As part of the Digital Currency Council’s Continuing Education partnership with Inside Bitcoins, the DCC’s VP, Sarah Martin, had the opportunity to interview the thought leaders that will be speaking at the Inside Bitcoins Conference in Hong Kong on May 14-15, 2015. Today, we share an interview with Larry Salibra, the Founder and CEO of Pay4Bugs.
Sarah: Tell us about how and why you got involved in Bitcoin and digital currencies.
Larry: I got involved in Bitcoin while looking for alternative payment methods for our testers. We have a network of testers located all over the world that help our clients test their products and found that many of them would have problems accepting payment by PayPal.
Sarah: What led you to found Pay4Bugs? What makes Pay4Bugs unique?
Larry: I founded Pay4Bugs because of the challenges we faced as a small company getting large numbers of people to test our products before the products went in front of customers. Like many other companies, we would test internally and with automated testing solutions. Shipping our products always gave us a “fingers-crossed, hope nothing goes wrong” sort of fear or anxiety that customers would run into a showstopper bug that we somehow missed and would kill the sale. I personally hate that feeling of uncertainty and with Pay4Bugs I can ship with confidence that dozens of people with the right incentives to find and tell me about problems, have checked it out.
Pay4Bugs is the first, and still is the only, crowdsourced testing service to integrate with Apple’s TestFlight service to make it easy for clients to test their pre-App Store iOS and Apple Watch apps. We’re also the first to use the blockchain based identity system Passcard to verify the online identities of testers to give customers with sensitive, proprietary pre-release software the piece of mind that they can trust testers to protect their IP.
Sarah: How has Pay4Bugs been received? What types of clients do you service?
Larry: We’ve seen interest in Pay4Bugs from all over the marketplace both large and small companies. Our first customer was a Fortune 100 company and we’ve seen lots of interest among the Bitcoin community as well. Trust is the most important component of many Bitcoin businesses. As the Bitcoin ecosystem has matured, people have started to realized that shipping your software with bugs isn’t a great way to communicate to the marketplace the message “You can trust your Bitcoins with us.”
Shipping bugs in your software, especially for a Bitcoin company, is a expensive potentially company ending proposition. Paying your developers to test internally is also really expensive: a developer testing his own work at $50 to $250 an hour can easily run you $2k a day, and, since he’s testing his own work, he’s going to miss a lot of the things a new set of eyes would catch immediately. In contrast, with Pay4Bugs, you can have dozens of eyes scouring your product for bugs for the equivalent of hundreds of man-hours for much less than the cost of a day of developer testing. We think and our clients agree, that it’s a compelling value proposition.
Sarah: What are you most excited about in digital currencies and blockchain technology right now?
Larry: I’m most excited about the potential of the blockchain to revolutionize digital identity on the Internet. It will enable us to take back ownership of our digital selves from Facebook and Twitter and build cool new products that make live for users easier, more fun and more secure.
The most promising effort in this space is called Passcard, a community in which I’m active. Passcard is like your digital passport. Each person gets a username, mine is +larry, and it uses the Namecoin blockchain to store profile information like your profile pic and social media properties. I recently created a product called Nametiles that builds on Passcard and lets anyone add tagging beautiful profiles to their website or blog, all powered by the blockchain.
Sarah: What do you see as the greatest challenge facing the industry?
Larry: I think the greatest challenge for the Bitcoin industry is creating solutions that offer compelling value propositions for normal people and companies that don’t share the political and ideological leans of many Bitcoiners. Many of the values that attracted early adopters to Bitcoin such as a distrust of banks and the status quo aren’t wildly shared by the general population.
For example, people like their credit cards and the rewards and consumer protections come along with them. Trying to convince someone who gets 2% cash back and 2 months of interest free payment time that they should switch to paying with Bitcoin, where you need to pay in advance and if the merchant doesn’t deliver, well, you’re out of luck, won’t…and hasn’t convinced many people to switch to Bitcoin.
Sarah: What’s on the horizon for you? What can we look forward to seeing next from Pay4Bugs?
Larry: I’m focusing on growing both our client base and tester community. We’ll be continuing to build out our blockchain-based identity verification system and working on additional ways to improve client and tester interaction so both sides can get more value out of their relationship.
Sarah: Thanks very much for your thoughts, Larry.