site was up, we saw rapid growth that has continued to this day.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: Describe some of the challenges you have faced running a bitcoin mining farm.

Virgilio Lizardo Jr: From the office side, monitoring the hashrate on our pool is a constant challenge for our team. We have a dedicated customer service team on hand 16 hours a day to contact miners if there are any issues.

BW’s mining facilities are also monitored by our team on the ground, who maintain tens of thousands of miners at a given facility. This includes repairing individual miners, maintaining connectivity, and monitoring performance. It is difficult work in a tough environment, as the mining technicians must be on call 24 hours a day in case of any issues.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: Tell me what the company is working on now.

Virgilio Lizardo Jr: Bitbank Group is engaged in several projects across the digital currency and blockchain technology ecosystem. On the mining side, we are in final production of our Litecoin miner, which we expect to be the most efficient on the market. BW has also been dedicated to an expansion into the Latin American market by being the first mining site to completely offer its services in Spanish including bringing on a team member to serve the region. On the exchange side, we are seeing excellent growth in our user base in the domestic market. We aim to open our OTC trading desk soon to the international market. We are continuing to upgrade bitbank.com for our growing international user base as well. All in all, we are very excited for 2017 at Bitbank Group.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: Do you support bigger blocks?

Virgilio Lizardo Jr: BW official statement on bitcoin scaling debate:

“BW has been signaling 8MB since June 2015 when an agreement was reached within the Chinese mining community that blocks up to 8mb would be acceptable of which we are still committed. We also expect our colleagues who signed the HK agreement in February of 2016 to fulfill the pledges outlined in the agreement. BW takes seriously its commitments and looks forward to resolving the debate on the blocksize based on the foundation of the challenging mediation efforts that have taken place to date. BW continues to analyse this important issue in the spirit of open communication with all parties until a satisfactory solution can be found.”

BLOCK TRIBUNE: What’s the biggest hurdle facing blockchain services becoming mainstream for businesses?

Virgilio Lizardo Jr: I believe the incentives for the mainstream to use bitcoin are still in the early stage. The tools for regular people to use bitcoin are rapidly being developed, and I think we are entering a stage in bitcoin’s history where we will see mass adoption soon.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: Do you think bitcoin will directly compete with or replace fiat currencies?

Virgilio Lizardo Jr: I think bitcoin is being used and is developing differently in different countries and regions. Bitcoin is competing and replacing fiat in places today that have serious monetary issues. The reason bitcoin has value is because it solves real world problems for people, so as long as it keeps doing that, it will gain greater acceptance and use versus fiat.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: Predictions for 2017-2018 – what do you anticipate happening in the next 6 to 12 months?

Virgilio Lizardo Jr: I believe that the scaling debate will be resolved in the next six months or so. People all over the world are getting more involved and we’re seeing more strong proposals coming out, so I’m optimistic on this front. Bitcoin adoption will accelerate with the continuing introduction of positive regulations in countries around the world, like in Japan, Philippines and Switzerland. In turn, this should lead to a bullish year in terms of bitcoin price in 2017.